Ephemere Ale : Brewed with Apple Juice, Coriander, and Curacao
Unibroue – Cambly, Quebec, Canada
Beer Info: From the Site – “White ale brewed with apple must. Redolent of ripe Granny Smith apples, this unique white ale pleases the palate with a delicate balance of fruit and spice notes and just a hint of sweetness.
Éphémère apple satisfies with each sip and refreshes in all seasons, especially when paired with an artisan cheddar cheese, pork tenderloin served with apple chutney or Vidalia onion soup.
We developed the Éphémère (Ephemeral) series to feature a seasonal fruit in a refreshing, lightly spiced white ale.”
If you’ve been privy to my beer reviews in the past, it should come as no surprise that I generally steer clear of beers brewed with a significant amount of fruit. This, of course, is direct opposition to the very beer I’m about to crack open… literally. I feel like I could ‘saber’ this bottle, it is so similar to a classic Champagne style; corked, twisted aluminum crown, and a gorgeous label with a pretty attractive Tolkein-esque faerie emblazoned within. So, hold on right along with me as we try to open this bad boy without putting an eye out.
Nice. That initial blast of pressurized gas released right after removing the cork is so crisp and similar to a nice, dry Chardonnay, but without the tinny wine aroma. In fact, it’s even closer to the smell of, well, a nice Champagne. Go figure. The pour announces its beautiful White Belgian-style, complete with a effervescence that erupts like a hard cider. The head comes and goes almost as quickly as it’s built leaving nothing remaining. The smell is ripe with the odors of Fall, especially here in Michigan, where Autumn equals apples. Period. I can grab the coriander just fine, though it is well behind the sour apple. The hue is a startling and brisk yellow that seems very much like the rind of the apples it contains. Now, we taste.
Quite the antithesis in flavors from the last few brews I’ve tried! This is rich with coriander, and meanders quite nicely into the pure White Belgian-Style ale that it is. It is clean, light, and almost coyly refreshing. But make no mistake: this is the kind of ale that could easily sneak up on you. There is virtually no hoppiness. The bitter mouth-feel one associates with ales in general is not here in the least. In fact, it is so unlike a standard ale that it almost reminds me of mead. It is very nice and so tricky in its lightness that I could quickly, and without thinking twice, knock back this whole bottle just because I was thirsty… not so much because I’d want a beer. If you know what I mean. I would certainly suggest buying more than one of these, even if it is a 750 ml (1 Pint. 9) bottle like this one that did set me back nearly seven bucks. But it’s so worth it. Adding to the food pairings already suggested above, I would drink this with maybe a grilled chicken, goat cheese, mandarin orange salad as well. Very delicious.
Rating: * * * *
Different. Not at all an ale you’d expect, but definitely one worth giving a go.