With the sun beaming in and the thermometer, admittedly in the sun, registering in the teens, I just couldn’t bring myself to quaffe another winter beer tonight. For a night, even with the many feet of snow in our yards, I thought I’d cheat and immerse myself in the idea of spring. It’ll happen, it will, won’t it?
So I pushed back the big imperial stout in the front of the fridge and grabbed a beer Anne brought home a weekend ago – and which turned out to be another example from Brassurs du Monde (and you have to go back to the second beer I reviewed to see the first mention of this brewery: “L’Interdite”).
The passion for this beer comes from its name and its rather unique ingredient: Seiglerie or rye.
Aesthetically, this beer has much to offer and please. The head pours big out of the bottle composed of many and large bubbles which, when the head quickly fades away, recalls the percussive pop of a bubble bath on the wane. And the lace, tenacious, clings to the glass like a hermit afraid to give up his own yearly bath.
The pour is slightly opaque and so the light catches it differently throughout the tapered glass, leaving an almost rainbow of gradient sunshine: soft yellow bursts to orange at the top of the glass. (Note: My first pour, and picture above, was with 2/3 of the bottle – when I topped up with the last third of the bottle, the sediment turned this a less magical light brown seen, right → ).
Now to the mouth – those damn bubbles get in the way. Way too much carbonation to really enjoy the first taste of this beer. As I recall, its brother had the same fault and suffered from strong carbonation (is there a beer doctor in the house?). Pardon the hyperbole, but the fizz burns the palette and makes it near impossible to pull the malted ryes out with the first taste. The taste is refreshing, to be sure, and a great choice for a spring beer, but refreshing is hardly a taste … more of a feel. The mid-tones of the taste also start rather weak and while they’re not overly complex, they are nice. Once the carbonated tongue stops its fizz, a sweet, creamy caramel emerges, like those little Kraft caramels I’ve described before. Where the beer really starts to engage me again, however, is at the end where the dry hops pounce and maul with feline affection. Leaving the cat metaphor, the final taste is also where the earthiness of the rye shows its unique head … so the beer finishes not only “refreshing,” but also “strong.”
Brewed in the style of an “English bitter,” the Golding and Fuggle hops are present in their slightly floral and grassy effervescence. The aroma also carries some of the nice yeasts used as part of the sur lies fermentation (which is also evidenced the picture above).
I must say, that at 4%, this beer has a huge amount of depth and strength – so for those that want a “light” beer that has strength to it, this is a great pick. This would be a very sturdy pairing with the likes of dry roasted ribs or a nice beer-can chicken. The “saltiness” combined with the ‘fat’ of both of these pairings would match well with the robustness and dry, bitter taste of this beer. Grab a few for barbeque season and enjoy.
Stats: Rye Bitter. 4% ABV. Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec.
Colour: Orange-brown; sur lies.
Mouth Feel: Strong carbonation; refreshing and bitter finish.
Purchased: Quebec (e.g. La Trappe à Fromage)
Pairings: Dry-roasted ribs; roasted chicken.