Rain was pelting in sideways sheets and the wind was a ‘howlin. Not much could tempt me out on a night like that. Except Belgian-style beer, that is.
Specifically, Belgian-style re-fermented Canadian beer sporting noir-ish labels that depict Quebecois folklore.
Richard, the Unibroue rep, was cheerful, knowledgeable, and told damn good stories. Something about a flying horse and something else about a devil. Well, anyway, I truly did learn so much about these strong, (mostly 9%) award-winning ales that my head is still spinning.
Er. . .or, maybe I’m just a tad hungover (time for some Hair of the Kahn?).
Best-selling golden ale La Fin Du Monde kicked off the evening with its champagne-like effervesence. Triple wheat Don De Dieu followed right on its heels. But the evening really got swinging when the corks popped on the next few beers — Unibroue’s three, hard-to-find anniversary ales and its out-of-stock strong amber, Seigreuriale. Novare Res owner, Eric, matched these four with a savory selection of meats and cheeses.
What I (and many others) particularly love about Unibroue ales is that they pair exceedingly well with food. Balanced and full bodied, these brews have character and complex taste, yet they don’t take your tastebuds hostage (like say, a Victory HopDevil does — albeit in a good way).
Edition 2005, mahogany colored with a rich head of foam, was my favorite of the anniversaries. Paired with a Tuscan ham and blue cheese, the beer’s dark spice and cinnamon balanced the bite of the blue. Adam preferred the Unibroue 17, an intensely malty dark ale with mocha accents. We both loved the Seigreuriale — as did everyone else in the room. Its subtle notes of citrus and apricot tamed the salty salami and pungent New Hampshire landaff.
Quatre Centieme, a frothy blonde ale, held its own as a gingery palate cleanser before the dessert course. Then, hauled out with a bit of theatrics, gooey raspberry-filled donuts helped prove how Trois Pistoles conquers sweetness. Black and port-like, the popular dark ale is perhaps my go-to pick of Unibroue’s easy-to-finds.
Capping off the evening was a display of versatility by the strangely delicious Quelque Chose. Served three ways — lightly chilled, on the rocks, and steeped to 130 degrees — the ripe cherry, clove and honey flavors presented themselves in widely varying degrees. Fruity and refreshing, the iced version was my choice. I promptly pictured myself on a tropical beach sipping a frosty glass — fanned by palm-frond wielding muscle men.
All in all — a fantastic evening with a truly magnificent brewery. I’ll let Adam’s photos tell the rest of the story: