We first met Alex Voisine in the Regency Cafe, Pimlico, just before we set off from London to Paris. While we were all fuelling up on eggs and bacon, this frenchman ordered 2 chocolate doughnuts. None of us knew him or had met him before – he’d answered an open invite to join us and got the Eurostar from Lille to London, only to start the journey straight back to France by bike.
Over the next 3 days and 180 miles we got to know a few things interesting things about Alex. Firstly he’s a very strong rider. Secondly his day job is designing bikes for Decathlon. And thirdly, together with Noel Lanigan, he runs Pave Cycling Classics - a company organising cycle trips along the famous Paris-Roubaix cobbles. That’s where the idea to create their own ‘cycling’ beer came from. After a few trips, it became clear that their post-ride beverage just wasn’t hitting the spot so they decided to brew their own. Working together with a local brewery, Brunehaut, Matleni Beer was born.
Malteni is a 6.5% organic and gluten free amber ale. Brewed in collaboration with Brunehaut brewery in Belgium; it is made by cyclists, for cyclists. The beer itself is highly carbonated, almost like champagne-like, with aromas to match. The taste is slightly coppery with a biscuity maltiness and a hint of caramel. Mouthfeel is crisp, short and refreshing – and yes, I’m a beer geek.
The name comes from the legendary Italian cycling team Moltini (see what they did there? Molt > Malt > Malt is an ingredient in beer. Clever), home to the infamous Eddy Merckx. Their iconic orange jersey was inspiration for the bottle’s label which has led to them contacting the original designer to commision a limited run of Malteni woolen jerseys.
Despite being 6.5%, Maltini doesn’t taste strong. They wanted the beer not to be so strong it would effect the next days performance – well, that’s Belgian standards. In England, 6.5% is considered a pretty high and I’m sure a few of these would slow my pace.
Alex and Noel don’t want this beer being drunk by just anybody. As they say, it’s ‘a passionate beer, for passionate people’. People that are passionate about cycling. People that have earned a beer. And that’s when Malteni tastes best.