BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S MAUDITE

As one of Unibroue’s classic ales, this Brewview is also very much overdue. There is a lot to say about this world class ale, so let’s get to it.


The legend of LA chasse galerie (Maudite label inspiration)

La Chasse-galerie also known as “The Bewitched Canoe” or “The Flying Canoe” is a popular French-Canadian tale of Coureurs des bois who make a deal with the devil, a variant of the Wild Hunt. Its best-known version was written by Honoré Beaugrand (1848–1906). It was published in The Century Magazine in August 1892.

ORIGIN

The story can be traced back to a French legend about a rich nobleman named Gallery who loved to hunt. He loved it so much that he refused to attend Sunday mass. As punishment for this sin he was condemned to fly forever through the night skies, chased by galloping horses and howling wolves, in a fashion reminiscent of the Wild Hunt.

When French settlers arrived in Canada, they swapped stories with the natives and the tale of Gallery was combined with a First Nations legend about a flying canoe.

VARIATIONS OF THE LEGEND

La Chasse-galerie by Henri Julien, 1906, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

After a night of heavy drinking on New Year’s Eve, a group of voyageurs working at a remote timber camp want to visit their sweethearts some 100 leagues away (300 miles). The only way to make such a long journey and be back in time for work the next morning is to run the chasse-galerie. Running the chasse-galerie means making a pact with the devil so their canoe can fly through the air to their destination quickly. However, the travellers must not mention God’s name or touch the cross of any church steeple as they whisk by in the flying canoe. If either of these rules is broken during the voyage, then the devil will take their souls. To be safe, the men promise not to touch another drop of rum to keep their heads clear. The crew took their places in the canoe which then rises off the ground, and they start to paddle. Far below they see the frozen Gatineau River, many villages, shiny church steeples and then the lights of Montreal. The bewitched canoe eventually touches down near a house where New Year’s Eve festivities are in full swing. No one wonders at the trappers’/loggers’ sudden arrival. They are embraced with open arms and soon are dancing and celebrating as merrily as everyone else. Soon it is late and the men must leave if they are to get back to camp in time for work. As they fly through the moonless night, it becomes apparent that their navigator had been drinking as he steers the canoe on a dangerously unsteady course.

While passing over Montreal they just miss running into a church steeple, and soon after the canoe ends up stuck in a deep snowdrift. At this point the drunken navigator begins swearing and taking the Lord’s name in vain. Terrified the devil will take their souls, the men bind and gag their friend and elect another to steer. The navigator soon breaks his bonds and begins swearing again. The crew become more and more shaken at the possibility of losing their souls, and they eventually steer the bewitched canoe right into a tall pine. The men spill out and are knocked unconscious. The ending of the story changes from version to version. Sometimes the men are condemned to fly the canoe through hell and appear in the sky every New Year’s Eve, but in all but one version all escape the terms the devil (Lucifer) made.

Several different versions of this tale exist. An Acadian version involves an axe handle. It stretches to accommodate as many as climb on.

Another variation has the devil himself steering and deliberately trying to break the rules on the return journey, at which point they throw him out of the canoe to save themselves.

In English this particular legend is known as “The Canoe”, or “The Wild Hunt Bewitched”. The second name is used to translate precisely chasse-galerie as it is known in Canadian French; the other term is much broader.

In Quebec, the best-known version is written by Honoré Beaugrand. This is the story of the Gatineau loggers who make a pact with the devil in order to steal a boat so they can visit their women. They are warned, however, not to blaspheme during the voyage, or touch crosses atop church steeples, and they must be back before six o’clock the next morning. Otherwise they would lose their souls. In his version, the devil (Lucifer) is rather generous, and allows the men to return unhurt and undamaged.

The tale appeared in a book of French-Canadian folktales called Legends of French Canada by Edward C. Woodley, published in 1931, republished in 1938. The tale is told as a recollection of one of the men who made chasse-galerie. The men travel from St. Maurice to St. Jeanne. The return accident is credited to whiskey-blanc.

An earlier volume in English, entitled The Flying Canoe (La Chasse-Galerie) was written by J.E. LeRossignol, by McLelland and Steward Publishers in 1929. In it, thanks is given (with no further publication information) to “the Toronto Star Weekly, and the Canadian Home Journal for their courteous permission to republish certain stories which appeared originally in these journals.”

In 2015, a musical theatre version of the story was performed at the Storefront Theatre in Toronto, and won two Dora Awards and two Toronto Theatre Critics Awards. A larger production was mounted in 2016 by Soulpepper Theatre.
(Source: Wikipedia)


BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION

Unibroue’s Master Brewer – Jerry Vietz

Style category: Abbey-Style (Similar to a Dubbel)

Brewed since 1992
Origin: Chambly, Quebec

Without a doubt Unibroue’s best-known beer, La Maudite is inspired by abbey beers and Belgian double-style ales. It first hit the shelves in 1992 and took the province by storm with its 8% alcohol content, making it the first strong beer available in grocery stores.

That’s where the idea came to tie its name and branding to a pact signed with the devil. The illustration of the “chasse-galerie” (or flying canoe) from a beloved Quebec legend captures the spirit of the beer.

FACT SHEET

Fermentation
TOP

Style
ABBEY-STYLE BEER (SIMILAR TO A DOUBLE)

Color
RED AMBER

SRM
18

Clarity
CLOUDY

Head
DENSE BEIGE FOAM

Bubbles
FINE

Effervescence
SLOW AND SUSTAINED

IBU
22

Body
MEDIUM

Aftertaste
PLEASANT, LINGERING

Awards
19 GOLD / 12 SILVER / 3 BRONZE


OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S maudite

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
We served it at 50° F in the signature Unibroue Maudite snifter.

With all of Jerry Vietz’s beers, they produce voluminous heads, and all pour a 3 to 4-finger height.

The initial pour gave an easy 3-finger height head which was fluffy, with large and small bubbles. We did ensure the glass was “beer clean”.

The Brussels lacework the head left behind once it collapsed (it took around 5 minutes) was dense and patchy. During consumption, it held a 1/8″ height until the bottom of the glass. This is consistent of the Unibroue products.

NOTE: Unibroue has a very specific way they want you to pour their beers into a glass. They fully advocate incorporating the yeast at the bottom of the bottle into the glass. For more info (with a link to a video) of the Unibroue pouring ritual, click here.

AROMA / BOUQUET:
Deep caramel malt, burnt orange caramel sauce, coriander, Linzertorte, balanced hop floral notes.

Maudite – Vintage 2011 (March 3, 2011 bottle date)

Maudite – Vintage 2011

Maudite – Vintage 2004

Maudite – Vintage 2004

TASTE:
Dulce de leche, burnt sugar, blood orange marmalade, spices, toast with butter toffee. (The vintage 2011 version had its spiciness increase, and the vintage 2004 version, ever more so.)

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium effervescence level, with roasted malt and a spicy, slightly nutty finish that lingers, inviting you to take that next sip.

Maudite – Vintage 2004


FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS

As you have most likely discovered from our previous BrewViews on Unibroue beers, the brewery is very culinary oriented – (with it’s own cookbook with recipes featuring their beers.) The flavor profile of Maudite has suggested general food pairings from Unibroue’s website (plus a few of ours):

CHEESES: 
Semi-soft washed rind cheese, Blue Auvergne, fresh goat cheese with Herbs de Provence, Emmental, Beemster, Morbier,  Oud Brugge.

APPETIZERS: 
Hummus – roasted red pepper, Mediterranean.  Pâté en croûte, bacon wrapped shrimp, Buffalo Chicken Wings.

ENTRÉES:
Blackened Rib-Eye Steak, Poutine, Chicken Tikka Marsala, Vindaloo, Smoked Salmon, Ahi Tuna, Pulled Pork Sandwiches with spicy BBQ sauce.

DESSERTS:
Créme brûlée, Ginger-Black Pepper Ice Cream Sandwiches, Salt and Pepper Caramels, hot Cinnamon rolls.

Here are some recipes directly from Unibroue’s website:

BEEF STEW WITH MAUDITE BEER AND PUMPKIN

ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP (MEATBALLS, VEGETABLES AND ORZO) WITH BEER MAUDITE

BEEF STEW WITH MAUDITE BEER (CROCKPOT)

PULLED BEEF POUTINE WITH MAUDITE

BEER MAUDITE AND LIME MARINADE FOR SHRIMP AND FISH

CARAMELIZED ONIONS WITH MAUDITE

POOR MAN’S PUDDING WITH MAUDITE

Click here for more Maudite recipes from Unibroue


OVERALL IMPRESSION

I love that Jerry continues to brew this atypical Abbey-style Dubbel. I’ve had Maudite when it was young, and as old as 14 years. As with all Unibroue strong ales, it ages beautifully, with spice flavors becoming more complex. Although the website says it is best 3-5 years aged, the Vintage 2004 was spectacular.

Thanks to Unibroue’s excellent global distribution network, Maudite is widely available at thousands of retail stores, pubs, and restaurants all over the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, and more.

Make Maudite one of your regular go-to beers, as we have. Because of its flavor, you can enjoy this year-round, and especially with a holiday meal. Seek this one out for sure.

Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible:
Liquor Barn in Redding, California for carrying the line of Unibroue ales, and of course, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz, for brewing an world class ale that is so diverse!


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