BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S ÉPHÉMÈRE STRAWBERRY & RHUBARB

As with all my conversations with Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz in 2018, he did drop a hint of the newest beer in the Éphémère series that he had been working on for a while. He’ll always let me know that “something new is in the works.”The brewery sent me a sample and the newest Éphémère glass to enjoy it in around the time the beer was released. I’m a bit late in this BrewView, as the product was made available in the US in May 2018. You know how it goes sometimes!


BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION

Style category: Belgian-style fruit flavored wheat ale

Brewed Since 2018
Origin: Chambly, Quebec

Éphémère Fraise & Rhubarbe (Strawberry & Rhubarb) is a seasonal ale offered for a limited time.

As its name suggests, Éphémère is an ephemeral ale that comes and goes with the seasons. It was developed as a series to feature a seasonal fruit in a refreshing, lightly spiced white ale. The label depicts a fairy, an ephemeral spirit associated with fruits picked at the peak of ripeness during each harvest season. She first appeared in the spring of 2000 and has since been celebrated on a variety of seasonal fruit ales featuring apple must, cranberry, blackcurrant, peach, raspberry, cherry, pear, blueberry and Elderberry flavors. In 2018, the brewery offered fans a newcomer to the Éphémère range of beers: Strawberry & Rhubarb flavor.

Why was Strawberry and Rhubarb chosen for the newest Éphémère? Master Brewer Jerry Vietz explains:
” When the idea came to me to combine two fruits for the very first time in a beer from our  Éphémère series, it was natural for me to lean towards the classic pairing between Strawberry and Rhubarb. The herbaceous and tangy profile of Rhubarb perfectly accompanies the sweet taste and sweet scent of ripe Strawberries- flavors that remind us of memories at every sip!”


FACT SHEET

ABV: 5.5%

Fermentation – TOP

Color – GOLDEN

SRM – 5.5

Clarity –  SLIGHTLY CLOUDY

Head – WHITE

Bubbles – MEDIUM

Effervescence – SUSTAINED

IBU – 11

Body – LIGHT TO MEDIUM

Aftertaste – DRY FINISH


OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S ÉPHÉMÈRE STRAWBERRY & RHUBARB

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
We served it at 40° F in the signature Unibroue  Éphémère tulip-shaped glass.

The pour gave an easy 3-finger height head which was white colored, creamy and dense. We did ensure the glass was “beer clean”.

The Brussels lacework the head left behind once it collapsed- was even sheeted on the sides of the glass. The meniscus is medium rising. During consumption, (as with previous Unibroue BrewViews) the head held an 1/8″ height until the bottom of the glass. This is consistent of the Unibroue products. There was a lot of yeast sediment in the pour (what I call “chunky monkeys”). That’s just flavor, baby!

AROMA / BOUQUET:
When I opened up the bottle for the first time, I could smell intense, sweet aromas of fresh picked Strawberries- even when my nose was 1 foot away from it! It will remind you of when you get freshly picked strawberries in the wooden crates, like when you visit those family run roadside fruit stands. The herbaceous / earthy notes of  Rhubarb are right behind.

TASTE:
Although the nose is Strawberry dominant, the flavor is where the tangy flavors of Rhubarb come into play along with classic flavors of the base Witbier style. Both fruit flavors compliment each other very well.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Upon first sip, the acidity hits the tip of the tongue, and then fills the rest of the mouth with the signature Éphémère effervescence. Very refreshing in the finish.


FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS

CHEESES:
Blue cheeses, Triple cream brie cheese, Port Salut, Fontina, Gruyere, Mascarpone, Gorgonzola, Manchego, Iberico, Emmental.

APPETIZERS: 
Spinach salad with fresh herbs, Radish salad, Goat cheese Crostini with Rhubarb chutney, Strawberries and ginger. Rhubarb Beetroot Salad with Arugula and Basil.

ENTRÉES:
Lamb ribs with Rhubarb, Roasted Chicken with Rhubarb butter and asparagus,  Spicy Chicken thighs with Rhubarb-Cucumber salsa, Beef tenderloin cooked in Éphémère and Rhubarb, Braised Pork Shoulder with Rhubarb and Peas, Persian Rhubarb and Beef with Rice. Cornmeal crusted fish tacos with Rhubarb salsa. Curried Chicken, Pineapple Ham.

DESSERTS:
It goes without saying, the first dessert to pair this ale with a nice slice of Strawberry & Rhubarb pie! Also, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Vanilla or Strawberry Ice Cream Float. Old-Fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb crisp. So many others out there.


OVERALL IMPRESSION

I was surprised, as most Strawberry beers are pinkish in color, usually from some sort of artificial coloring. Jerry Vietz wanted to keep it authentic and real. Plus the beer is not overly sweet, as many beer drinkers are put off by the idea of trying a beer flavored with fruit.

Éphémère Strawberry & Rhubarb has the right flavor profile that will allow it to be paired with a wide variety of dishes. Although at the time it was released in the US (May 2018) it made for an excellent refreshing Summertime beer. Of course, if you can still find it, it’s great for Thanksgiving or Christmas meals. Hopefully many of you were able to enjoy it in holidays. Seek this one out, get as much as you can if you can still find it!

Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible:
Andrew Murphy of Unibroue in Portland Oregon, and always, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz, for brewing a beer that brought back memories of grandma’s freshly baked Strawberry & Rhubarb pie!


LA BRASSERIE UNIBROUE
80 Des Carrières Street

Chambly (Québec)
J3L 2H6 Canada

Tel. : 450 658-7658
Fax : 450 658-9195
Web: http://Unibroue.com
Email : Info@Unibroue.com


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