This bottle of L'Affriolante is a stowaway from a recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska. I hadn't ever heard of Le Bilboquet Microbrasserie before since they aren't distributed in any of the states I've been two in recent memory, so I figured I'd bring something back with me. The label on this beer says it is a beer brewed with honey and spices, which is all anyone ever needs to say if they want to sell me a couple bottles of beer. The bottle itself is a 500ml portly brown bottle with a dark red label, it's elegantly different without being terribly unique.
A great Rauchbier has been my white whale after leaving Bamberg about five years ago. Bamberg Rauchbier is a great, roasty, bacony, dark style of beer that is smoky but not burnt or incredibly intense. Over the past five years I've been trying various American style Smoke Beers and Rauchbiers, trying to find something comparable to the Bamberg Rauchs. I've found that nearly all of the American Smoke Beers are much more dark, burnt and bitter than the German style. The comparison I use to explain this to others is that American Smoke Beer tastes like a campfire while Bamberg Rauchbier tastes like dark chocolate covered bacon. I've heard good things about a Rauchbier from Quebec that is similar in style to what I'm looking for. I was finally able to find a bottle and I can't wait to try it.
I don't bring many Unibroue beers home with me. In fact, I've only written about one other Unibroue beer and that was over two years ago. I hold Unibroue is pretty high regard and often order a Unibroue when I'm out at a restaurant with a decent selection. For some reason though I tend to glance over the Quebec section when I'm at the liquor store. This bottle of Quelque Chose caught my eye yesterday, probably because it looked unfamiliar. I don't think I've ever heard of this beer before and the bottle text convinced me it was worth taking home. The Quelque Chose is a Dark Ale and Brown Ale blend brewed with cherries.
Everyone has their own Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel to a certain degree. This is a brewery that I really wanted to enjoy. Their bottles have a cool late 19th century style to them, the contents are brewed with interesting ingredients and they have crazy French names. What's not to like? Well, for me, the flavor of their beer. I've reviewed a handful of their beers and sampled a few more on tap to see if there was a noticeable improvement. My conclusion was that I should stop wasting time and money on these beers. That was a little over two years ago. Last week I saw this bottle of Scotch Ale brewed with maple syrup and all was forgotten.
I'm finally opening this bottle of St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout after it was mentioned by a fellow beer connoisseur. I originally picked up this bottle back in December and it's been sitting in my basement beer fridge for about nine months now. I enjoy Oatmeal Stouts quite a bit but, being summer, it didn't seem like a the best time to drink something quite this dark. That's been my excuse since at least March... Well, I've finally gotten around to opening it up and it seems like I've really been missing out.
Today is the Winter Solstice so it's only fitting that I crack open a bottle of Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel's Solstice d'hiver. This beer is a 9.8% Barleywine, a style of beer that is almost as big on flavor as it is on alcohol. I haven't had much luck finding a Dieu Du Ciel beer I've liked so I'm holding out hope that this is the one. Barleywines are a style of beer I drink rather sparingly because of their incredible richness and double digit ABV. Will the planets align today, on the shortest day of the year? Will this Canadian Barleywine be a hit or a miss?
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel's Route Des Épices packs a lot of flavor into a beer that's only 5% alcohol. This beer's flavor profile is deceptive though... while it tastes like a much bigger beer it flavors aren't really coming from fermentable sugars. Rather, this beer's flavor comes from a combination of hops (to a lesser extent) and peppercorns (which dominate your palate). I can't say I'm not surprised. After all, this beer's name translates as Spice Route. The spices in this beer aren't what you usually get when someone says a beer tastes spiced. Peppercorns are, well... peppery. This beer is so peppery that it really takes away from the other flavors in this beer. Malts, which are obvious on the nose, are barely noticeable when you take a drink of this beer.
Unibroue's Terrible is anything but terrible. I went into this beer expecting it to max out on the fermentable flavor chart like some quadrupels that I've had, but it is really much more tame than I'd thought. This really does work to the beer's advantage. Because the Terrible isn't at the extreme end of the flavor spectrum, you can really pick up on all of the layers in this beer. Most noticeable up front is the roasted, almost dark chocolate, base of this beer. There is a bit of spice up front which is what makes this beer so reminiscent of a quadrupel. Under all that spice and roasted malt is a sweet component that mellows everything out on the aftertaste. Don't get me wrong, this beer still packs quite a punch at 10.5% but it's put together in such a way that you could drink the whole bottle without coating your palate in fermented spice.