Even though the region of the country that I live in is not known for it’s friendliness toward high-end beers, there are a few stand-bys that I can return to time and again when the occasion arises. One of these beers, available locally, is a Belgian-style tripel ale by the Canadian brewery Unibroue.
Unibroue specializes in Belgian-style beers and offers an impressive array of styles. One of my favorites is called “La Fin Du Monde,” which means “The End of the World” in French. Rather than spelling the end of the world, however, this beer is a great choice for introducing the beer-challenged to the world of better beer. At 9% abv, though, this is not a beer to take lightly …or heavily for that matter.
Here is my review of this Belgian-style tripel:
Appearance: Poured into a large tulip glass from a 750ml corked bottle. Presented a bright yellow/golden hue with a ghost of yeast in suspension throughout from the bottle fermentation. This beer looks terrific. A solid, but rather thin white head with decent retention and substantial lacing in the inner rim of the tulip.
Smell: Okay, things are getting better by the millisecond. This smells otherworldly … citrusy, spicy, with strong yeasty notes and zest almost like a witte in some respects. More “alive” than expected and incredibly complex in the nose.
Taste: First the appearance, then the scent, now the taste … I cannot explain my excitement here. This tripel from Canada (who’d have thunk it) is world class. I’d put it against MOST comparable styles from the homeland. It’s that good … with strong, warming alcohol upfront, sweet malts and yeast throughout, but offset with complex orange and spice notes that are strong but not overpowering. A distinct peppery spiciness is predominant, as if they added fresh cloves to the secondary … still holds slightly to the sweeter side on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Rich and substantial. You can detect the yeast strain throughout the liquid. Good, strong alcohol burn at 9%. Silky and manages a smoothness despite the high gravity. This is a rich ale despite the relatively light color.
Drinkability: Wish I had another 750ml of this right now, though I likely wouldn’t be in a condition conducive to writing this review if I had it. This beer is eminently drinkable, but take your time with it … let the complexity of this north of the border tripel come through as you savor each sip of this Belgian-style delight. It’s worth it. This is one of my favorite beers … period.
Unibroue beers are distributed pretty widely within the United States, so you should be able to find them relatively easily wherever you find yourself. If you can’t, ask your local retailer to see if they can order the beer for you. Often retailers are willing to special order what they don’t normally stock. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask!