Our first forays into Good Beer were through Mama and Papa Thursday. Mama drinks mostly wine, but enjoys an occasional Amstel Light. Pops enjoys Miller Genuine Draft, though before that there was, I believe, George Killian’s Irish Red, and before that, Moosehead. One day–I don’t recall if it a birthday, or holiday, or anniversary, Pops brought home a case of Chimay Grand Reserve, more commonly known as Chimay Blue. He informed his children that this was the World’s Greatest Beer. In response to why he did not drink it often, he said that this beer runs about 4-5 times the price of his usual cases. It’s a special occasion brew.
Regardless, we took this information to heart, and years later, when drinking at a pub in Boston one afternoon, noticed that, low and behold, there sits Chimay Blue. For seven American dollars. For an 11 ounce bottle. Whatever–barkeep, pour me this lovely brew!I loved it. And thus started a serious interest in other forms of Ben Franklin’s favorite beverage. I spend as much money on beer as your average functioning drunk, but I drink one or two beers a couple of times a week. I enjoy my brews.
One of the first actual brewery’s I tried extensively, after Chimay, was Unibroue, based out of Chambly, Quebec, near Montreal, I believe. I was so interested in Unibroue for, I suppose, three reasons. First, they had a wild selection of different beers. Two, they had some of the best labels, and beer names I could find. Third, Matt Guyer, my local beer expert, let me know that the headbrewer at Unibroue is the former headbrewer for Chimay. Sounds good to me.
So, off we trunched with a Unibroue variety pack for who knows how much, and this is certainly a beer that I can’t help but come back to. Don De Dieu is a Belgian-style beer–the Unibroue website informs that is, in fact, a “triple wheat ale”. Thus, this beer has commonalities with Belgian tripels (or triples, if you prefer), as well as wheat beers. A triple is a beer with, generally, very high alcohol content, and a complex flavor–they can be very light or very dark, depending on the brewery. A wheat beer is, generally, a lighter beer, with a smooth, dry taste, and a somewhat less complex flavor, as well as a lower alcohol content. Don De Dieu certainly possesses a high alcohol content (9%), as well as a triple’s complexity, but it goes down as smoothly as any wheat beer.
It pours a brilliant, dark golden color into a chalice (oversized wine glasses, or tulip glasses would also do). The foam is a pure white, with a moderate amount of head that tends to last a while and then stick to the sides of the glass as you drink. The beer is fruity, but not overwhelmingly so, and despite the flavor of fruit, the beer has little of its sweetness. There are definitely malty flavors as the beer hits your tongue, and vague flavors of hops (that bitter taste you get in pale ales, often) in the aftertaste.
All in all, as close to a perfect beer as I’ve had.