As it should be, methinks, since these Picks are not for the every-day, run-of-the-mill Good Beers, but for those that truly stand out from the crowd in their uniqueness.
I do think it’s time to present another, this one from the well-respected Quebecois–Canadian brewery Dieu du Ciel. I’ve heard great things about Dieu du Ciel, but this particular brew was my first foray into their oeuvre. And, quite honestly, this one was a tangential, whim pick. I was stocking up for my October cellar stash at Ye Olde Bruisin’ Ales, and happened to be telling Jason how much I appreciated his prior recommendation of Saison Pipaix. He then said, “Well, if you appreciated the peppery notes of the Pipaix, you should check this one out…” and fetched me a 12-ounce bottle of the present goodness. Brewed with green and black peppercorns, in fact.
Route des Épices
Rye Ale brewed with green and black peppercorns, 5% Alcohol by Volume
From the Brewery’s own description…
“La Route des épices est une bière de seigle dégageant d’agréables arômes et saveurs de poivre provenant de l’incorporation de cette épice durant le brassage. En bouche, on retrouve aussi des saveurs de malt, de céréales fraîches, et des notes de fruits, de chocolat et de caramel. En arrière-goût, le poivre revient en force et laisse une agréable sensation épicée sur la langue et l’arrière du palais, permettant d’atteindre le juste équilibre entre le piquant et les autres saveurs…”
That is to say,
“Initially, the beer reveals flavours of fresh grain and malt, which give it notes of chocolate, caramel, and fruit. The pepper flavour and aroma is fully revealed in the finish, which leaves a pleasant, spicy, tingling sensation on the tongue.”
Odd, I know. But you know what, it works.
Here’s my review:
Appearance: Dark siena brown, similar to an American Brown or a dark Pumpkin ale. Lots of light-tan foamy head. 4.5 / 5
Aroma: Enticing! Dark, deep malt; black and white pepper leads into shades of cocoa, cardamom, salt, coriander, and rye, with an earthy-floral (is that basil?) finish. 4 / 5
Taste: Rich and complex: this is truly a caravan-journey across the Spice Road. Dark tones of rye and bourbon, with a flashy peppercorn showing and a spicy finish. Dandelion shows up, as well as (again) cardamom, with slight hints of white chocolate. 4.5 / 5
Palate: A strong pepper finish — almost hot on the throat, and yet I want to sip again and again… 3.5 / 5
Overall: Very unusual! Very pleasant, too…Dark, mysterious, appropriately bitter. 4 / 5
Great with (I would imagine) a whole array of foods — peppery steak for sure; smoked cheeses; anything grilled. I had it alongside a chicken-gorgonzola-walnut pasta: it was *almost* too strong for the dish, but in the end it did work well together, thanks to that gorgonzola-blue cheese. I’d try this one with mole sauce in a heartbeat. Or, for that matter, curry fries.
Final: 4.25 / 5 (A-)
My only advice: don’t drink it too cold. You’ll miss out.