This week’s EXCLUSIVE “teaser” BrewView of an ULTRA-RARE, (PRE-USA MARKET) BEER was made possible by very special arrangement from Master Brewer Jerry Vietz of Unibroue from Chambly, (Québec) Canada, and Andrew Murphy from Unibroue’s distribution network out of Portland, Oregon.
This beer is so rare, that Jerry brought only six unlabeled 12-ounce bottles to the United States while promoting it. This excellent beer 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.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “RARE” in the following way:
RARE, adjective \’rer\
Marked by unusual quality, merit, or appeal : distinctive, superlative or extreme of its kind, seldom occurring or found : uncommon.
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: See BrewView from January 5, 2015
OUR BREWVIEW OF UNIBROUE’S ULTRA-RARE, (PRE-USA MARKET) BEER
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
10% ABV. We poured it at 50°F in a tulip-shaped glass. Pours a dark, smoky, mahogany / chocolate-brown color. It easily poured a voluminous off-white colored, dense, rocky, creamy 4-finger head with tight bubbles. Excellent head retention- as we write this, the beer has been poured for about 8 minutes, and it still held almost a 1/4 inch head. Rim color variation- medium brown color.
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 thick and even-sheeted. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). There is a cloudy haze to the beer, due to the Unibroue bottle conditioning and extremely heavy yeast sedimentation- “Beer on Lees.”
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Oh, yes- the initial aroma is a beautiful blend of deep chocolate and caramel. You definitely get aromas of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg also- the spice mix that many Unibroue beers are very well known for. There’s cocoa nib and toffee bouquet notes as well. The hop aroma is somewhat muted, but it lends to the spice mix. As the beer warmed up, a very faint cherry cordial bouquet started to develop, as well with gentle vanilla notes. Again, another one of those masterfully crafted beers where the aromas and bouquets change (for the better) as time passes. We were eagerly anticipating the first sip!
The immediate flavors you get upon the first few sips are deep caramel, toffee, and nutty notes of walnuts, toasted chestnuts, immediately followed by the spice flavor mix of allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with a hint of cardamom. As the beer warms up, the flavors are reminiscent of biting into a chocolate covered cherry with spices sprinkled over it.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The medium level effervescence that Jerry Vietz has crafted into this beer lends to the spiciness- it gives it a bit of a kick, a bit of heat. It almost has a light peppery mouthfeel to it. This beer definitely begs for another sip… the beer hits the front of the tongue gently, but then coats the sides and the back of the mouth with the deep caramel / toffee / spice mix, which does linger nicely at the back of the throat.
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.
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.
Our hats off to Master Brewer, Jerry Vietz, for brewing a masterfully crafted beer! Tasting this beer was a privilege, and was indeed, a rare and highly cherished treat.
This is a world class beer, and deserves to be 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- it’s a must have, trust us! 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 properly. We are going to do just that!
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 the sample 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!