Now this is a treat for us! About 2 weeks ago, our good friend Stu Stuart of BELGIAN BEER ME! BEER TOURS OF BELGIUM informed us that a care package was on its way to us. He said “I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but the beers I am sending you are very special.”
I had asked him last year if he could send us whatever he could get from Brasserie Caulier. I read that Caulier is the only brewery in the world that says that they produce the only naturally sugar-free beers in the market. Being health conscious, I have been eagerly wanting to try the Caulier line of beers to see how a “sugar-free”, low carb beer would taste. I was very much surprised when I saw the bottle of their 28 Imperial Stout in the shipment! Just goes to show you what an excellent listener Stu is, along with a great memory…
About a year or so ago, I wrote to the brewery to inquire if they had any plans to export their beers to the United States. They told me that it was in their plans for the future, but could not elaborate as to exactly when. Here’s hoping it’s soon…
THE HISTORY OF brasserie caulier
Caulier has roots in Neufvilles (Soignies) in 1842. In 1855, with the development of the business, the brewery acquired the “Brasserie du Pont de Londres” in Mons. In 1873 Edmond Caulier bought a third brewery in Brussels, rue Henry 31 in the North part of town. In 1888, Edmond unified the three breweries and invested in low fermentation processes.
When he died in 1893, his children took over under the name “Caulier Frères”. In 1895, they registered the name “Brasserie Caulier”, n°4 to 26 rue Henry. The stables were n°27 to 31 and the bottling were 18-24 rue Willem Demol. In 1959, the brewery was transformed in “Société anonyme” and merged with the brewery Imperial. On 30 September 1960, the brewery became “SA Brasserie de Ghlin”. A brand new brewery moved to Ghlin.
The offices remained in Bruxelles till 1971 when the brewery had to move out because of a massive real estate project, the project “Manhattan”. In the seventies, the brewery got bankrupt. Under the supervision of the Prime Minister Leburton, who wanted to protect the workers, Artois and Piedboeuf were called in to set up a secret agreement to take over the brewery. The new partners invested in Ghlin under the SA Brassico to produce the Jupiler 5. They stopped all but one brand of the former Brasserie Caulier. In 1993 they closed down the factory. The brewery became what is known today as the “Expo Centre Mons”.
It is told that this secret venture set up the very ground for the creation of what became Belbrew, Interbrew, Inbev and eventually AB Inbev.
Still today, the former rue Centrale in Neufville, where the adventure started in 1842, is named rue Caulier. The former building has been put down, but the school of the village still proudly bears the brewery’s flagship beer.
SUGAR FREE BY NATURE
Brasserie Caulier has brought to the brewing process a unique, secret innovation to reduce the level of carbohydrates without any impact on the intensity of the tastes and flavors of the beers. On the opposite, that process has enhanced tastes and flavors. They use only natural ingredients: water, 100% pure malt, hop flowers, natural yeast and spices such as star anise of Moroccan orange barks, plus lots of passion and expertise. There are no artificial sweeteners, no colorants, and no preservatives. So far in the market, other competitors have tried to reduce complex sugars using enzymes and filtration that bring about tasteless beers. To highlight the difference with other beers seeking to reduce sugars by mechanical processes or by adding extra substances that are incompatible with traditional methods, Brasserie Caulier has chosen the claim “sugar free by nature.”
The sugar free claim has a legal ground and must not be mistaken with other claims such as “low in sugar”, “less sweet”, or “no sugar added’. The regulation describes the “sugar free” claim as containing less than 0.5 gr of sugar per 100 gr or ml. Their beers have less than that limit, and therefore can be considered as completely sugar free (EEC regulation 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and Council of December 20th 2006, concerning nutritional claims and health related issues in regards to food stuff).
Caulier still has a strong presence in the collective memory of the Belgian beer aficionados. 7 Belgium beer drinkers out of 10 know the name of Caulier. The Caulier beers are still the only naturally sugar-free beers in the market. They are the only light beers that won several competitions.
Caulier… the only naturally sugar-free beer. No artificial sweeteners, no preservatives, no colourants. (Source: Caulier.be)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Imperial Stout
Alcohol: 12° (although our bottle indicated 11% ABV)
Degree Plato: 22
Calorie: 67,2 kcal
12 ° brewed with smoked malt, chipotle chili, Robusta coffee. Black intense color. Intensity of alcohol and honey resulting primarily smoked malt and whiskey barrels. Surprisingly light despite the alcohol. It reveals powerful and persistent palate.
OUR BREWVIEW ON caulier 28 imperial stout
11% ABV, Served at 60°F. Fully opaque black color with a super creamy, cotton ball density, tan-colored, 3-finger height head with large and small bubbles. (We did ensure the glass was beer clean).
The lacework it left behind as the head collapsed was dense, patchy, and lined the sides of the tulip-shaped glass the whole way down.
Deep aromas of liquid smoke, dark malts, chipotle chili, (capsaicin) peat whisky barrels, dark molasses and bitter espresso. Black peppers mixed with raw, bitter chocolate.
The aromas carry over into the flavor almost akin to a very light tasting smoked Bamberg Rauchbier. Heavy wood, burnt toast, Despite it’s 11% ABV and assertive flavors, it is surprisingly easy to drink, and hides its strength well.
Medium to full-bodied, it is a bit oily on the palate, leaving behind deep smoked malt, whisky barrel wood, liquid smoke, and a faint chili tang and spiciness with slight hop bitterness. Not one component dominates over the other… quite well balanced.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
(Cheeses) Smoked cheeses of course! Smoked Gouda (rookaas), Provolone, Rauchkase, Scamorza, Sulguni, Oscypek smoked Cheddar and so many others. A charcuterie platter with smoked sausage and smoked ham paired with smoked cheeses would cut through the oiliness of the beer very nicely.
Smoked seafood: Cod, Herring, Salmon, Lox, Oysters, Scallops. Smoked meats: Bacon (yeah!), Pork, Beef. There are so many dishes to mention, all would go well with appropriate vegetables and potatoes.
Anything chocolate of course! Smoked Chocolate Ganache, Dark Chocolate Chipotle Sweet Potato Fudge, Sriracha Chocolate Dulce de Leche Tart, Cayenne Hot Chili Pepper Truffles, and so many more recipes.
When we read flavor descriptives of the 28 Imperial Stout from the brewery, we said to ourselves, “This is going to be interesting.”
As we mentioned at the beginning of this BrewView, we certainly hope that Brasserie Caulier will hasten the time when they start exporting their excellent beers to the United States. Their full beer portfolio would be an answer to a large segment of the population that believes they cannot enjoy beer because of the carb load or how drinking great craft beer can affect some people’s blood glucose. It’s hard to believe that this beer is super low in carbs, and sugar-free! Diabetics, rejoice!!!
We are so very eager to try the rest of the Caulier beers, and are hoping to get the chance soon! At this point, the Caulier beers are available in Belgium, France, Spain, and Italy. Yep, it’s worth the trip to seek out the Caulier beers when traveling in one of the aforementioned countries- your efforts will be rewarded.
HUGE THANKS GO OUT TO:
Our good friend (The Beer Santa) Stu Stuart of BELGIAN BEER ME! BEER TOURS OF BELGIUM for sending us this bottle. It is not imported (yet) into the USA, which makes the bottle we enjoyed, very rare. Without his generosity, we would not had the chance to BrewView Caulier 28 Imperial Stout at all!
Fax: +32 (0) 68/44.58.74
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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 Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15