Showing posts with label maudite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maudite. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Old Friends: Unibroue Maudite

From time to time I wonder if I have ever really got over the fact that my parents moved back to Scotland after about 6 years living in the Haute Vienne region of France. Don't get me wrong, I am glad to have somewhere to stay when Mrs V and I go to Scotland, but I loved going to the part of France they lived in.

During our 2008 Christmas trip we went into the Leclerc supermarket in La Souterraine, as ever I made a bee line for the beer aisle, where I noticed a few bottles of beer that looked markedly different from the massed ranks of French macro pale lager. Naturally I picked up a couple of each, and some Orval, hoping to try local French craft beer. Those bottles were all Unibroue, and I didn't read the back label at first, so only at my parents' place did I learn said brews came from Canada.

From that moment on I knew that Unibroue beers would be something I would enjoy from time to time when Mrs V and I jumped over the Pond, and so it has been, though usually their tripel, La Fin du Monde. Over the years I have found my tastes shifting ever further away from big hitters, as you probably know if you follow Fuggled with any sense of regularity. Having recently been reminded that I quite like the occasional dubbel, I figured I'd resurrect the Old Friends series and get myself a 750ml bottle of Maudite, Unibroue's dubbel...


First things first, I love the fact that the label is still basically the same as it was in 2008, showing the chasse-galerie of French Canadian lore, which may, if my reading is correct, itself be a version of ancient Wild Hunt stories. Any way, the beer...


This is an interesting one when it comes to describing how it looked on pouring into my goblet because so much depended on the light. Sat looking out of a window, sunlight streaming through, the beer was a deep dark copper, with red highlights, but sit with the light behind you and it appears to be a muddy brown. Whether light is to the fore or behind, the head is slightly off white, rocky, and lingers, leaving some delicate lacing down the sides of the glass.

The aroma is dominated by spices, hardly surprising as this is a spiced ale according to the label, mostly I was getting nutmeg and ginger, with a touch of clove. It immediately put me in mind of the fruit cake recipe I make each Yuletide. Lingering among the spices was a touch of molasses. some grassy hops, and just a hint of dried fruit. All of those characteristics carried on over to the flavour department as well. The fruitcake motif was reinforced, and augmented, with prunes, brown sugar, and just a light trace of banana as it warms - I drank it at the recommended 50° but inevitably it warmed as 750ml of 8% booze is not something for chugging fresh from the fridge, unless you are a philistine of course.


Maudite is definitely on the sweeter side of the spectrum, but the hops that are there give it just enough of a scrape to make drinking the entire bottle anything but a syrupy struggle. While a hefty beer for sure the alcohol is not really all that intrusive, it could even be called dangerous as it lies well integrated in the background. Overall a lovely beer that it was delightful to spend some time with again after many years, and having re-established contact I think I'll go hang out with the accursed crew of the flying canoe again some time soon.

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!

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

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