This BrewView has special meaning to me. In my conversations with Master Brewer Jerry Vietz of Unibroue in 2017, he shared that he was brewing a very special beer that he felt would do well in the marketplace. In December 2017, he sent me a few pre-market samples of a Belgian-style Blonde Ale that would simply knock my socks off upon first sip.
The beer, as the world knows by now is BLONDE DE L’ENFER. Upon my first tasting of it on December 2, 2017, I knew right away (and predicted) that Jerry had a future Platinum medal winner with it. (You can see my prediction below at my Instagram post on the same day).
On Saturday, January 20 2018, Belgian Beer Journal (along with Westside Wines of Redding, California and Columbia-Pacific Wine Guild of Redding, California) held a fundraiser for a local charity. Unibroue was extremely generous to donate glassware, cookbooks, tasting books, (and of course, beer) for the event:
The one HUGE highlight was when everyone at the fundraiser tried Blonde de L’enfer for the first time (even those who were trying Unibroue beers for the first time) the response was outrageously positive! I cannot state this strongly enough. Seeing our guests reaction to it upon first sip further solidified envisioning Blonde de L’enfer winning Platinum at the World Beer Awards later in the year.
Everyone who I have introduced Blonde de L’enfer to have always responded with a “wow” or “man… that tastes goooood!” For those of you in the United States that had the opportunity to enjoy it while it was available here, you know what I mean. Now, it’s Canada’s (and the rest of the world’s) turn.
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian-Style Golden Ale
Brewed since 2017
Origin: Chambly, Quebec
Brewed to celebrate our 25th anniversary, BLONDE DE L’ENFER (Blonde from hell) is UNIBROUE’S take on a classic style, the Belgian Strong Golden Ale. These ales are traditionally named after hellish demons due to their lust for power and in reference to the beer’s deceitful drinkability.
Brewed with a unique Belgian yeast strain, this sinfully smooth refermented specialty ale is such a wolf in sheep’s clothing, artfully crafted for a delicate balance of spice, malt, and hop flavors with a fine champagne-like effervescence.
A truly infernal brew, to be enjoyed… responsibly.
Fermentation – TOP
Color – GOLDEN
SRM – 5.5
Clarity – CLOUDY
Head – PALE STRAW COLOR, CREAMY, GENEROUS
Bubbles – FINE
Effervescence – FINE CHAMPAGNE-LIKE
IBU – 14
Body – MEDIUM
Aftertaste – SMOOTH, WARM FINISH
OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S blonde de l’enfer
APPEARANCE / THE POUR: We served it at 50° F in the signature Unibroue Sommelier Teku shaped glass. This glass was specifically designed to showcase this magnificent beer.
The initial pour gave an easy 3-finger height head which was white colored, dense and creamy. We did ensure the glass was “beer clean”.
The Teku shaped glass is a perfect vessel for beers to express their best characteristics. The Brussels lacework the head left behind once it collapsed (it took close to 8 minutes) was dense and patchy.
During consumption, (as with previous Unibroue BrewViews) it held a 1/8″ height until the bottom of the glass. This is consistent of the Unibroue products.
TASTE: The aromas carry over into the taste, and are well balanced here as well. The spice phenols dominate here.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
High effervescence level that wakes up the entire mouth, the hop / spice mix gives Blonde de L’enfer an almost “hot” peppery mouthfeel. The flames on the label are very appropriate to depict what you can expect. The finish lingers quite long.
INSTAGRAM PHOTOS – OUR PREDICTIONS OF UNIBROUE’S BLONDE DE L’ENFER BEING A FUTURE PLATINUM MEDAL WINNER
December 2, 2017: Our first tasting… We knew right of the bat that Jerry Vietz had a future Platinum medal winner on his hands!
December 26, 2017: Our second Instagram post… we had it a number of times between the first and second post…
August 17, 2018: Our third Instagram post… needless to say we enjoyed it several times throughout 2018!
Warm salad with mint and shrimp sautéed in Blonde de L’enfer, Mesclun salad with citrus dressing, cheesy dip with caramelized onions, Crab Cucumber bites, Jalapeño, Crab, & Corn Dip.
Seafood risotto, poached Salmon in Blonde de L’enfer with homemade salsa, Mussels with Pied-de Vent cheese, onion soup, grilled chicken skewers, sushi.
Crème brûlée, Puckery Lemon bars, Triple Lemon pie, classic New York Cheesecake, Meyer Lemon Pots de Crème with Honeyed Kumquats, fresh Rosemary and lemon cupcakes.
It’s always good to have a prediction stated publicly come true. After tasting Blonde de L’enfer for the first time we were fully confident in our declaration about it.
This bottle that we used for this brewview (dated September 11, 2017) had aged very well, and it’s complexity had improved since my initial tasting of it on December 2, 2017. It was a seasonal release, so if you can still find it on any store shelves or in any drinking establishments, I highly recommend that you enjoy a bottle while possible. The aging potential is 5-10 years. Seek this one out for sure, one of the best beers in the world.
Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible:
Andrew Murphy of Unibroue in Portland Oregon, Al Spina, and always, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz, for brewing the best Belgian-style (Unibroue style) Blonde ale, anywhere!
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15