Sorry to interrupt the irregularly scheduled Hop Rockin Peet posts, but it’s time for a bit of guest blogging. Over here in Canadia, Queen Victoria’s birthday is celebrated around the 24th of May. It has largely come to mean the start of summer, a long weekend, fireworks, and most importantly, a celebration of beer. For those that don’t know, the next most common unit of beer, after the six pack is two dozen, or twenty four. Round these parts, it’s called a two-four. May 24. May Two Four. Seriously, that’s the colloquial name for the holiday. Look, after surviving a long winter, the hungry bears of spring, and maple syrup induced delirium, it doesn’t take much for a Canadian celebrate this day with great enthusiasm.
Anyway, to the beery task at hand. As a bit of a teaser I’d sent out a link explaining all this May 24 malarky to a few folks. The article had a bunch of beer recommendations. When I asked for suggestions, surprisingly there was some sort of consensus – if I was to be drinking anything at all this weekend, it had better be La Fin du Monde made by the Quebec brewery Unibroue.
La Fin du Monde? To be honest, anything at 9% alcohol and calling itself the end of the world is not going to be something you guzzle on cottage deck after a long day chopping down trees and herding moose. Although it doesn’t say it on the label, it tastes very wheat beer-like. You know: coriander, citrus-y and slightly spicy. It pours cloudy and the head doesn’t stick around much although there are plenty of nice little bubbles that are rather reminiscent of champagne. Hardly a shock since it calls itself an extra strong “ale on lees”, which wiki tells me means bottle with yeast. So pretty much exactly like champagne then.
So enough of the preamble. How does it taste? Really good. Totally worth the fancy foil around the bottle cap. It is a well balanced classy brew that you wouldn’t suspect is so strong. The carbonation is delicate. The mouth feel is large but doesn’t stick around too long either. There are pronounced malty and yeasty notes and the lack of any overt hoppiness didn’t bother me at all. There was more than enough flavour here. It feels like someone took the time to get this beer right – crazy and improbable as it all is.
Musical pairing – wow. This is where I have to bow my hat to Peet. It’s not as easy it looks to get a good match for a beer. My first thought was to go super obvious (hello REM – I’m talking about you in the 80s) but this beer is well considered, less pop, more crafty and altogether something unique that you are not sure what makes it great but you know it’s in there and it is definitely not something you want a whole album of either…
So let’s go with Beriut’s Nantes shall we? (An alternate version with a proper video is also available too.) For those playing at home, I equate the tuba sound with the coriander taste. A wonderful accent when used thoughtfully. The song, like the beer, stays with me after I’m done listening and drinking. Which is a good thing too.
I’m not convinced that this a beer that you drink more than one of at a time – as tasty as it is. Which is a shame, because I’ve got five more in the fridge. Unibroue proudly claims this beer could only be brewed in the highlands of the Americas, but I would dearly like my friends from the ends of the earth, Vance, Andy, and Peet, to be here to drink the rest of them with me. I’m sure we’d all agree, this is mighty fine beer and that the world is better place because of it. Much like holidays and summer time.
Happy May Two Four.