Friday, February 4, 2011

Foamy Furlough: FRIDAY

It has been a leisurely and enjoyable five days for me -- a lifestyle I could definitely get used to, aside from the not getting paid part. But since Friday is renowned as the end of the proletariat work week, let us conclude the Foamy Furlough© series with a beer that unequivocally says "the end": Unibroue La Fin Du Monde.

Unibroue is a Canadian brewery (Quebec is still Canada, right?) whose product line is nearly impeccable, regularly garnering prestigious international medals in competition. It stands proudly distinct from Canadian commercial juggernauts like Moosehead, Labatt, and Molson. Again, I will try to remain objective going into this tasting, but part of me is happily certain that it will be a good experience.

This triple fermented ale pours pale gold and cloudy. One foresees the flavors and effects of yeast. Foam rises in the chalice a little less than an inch -- not as much as I anticipated for the style, honestly. It is closer to white than off-white in color. The nose carries grape, honey, yeast, flowers, faint sourness, faint phenols. It sets the expectation for a delicious classic Belgian-style ale.

At first sip one finds the beer sweet and tart, with the Riesling-like impressions of grape and cardamom. There is nothing at all dark in the taste here, which remains forward on the tongue and pressed high on the palate by a prickly, effervescent carbonation. The body is of pale malt with no detectable roasting effects. Sugars must be added in order for such light malt to yield a 9% ABV. There is a pleasing aftertaste of sourdough bread.

I didn't really plan it this way, but it occurs to me that the overall experience of La Fin Du Monde is pretty much the polar opposite of the last night's fierce Russian imperial stout. And yet both are excellent beers. It drives home how gloriously multifaceted the world of beer has become. If the Foamy Furlough© series has a moral, it is that if you keep an open mind and are willing to do a little research, there's no reason to ever be bored.

Anyway, as with any triple, this one is a sipper rather than a session beer, but full of delights. It is devoid of the banana and clove flavors that keep me away from the yeast culture common to a lot of wheat beers and bottle-conditioned ales. I freely confess that I'm a barley and hops guy at heart -- I was even philosophically down with the Reinheitsgebot until Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione persuaded me that the bulk of beer history had nothing to do with "purity." But masterfully brewed beers like La Fin Du Monde are gently showing me the way to appreciate the yeastier end of the spectrum. Recommended, especially to those with a preference for the Belgian style.

Featured beer:

Honorable mentions:

Previously on FOAMY FURLOUGH©:


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