Unibroue – Éphémère Pomme

ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 10
STYLE: White ale brewed with apple must

I’m a big fan of Unibroue beers and this is an easy one to pick up in stores. The first time I’ve had it was at a restaurant where I ordered both versions of Éphémère, apple and blackcurrant, for my girlfriend and I. I had the blackcurrant and thoroughly enjoyed it. Since this is an easy enough beer to find in most grocery stores and white beers are perfect for summer drinking, I decided to pick up a case.

Éphémère Pomme is made in honor of this great fruit. Its lively effervescence, fresh and refreshing taste as well as its Granny Smith apple nose combine to offer you a unique sensory experience. It pairs extremely well with goat’s milk, cheeses, pork or duck. It has known such a success that you will now be able to appreciate its taste all year long.

Golden and hazy in colour with yeast cloudiness. Large three to four finger frothy white head. It dissipates rather quickly. Expected for a white beer. Really good lacing and a lot of carbonation streaming off the bottom of the glass.

Not as much apple in the aroma as I would have expected. I get a very spicy and yeasty aroma. Ginger and nutmeg are more prevalent. The apple is more subdued, but it is definitely akin to a granny smith apple. The aroma itself is sour. Reminds me a little bit of the Jolly Rancher candies. The spices and yeast definitely play a larger role here.

Again, as expected from the aroma, there are more spices in the taste. Ginger is more noticeable than the nutmeg. The apple flavours are more subtle. A very nice mix of sweet and tart going on. The body is very thin and watery (almost a bit grainy as well) and there is a lot of small bubbles in the carbonation. Expect to burp a few times. A bit of a dry and lingering aftertaste. This is where the tart green apple flavour shines. The aftertaste will stick with you for awhile and it’s a bit yeasty as well. The longer it lingers the less pleasant it becomes.

This is a decent beer but it’s not a favourite. I think the spiciness from the yeast overwhelms the beer in the wrong direction, masking a lot of the interesting apple flavour. The aftertaste also lingers too long in a bad way. On top of that, for some reason, the carbonation just does not sit well with me. I’m not opposed to drinking it but I don’t think I would go out of my way to have this again, especially when it’s counterpart, Éphémère Blackcurrant is better in my opinion.

All that being said, I think this beer would really work in conjunction with some nice goat and stinky cheeses. But I’m not reviewing a beer coupling, just how it stands on its own.

St-Ambroise – Raspberry Ale

ABV: 5%

St-Ambroise Raspberry Ale is a wonderful seasonal ale that comes out around June every summer in Montreal. I found out about the beer two years ago at their terrace and it has been a yearly staple on draft and in the fridge. It’s the perfect blend of fruit and beer.

Made with fresh raspberries and choice sun-ripened hops, it gently engages your taste buds in a delicious explosion of flavours. Its delicate fruit aromas marry perfectly with the pleasant hop character typical of all St-Ambroise ales. Brewed in Quebec – just once a year – it’s a unique summertime treat!

The Raspberry Ale pours a deep dark red with a fluffy pink cloud-like two finger head that slowly dissipates. The beer itself is a bit hazy with a very deep ruby red colour. The darker colour comes from using darker malts, which is a smart decision to give it that red colour. (I’ve always thought the blonde raspberry ales at other brewpubs looked wrong for the flavour). When put up to the sunlight it just glows red. Very good lacing around the glass. This beer looks absolutely gorgeous.

This beer smells like raspberries. Lots and lots of raspberries. The aroma is very pleasantly natural without any kind of sweet synthetic aromas. Like a fresh field of raspberries. There isn’t anything else on the nose and that’s OK. The raspberries are very inviting and you begin to salivate at the prospect of drinking this beer.

Again, we’re talking all raspberry here. A tart raspberry taste. Some malt flavours and a nice medium body. Not overwhelmingly sweet but enough to cut the tart bitterness of the raspberry flavour. Little bit of carbonation. It ends with a traditional McAuslan hop finish that is recognizable from their other beers. A little bitter at the end with a sour aftertaste. Very refreshing and surprisingly a well balanced beer between the raspberry flavours and beer flavours.

This is a great summer beer. I want to emphasize that this is indeed a beer. If judging by the colour and aroma alone, you would think this is some kind of blended beer with synthetic sweetness. But this is not the case. While it has a very powerful and inviting raspberry aroma it still blends the malt and hop flavours perfectly. Like I mentioned earlier it’s a staple in my fridge during the summer months. Perfect for sipping or session drinking, depending on your mood.