November 11, 2015: NOTE- This BrewView was written 10 months before La Résolution was released in the United States on October 13, 2015 at the Todd English P.U.B. in Las Vegas, NV. (You can view the official You Tube video on it at the end of this article…)
We kick off the January 2015 BREWERY OF THE MONTH with our first BrewView on UNIBROUE’S LA RÉSOLUTION. This was made possible by very special arrangement from Master Brewer Jerry Vietz.
La Résolution won’t even be available in the United States market until the 4th quarter of 2015. We were very fortunate to get our hands on a bottle and get the chance to taste this beer nearly 1 year before it is available here in the US. Thus, making our BrewView exclusive, and the first from an American beer reviewing website.
Our Dec. 29, 2014 BrewView on an ULTRA-RARE, (PRE-USA MARKET) BEER FROM UNIBROUE was actually an unlabeled, 12-ounce twist-cap test brew sample of La Résolution that was brewed in September 2013 and bottled by Jerry back in March 2014.
The flavor profile is somewhat different than the corked, 750ML bottled version on this page. Per our discussion with Jerry, he mentioned that the beer and its flavor profile did evolve within 8 months. To read more about the ULTRA-RARE, (PRE-USA MARKET) BEER FROM UNIBROUE version of La Résolution, click here.
The 750ML corked version we are mentioning on this BrewView was bottled from one of the three batches brewed between September through early November 2014. He was not too certain, thus he gave the dates we list here.
ABOUT THE BEER: LA RÉSOLUTION
The story of La Résolution actually goes back to October 2010. Master Brewer Jerry Vietz wanted to brew a special beer that wasn’t originally intended for mass production, but something that he wanted to brew as a holiday offering for friends and family. He reflected on the fact at the time that Unibroue did not have a Christmas ale in their beer portfolio.
He began to work with different spices to achieve the perfect balance for a dark ale. As the first batch was complete, he made much more than he and his friends and family could personally consume. Jerry decided to allow the remaining bottles to age and attenuate, then bringing those sample to different beer and food industry events as samples for patrons to taste. Consequently, as Jerry began pouring his “Christmas” beer at these events, it created excitement and interest. Fans started asking Jerry when the beer was going to be available on the market- Jerry had the task of advising people that the beer was not in Unibroue’s plans to add it to their beer portfolio.
When the stock of Jerry’s Christmas beer was coming to an end, he and the brewery began receiving numerous inquires and demand from a beer loving public to have his Christmas beer available as a seasonal or regular SKU.
Soon after with this input, Jerry arranged to have lunch with the Unibroue marketing team in which he brought 2 of the last remaining bottles of his Christmas beer to have them try. They also liked the beer, which “marked the beginning of the La Résolution project” as Jerry puts it. To be more succinct, Jerry’s original name for the beer was a play off his first name: JERRY CHRISTMAS. With the beer having a fun, holiday hint to it, people found the name to have a sense of whimsy, and evoked friendly chuckles whenever he introduced it. The beer had been poured as “Jerry Christmas” for 4 years before changing the name.
THE NAME LA RÉSOLUTION IS BORN- OUT OF MARKETING NECESSITY
When the time finally came to start working on Jerry’s Christmas beer, the first concern that Unibroue’s marketing team brought up was, that they felt the name JERRY CHRISTMAS was a problem. With this fact in hand, Jerry decided not to use the same recipe as the original Jerry Christmas beer. Furthermore, all of Unibroue’s previous beers had French names to them, and the English language name would have been an odd departure from a beer brand that made a huge name for itself from Bières de noms français.
The main reason however, for the name change to La Résolution was made after many conversations between Vietz and the marketing team deciding that ‘Christmas’ name would be too limiting, with most people equating it to a seasonal, holiday beer only. Even though the beer would be released around the holidays, the name would allow it to be more marketable for other seasons.
As Jerry states, “I had to come out with a different beer; so basically what I did, I just used the word, then I created the balance with all the spices used in the Jerry Christmas, and I started from there designing a new beer. Once again, this beer… a dark ale, like the Jerry Christmas, but the malts used, the hops, the fermentation profile and other ingredients used in this beer (La Résolution)… really different than the Jerry Christmas for the people that already tasted the Jerry Christmas. La Résolution has nice caramel notes that you didn’t find in the Jerry Christmas.”
FUN FACT: Jerry told us that he continues to receive pictures (as recent as a few days before Christmas Day 2014) from people who were able to get their hands on a bottle of Jerry Christmas from a few years ago. Those bottles were allowed to age, with the flavor profiles becoming much more complex. Upon opening these bottles, fans of the beer will pass along their tasting notes, show their appreciation, and wish Jerry a “Merry Christmas!”
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Unibroue style – Spiced Ale
We are proud to announce the launch of a new, limited edition beer: La Résolution, a strong spiced ale on lees.
La Résolution is a special brew, available for a limited time only. This high end dark ale was inspired by a recipe our brew master Jerry Vietz concocted for his friends. “I wanted to offer my guests a spicy ale with fine bubbles, a rich, persistent head and a full, flavourful taste experience.” At 10% alcohol, its spicy caramel aroma evolves on the palate into pleasant and complex notes of toffee with reminiscence of a tasty gingerbread. Its perfect balance between spicy, caramel and roasted malt flavours is complemented by a nice roundness and persistent finish.
This special brew will no doubt be the perfect addition to your the Holiday season! According to Sylvain Bouchard, our beer sommelier, “La Résolution is the perfect match for spicy dishes. It’s an excellent complement for cheese fondue, not only as a pairing, but also to adjust the consistency of the cheese mixture. Its festive character makes it the ideal beer to accompany gingerbread or carrot cake.”
La Résolution will be available in a 750 ml bottle format, while supplies last. It is currently available in Canada only.
All the more reason not to wait for the New Year to decide on a resolution!
OUR BREWVIEW OF UNIBROUE’S LA RÉSOLUTION
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
10% ABV. We poured it at 50°F in the signature Unibroue tulip-shaped taster glass. Pours a dark, smoky, mahogany / tobacco color. It easily poured a voluminous off-white colored, dense, rocky, creamy 4-finger head with tight bubbles. It almost resembles a head on a freshly poured, high quality root beer. Excellent head retention- before we even took the first sip, the head hardly collapsed. After about 7 minutes into drinking, it still held almost a 1/2 inch head. Rim color variation- no variance.
The meniscus is extremely slow rising- as it should be for this style of beer at 10% ABV. The Brussels lacework the beer leaves behind as the head (finally) collapses, is patchy, thick, and spider web looking. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). There is a heavy cloudy haze to the beer, due to the Unibroue bottle conditioning and extremely heavy yeast sedimentation- “Beer on Lees.”
AROMA / BOUQUET:
This version has initial immediate aromas of walnuts and roasted chestnuts. The holiday spice mix aromas of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom are more delicate than the 12-ouunce capped version we BrewViewed a week prior. Very deep toffee and caramel notes. The mix of the malt sweetness, the nuttiness, and the holiday spices makes for what Unibroue’s website says: it has aromas reminiscent of gingerbread. A bit of breadiness from the yeast. The hop aroma is still somewhat muted, but it lends to the spice mix. Towards the end of the bottle (almost 90 minutes later) the beer developed a hot buttered rum aroma.
The corked version expresses deep treacle toffee, caramel. Dark baker’s chocolate follows, immediately followed by the spice flavor mix of allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The taste definitely leans more towards a gingerbread / ginger snap cookie flavor. After about 20 minutes into drinking, this becomes much more evident. Towards the end of the bottle, the flavors expressed themselves so much and were so rich, it reminded us a drinking a liquid “cake”.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
This version has a slightly more viscous (medium bodied, bordering on full bodied) feel than the capped version from the BrewView on December 29th. It coats the mouth in the same way (top and back of the mouth) but it hits the front of the tongue with that holiday spice mix and white pepper feel. The bitter dark baker’s chocolate flavor helps the spice mix linger. The carbonation / effervescence is medium, but there is the “heat” from the spice mix as was present in the capped version.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: We highly suggest rich, blue veined cheeses, charcuterie platter, honey roasted nuts- (walnuts, chestnuts) pistachios. Grilled shrimp or Filet mignon wrapped in sweet Canadian bacon.
ENTRÈES: Per Jerry’s suggestion, the ÉPHÉMÈRE CRANBERRY MEAT PIE (recipe from Master Brewer Jerry Vietz) would pair well. Wild game dishes- duck, pheasant, goose. Honey ham with Sweet potato, balsamic-caramelized onion and goat cheese galette. Rich Thai dishes. Barbeque beef with sweet glazes or sauces.
DESSERTS: Canadian maple syrup apple pie sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg. Classic custard topped with maple syrup with a side of sugared or honey roasted nuts. Maple syrup tarts, Tire sur la Neige (Canadian maple syrup taffy), brown sugar cookies.
La Résolution is a masterfully brewed beer and an excellent addition to the Unibroue beer portfolio as we mentioned before. Make no mistake, although a spiced “Christmas” ale in inspiration, the beer’s flavor profile will evolve into something that can even be enjoyed during the warmer seasons as well.
What can we say? La Résolution is another world class beer from Master Brewer Jerry Vietz… it is definitely in our list of our top 50 beers of all time! Right now, this beer is ONLY available in Canada, and will not be available in the United States (or anywhere else for that matter) until the latter part of 2015. When it does hit the shelves, you will want to seek this one out for sure. As we said in last week’s BrewView, it’s a must have! Buy several bottles- enjoy it when you purchase it, and cellar some. This beer can be aged up to 5 years, possibly longer if cellared at the right temperature. At this point, it is a “limited release” for the Canadian market- hopefully that will change to a year-round offering.
Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible: (In chronological order as we created business associations with them) Martine Geoffrion of DDMG Communications in Québec, Canada for initially contacting us, Andrew Murphy of Unibroue in Portland, Oregon (for sending us samples of this excellent beer), and of course, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz for generously giving of his time, insight, and brewing this rare treat in the first place!
VIDEO: UNIBROUE’S MASTER BREWER JERRY VIETZ DISCUSSES LA RÉSOLUTION
Below is the third EXCLUSIVE interview (and the first for the JANUARY 2015 BREWERY OF THE MONTH feature) that Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz graciously granted Belgian Beer Journal to talk about his signature beer. He discusses the his personal motivation behind the creation of the beer, flavor profile, and more. We discuss our BrewView tasting notes (listed above) in this very informative product video. Click on the You Tube video to watch and listen…
VIDEO: UNIBROUE’S OFFICIAL US LAUNCH OF LA RÉSOLUTION – OCTOBER 13, 2015