This is the last beer tasting of the spring 2016 schedule, a celebration of Quebec beers, on the eve of the Saint Jean Baptiste festival. We have a lineup of sensational beers to taste tonight.
1. Unibroue Éphémère Blueberry
The most recent of the Éphémère series by Chambly’s Unibroue, this Blueberry edition reveals a balanced bouquet of berries and citrus complemented by dominant flavours of blueberry and a subtle spicy crisp finish. This is a solidly made beer that is refreshing and a good start to the evening. However, it fails to wow anyone.
2. St. Ambroise Oak Aged Pale Ale
Brewed for St. Ambroise’s 25th anniversary, it is brewed with Pale malt, Crystal malt, toasted wheat and chocolate malt. This unfiltered, strong pale ale is hopped with Nugget, Cascade, Hallertau and Golding. The beer is then aged with oak to give the beer greater complexity. The effect of the oak barrel is noticeable on the palate making this a markedly different ale than their flagship Pale. This beer gets several nods of approval.
3. Charlevoix La Vache Folle ESB
This “mad cow” is a generous red ale whose powerful perfume of flowery hops and sustained bitterness set it apart from mundane beers. Pours a dark brown colour with medium body; Aroma of sweet malt, yeast, dark fruit & spice; Flavour of roasted malt, yeast, caramel, dark fruit & spice. Well, now the everyone is really getting warmed up. This beer gets even more nods.
4. Le Castor Dark Farmhouse
Le Castor – the beaver – is a new entrant to the Alberta market. Although this brewery only opened in 2012, they have quickly built a great reputation. The Dark Farmhouse is brewed with malted barley and wheat and is fermented with a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts. Spicey and piney hop varieties complement subtle roast and tobacco character derived from dark specialty malts. This beer is well received, but not a enthusiastically as the previous. With the use of wild yeasts, one has to wonder how this will develop in six months to a year.
5. Dieu Du Ciel Petit Detour
Petit Detour is a Belgian style IPA. It is funkier than the North American IPA style and single hopped with Citra. Dieu Du Ciel is one of the writer’s favourite breweries. They seem to put out one fantastic ale after another. This one is no exception, getting nods from nearly everyone in the room.
6. Les Trois Mousquetaires Doppelbock
This Doppelbock, or “Double Bock”, is a dark, extra full bodied lager after the best Bavarian tradition. Such beer was created by monks for the tough fasting period of Lent. They called it “liquid bread”. Look for flavour notes of chocolate, candied fruit and roasted malt. LTM does many beers is German styles, like this doppelbock. An excellent effort, but if fails to pass some of the evenings earlier stars.
7. Le Trou Du Diable Sang D’Encre
Sang D’Encre is an intensely black beer, topped with a rich mocha mousse leaving traces of lace on the glass. Generous nose of chocolate coffee and herbal hops. Round and creamy on the palate, the bitterness is highlighted by a dry fading aniseed tone and smooth candy. The brewpub for the “Devil’s Hole” is a must go spot for anyone in the Shawinigan region. This excellent dry stout gets some yummy murmurs, but again does not top some of the earlier brews.
Tonight’s top brews as voted by the attendees:
Dieu Du Ciel Petit Detour
Charlevoix La Vache Folle ESB