I am a privileged man, indeed. Usually on a weekly basis, (on Fridays or Saturdays) I enjoy some sort of beer from Unibroue. I am very active on Instagram, and I usually capture a picture of the beer I am enjoying that night, and share it with the world.
I am also privileged that I have a direct connection with one of the world’s greatest brewers, Jerry Vietz. I also share my Unibroue product pictures with him, and he is very grateful for my support. I am grateful he makes some of the best beers out there.
In mid-May 2016, I just so happened to text him a picture of the LA FIN DU MONDE Tripel I was enjoying that night. He commented that “I am very anxious for you to try the new Éphémère with blueberries that will be released soon.” My response was quite mutual.
Éphémère Bleuet (Blueberry) was released in the USA on June 30, 2016. However, because of the beer market we live in (Redding, California) it took until the beginning of August to obtain our samples of this precious liquid. Good beer sometimes takes longer to get here than usual beer markets closest to us (Eureka, Sacramento, San Francisco). Our apologies for the delay in posting this BrewView.
From the very beginning, Unibroue has carved out a special niche in the beer world with top quality products and a brand rooted deep in Quebec culture. It made history by becoming the first North American beer maker to use a brewing method inspired by the two-centuries-old tradition developed by Trappist monks in Europe—particularly in Belgium. Over the years, Unibroue has remained faithful to its origins even as it has grown to become an icon of the brewing world. Unibroue products take you on a journey filled with legends and fabulous tales. (Source: Unibroue)
Unibroue was founded by business partners André Dion and Serge Racine who had acquired 75% of La Brasserie Massawippi Inc. of Lennoxville in 1990. The two purchased the remainder of the shares at the end of 1991 when they transferred their interest in La Brasserie Massawippi Inc. to Unibroue.
By 1992, La Brasserie Massawippi Inc. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Unibroue. Afterward, it changed its corporate name to Brasserie Broubec Inc. and in July 1993 merged with Unibroue. It was bought by Canadian brewer, Sleeman Breweries Ltd., in 2004. Sleeman, in turn, was purchased in 2006 by Sapporo. Unibroue’s beers are distributed globally. (Source: Wikipedia)
In 2007, Unibroue promoted Jerry Vietz as its brewmaster. Jerry brings a wealth of technical and practical knowledge to the company. He joined the brewery in 2003, and began to work on such projects as R&D and automation. He also holds a certificate in Brewing and Malting from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a Diploma in Brewing (Institute of Brewing & Distilling U.K.).
As Director of the Brewing Department and Brew Master, he has been responsible for all aspects of Unibroue’s brewing department, including among others, process optimization, staff management, planning, maintenance, maintaining and improving quality standards, and ensuring the consistency of the liquid. He has also been in charge of new liquid development since 2007.
Jerry states, “I’m very passionate about fermentation in general. I’m not afraid to mix all kinds of stuff, to try new things. I’ve had the chance to experiment with a wide range of raw materials. I really believe that anything that contains carbohydrates can turn into something very interesting when it goes through the fermentation process, depending on the way you manage it. Each cereal, fruit, or sugar has a different profile and they need to be processed and managed differently in order to get a liquid with the desired characteristics.
I tell people I make “flavorful beers”—that’s the category I brew. For me, the important thing is to express myself through the beer. I brew with passion and I hope that people take as much pleasure to taste my beer as I have to create them!” (Source: Unibroue)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Witbier
MONTRÉAL, June 29, 2016 — Unibroue announces the launch of a new member of its Éphémère fruit beer series, enhanced with the unique taste of blueberries.
Like its previous iterations, Éphémère Blueberry is a limited release, just in time to celebrate the arrival of summer. Its luscious red color, with hints of purple, is beautifully adorned with creamy, pinkish foam. “The beer wort used for Éphémère Blueberry is made from home-grown blueberries,” reveals Brewmaster Jerry Vietz. “Éphémère Blueberry is a Belgian style white ale brewed with fruit, with mid-sized bubbles and bold effervescence. It has a balanced bouquet of berries and citrus, with a dominant blueberry flavor and a subtly spicy finish that’s delightfully refreshing.”
“The unique taste of blueberries can be a delicious addition to any number of recipes, “adds Sylvain Bouchard, Unibroue’s Beer Sommelier. “Éphémère Blueberry can be used as the base ingredient for a sangria, for instance, or can even replace milk in pancake batter.” This fruity beer is also a great choice to accompany pork medallions in port sauce, duck magret, or even a dessert such as cheesecake or profiteroles.
Éphémère Blueberry will be simultaneously released throughout Canada and the United States. In the US it will be available starting mid-June in 750 mL cork and cage bottles and at select bar and restaurant locations in draught format. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience the magic of blueberries, as this new Éphémère will only be available for a short time.
OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S ÉPHÉMÈRE BLEUET (BLUEBERRY)
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
5.5% ABV, we served it at 45° F in the signature Unibroue Éphémère tulip shaped glass.
With all of Jerry Vietz’s beers, they produce voluminous heads, and all Éphémère versions before it that we have BrewViewed, have always poured a 4-finger height head. The head was super dense, very faintly pink colored that is rocky, with an whipped egg-white consistency.
The beer color can be best described as orangish / blueish / pinkish . The meniscus is medium rising, rim variation color is slightly lighter.
The Brussels lacework the head left behind once it collapsed (it took around 10 minutes) was still holding a 2-finger height. During consumption, it held a 1/2″ height until the bottom of the glass. Truly outstanding.
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:
When we opened up the bottle for the first time, you could smell the intense blueberry bouquet from nearly 2 feet away before even pouring it into the glass. There are also aromas of wheat, coriander, and spices that immediately fill the air. What I’m about to say next may be a bit odd, but I can’t think of any other way to say it. The Blueberry aroma is so good, it almost smells “artificial.” But Jerry has told me that nothing artificial is used. Only the best and freshest blueberries harvested from the Quebec area are integrated into this summer refresher. Québec is home to one of the blueberry capitals of the world, and this “superfruit” is a veritable Québécois Culinary Tradition.
In the first sip, blueberries meet wheat, and finish out with citrus (Curaçao orange peel), and spices (coriander.) There is the classic Unibroue bready yeast flavor that just ties the flavors all together. As the beer warms up a bit, there is a very gentle note of orange blossom honey. MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Light bodied, the effervescence level is medium, bordering on high. The first sips will tickle the tip of the tongue, and then the sides of the mouth, finishing with the soft palate. Very well balanced tart mouthfeel, with a deep blueberry skin finish. It awakens the olfactory senses, and fully invites you to that next sip.
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) and Éphémère Bleuet was no exception. Here are some links to recipes from Unibroue’s website:
Another winner from Master Brewer Jerry Vietz in the Unibroue line of Éphémère beers. We cannot recommend this version highly enough!
Although it was released as a “summer refresher” it can be enjoyed year round with various dishes throughout the upcoming holidays- but only if you are smart enough to purchase a number of bottles now, and cellar the rest for later! The reason being, this “ephemeral” release is just that- for a limited time only!
Even though it is only at 5.5% ABV, the intense blueberry flavors would develop even further during aging, which we guess would be 3-5 years when the beer would be at it’s flavor peak. So if you see this beer on the shelves, get it!
Now take what we just described, and imagine Éphémère Bleuet on draught! If your favorite drinking establishment does not have this yet, ask them to get it- it’s that good. As we enjoyed this, we could only imagine the beautiful blueberry aromas that came from the brewery as Jerry was brewing this beer for the first time this year. Nearby homes in the neighborhood must have enjoyed it immensely!
OUR THANKS GO OUT TO:
Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible: Faiza Tremblay of DDMG Communications (for connecting with us and coordinating the shipment of samples being shipped to us), Andrew Murphy of Unibroue in Portland, Oregon (for sending us the beer samples), and of course, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz, for brewing another awesome beer.
LA BRASSERIE UNIBROUE
80 Des Carrières Street
Chambly (Québec) J3L 2H6
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