23 November 2006

KOTBR Review #7 & #8: Unibroue's Trois Pistoles & Maudite

In the spirit of overindulgence at Thanksgiving, the KOTBR decided to review not one, but two - count them TWO - beers at the latest Roundtable. These beers were not chosen at random, however. We did stick with reviewing beers from the one good thing in Canada - Unibroue. Now the question of the week is, just how do we pronouce this brewery? I hear the proper pronounciation is "oo-nee-brew". We, however, prefer the more sophomoric "unibrow", as demonstrated by one half of our favorite childhood gay couple, Bert.

Jim, Jason and I met up, sans BrainGirl, who couldn't get out of work committments for her first Roundtable, and Kelly, who overslept by 12 hours or so, at our new favorite hangout - Deano's Vino Restaurant & Wine Bar, in historic Fountain Square. Again, we were awed and impressed with the beer choice, the staff, the atmosphere, and the hospitality. Again, we closed the bar down. Again, we will go back. I simply love this place. If you haven't been, you have to go. And tell them you read about them here, and wanted to check them out (it lends credibility to our position with Deano that he should sponsor us, or at least sponsor the beer!!). If you have been there, go back and tell them you're coming back is because we recommend it so highly.

Not only does all that good stuff we've already said about them make them a great place, but they also have Humphrey, the Humping Dog on tap, and within reach of my barstool of choice, which is endless entertainment for me (if you want to know what I'm talking about, you're just going to have to go in and see for yourself).

So enough of the commercial for Deano's - let's get down to the brew review!

JASON: There is an ongoing discussion amongst the Hoosier Beer Geeks about how to properly pronounce the name of the Canadian brewer Unibroue. I argue that since we are HOOSIER Beer Geeks, we should butcher the pronunciation like we Hoosiers do with all French words (i.e. Versailles) and refer to is as “Unibrow” (as in one eye brow that stretches over both eyes). And so the discussion of pronunciation led to the discussion of body hair maintenance. But I’ll come back to that later.

Unibroue is one of Chris’s favorite brewers and it was his suggestion that we try one of their beers. There were three varieties available at Deano’s Vino: Fin du Monde, Maudite, and Trois Pistoles. It was the latter that we selected as our primary beer to review.

Last week, I was introduced to Unibroue while at the Hop Shop. I consumed some “10” and “11”, which were very champagne-like in taste and appearance. Very good, very high quality. Beers that should be enjoyed slowly, not chugged. And that seems to be the consensus when speaking about all their brews. Unibroue is a high-quality crafter brewer that produces unique and impressive beers.

The Trois Pistoles is a strong dark ale with 9 percent alcohol by volume. It is an incredibly dark and dense beer that can easily block the sunshine in your mind as well as any light in the room. I mean light does not travel through this beer. It’s like a black hole, it just sucks in the light. TP pours with a nice foamy head that settles down until there is a little foam around the edge of the surface. Initially, it creates some great, dense Belgian lace that, much like the head, thins out as the beer sits.

It started with a strong fruit aroma. Jim says that it smelled like plums that have sat around for too long. Not rotten fruit, but just aged. I’m not for certain if I know exactly what a plum smells or tastes like, so I won’t argue with Jim about it. Unfortunately, Deano’s didn’t have any plums for me to smell or taste. Or any plum wine. So I couldn’t do a comparison. But I think I’ll trust Jim’s analysis on this.

I should point out that I don’t like fruity smelling and tasting beers. Just not my thing. I can appreciate the beers for what they are and can understand why others enjoy it. But it’s not my bag, baby. Thankfully, the fruitiness of the beer subsides as you continue to drink it, so for me, the beer became better as I continued to consume it.

The taste also had plenty of fruit to it, but like the aroma, the fruit subsided as time went on. Drinking the beer left a bit of a nice aftertaste or bite on the back of the tongue. I also found the beer to tingle the mouth while drinking. As far as fruity beers go, this was one of the more drinkable beers that I have had. And as Chris pointed out, it seems to be better when you sit back and just consume it versus contemplating all the different elements for a review. It’s a beer that’s better when you just enjoy it instead of analyzing it.

I initially was going to give this beer three mugs. It’s a fine, well crafted beer, but it’s not one that I would go out to buy for myself. It’s just not for me. But I’m going to give it a bonus half mug for the intangibles: being more enjoyable as you go along, being a good beer to just sip and enjoy, and being one of the better fruity beers that I have consumed. So that’s a grand total of 3.5 beer mugs for the Unibroue Trois Pistoles.

We followed up the Trois Pistoles with Unibroue’s Maudite. The intention was to rate this beer as well, but I am going to withhold judgment. TP is a stronger beer than Maudite, therefore numbing my judgment. If I really wanted to judge both of them, I should have reversed the order they were consumed in. But I will briefly describe my initial thoughts on this beer.

Maudite is a strong dark ale with an eight percent ABV. It’s amber in color and has some clarity. There is a pleasant sweet aroma and flavor, though the aroma seemed to not be very strong during this tasting. The beer left a bit of dryness in the back of the throat and I think I sensed a slight clove flavor in the aftertaste. I did enjoy this beer, as well as the He’brewed Messiah Bold. And I look forward to reviewing both beers in the future.

Now, I know that many were disappointed that my beer review was not in haiku this time. And I’m disappointed that I didn’t do it either. But writing in a 5-7-5 manner consumes a large number of brain cells and, frankly, after last night, I have none to spare.

However, since we attract an intelligent class of drunks to this blog, I will offer this bit of literary genius written by yours truly. As I mentioned earlier, we had a body hair discussion during the review. We not only discussed the plucking and shaving of potential unibrows, but also the manicuring of hair in, um, other regions. So this bit of poetry is inspired by Nick at Deano’s Vino and is presented in the style of Shakespearian prose:

There was a bartender in Fountain Square
Who liked to shave all his hair “down there”.
It made “him” look large
And totally in charge
Though the new hair growth itching he could not bear.

My apologies to the kids at home, clergy members, anyone who can’t handle references to “naughty bits”, and those who feel downright dirty for having read that.

JIM: Before I begin, I’d like to extend a big thanks to Deano and Nick for being so hospitable to us. Deano’s place is a first rate establishment. You should head there tout de suite if you haven’t checked it out yet. It is truly one of the crown jewels of Fountain Square.

I’ve decided to up the gimmick ante with my review this week of Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles and Maudite. At the last meeting of the KOTBR, Chris and I kidded Jason for writing his review in haiku form. Someone (maybe me – I can’t remember due to the ale-induced haze) jokingly posited the possibility of writing a review in iambic pentameter. Who am I to refuse such a challenge? The gauntlet has been thrown down! So, here goes. And perhaps you Shakespearean prose experts can tell me if I’m doing this correctly…

The first of ales reviewed by us was dark
Its name was Trois Pistoles, a pungent brew
It held a nose of ripened plums so strong
And tasted much the same but pleased me not
A beer for others, those from northern lands
Three tankards worth of ale this drink does rate

The second beer to pass my lips was called
The name Maudite, a finer brew it was
A whiff of caramel and molasses strong
A flavor same as nose, a lovely taste
I’d order yet another if I could
But that would leave me sprawled upon the floor
Four tankards worth of ale this drink does rate

CHRIS: I'm going to recuse myself from an actual review. I have one written for these beers, but in all fairness, I was suffering from a cold complimented by a stuffy nose and mind-blowing sneezes, and therefore can't give a full review of the nose or taste. I do like both of these beers, however, like everything else from Unibroue I have tried. But in the end, I just can't compete with these cool cats who scribe in limericks and iambic pentameter.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still bummed I overslept. Can't wait to read the reviews!