Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Eau Canada!

Some countries are inextricably linked with beer; Belgium, Britain and the Czech Republic for example. Other countries bring to mind wine; France, Australia and Argentina. Others are linked with spirits; Ireland, Russia and Poland. One country I had never thought of in connection with alcohol at all was Canada. That was until I saw beers from Unibroue in the L’Eclerc in La Souterraine. A quick text message to Beer Culture’s Evan Rail for his opinion of them and one of each available was soon in the shopping trolley.

Starting with the least alcoholic of the three, the 7.7%ABV Eau Bénite pours a dark gold with a big frothy head and lots of lovely bubbles. The nose was full of fruit and spice, and at the same time somewhat musty. Taste wise, the Eau Bénite continues the fruity theme from the nose, sweetened with honey and gingery spiciness. This beer put me in mind of the La Goudale I had enjoyed earlier in the holiday, although with a fuller body and a smooth softness in the throat.

Slightly stronger at 8%ABV, Maudite pours dark brown with a big cream head which hung around doggedly. The nose was dominated by licorice and gingerbread, the perfect Christmas aroma! The taste though was rather surprising, lots and lots of caramel, backed up by cloves – almost like a light Christmas pudding, with a very subtle bitterness underscoring the sweetness. Despite the somewhat hefty kick of alcohol, Maudite is very smooth and was like drinking liquid fudge.

Last up came the big hitting 9%ABV La Fin du Monde. What a magnificent beer this is, light amber and a thin white head, with a floral nose and touches of clove and banana. This was somewhat similar to the Eau Bénite but bigger, with a more pronounced fruitiness and refreshing spiciness. Again, given its ABV, this was a superbly smooth beer and not at all harsh.

Not only were the beers excellent, the labels were very well conceived and executed – including on the back of the Maudite a recommendation of the type of glass to use – hence using one of my dad’s brandy snifters. I have learnt that Unibroue have a somewhat extensive range of beers, which I trust will be easier to find in the USA - rather than relying on a random meeting in France - so a quick plea to my Canadian readers, please let me know what other treasures you guys have been keeping hidden!


  1. I am hoping to try more when I am on the other side of the Atlantic - some much to discover, where to start, where to start?

  2. There was a chance before Christmas of me going to Saskatchewan (Regina to be exact) and I immediately started scouting about for Canadian beers to try. In fact, I found there are a couple of micros in Regina. Alas the trip got cancelled, so I have to experience these through your writings :(

  3. Unibroue brew some great beers and Canada does have a few interesting beers and pubs so it would appear. Have you visited Alan Mcleod's 'A Good Beer Blog'?


The Price of Reinheitsgebot

Anyone with even the most cursory interest in German beer knows about Reinheitsgebot, the famed Bavarian "Beer Purity" law enacted...