Wednesday, July 18, 2012


For many years I've held Quebec's UNIBROUE up as one of the pillars of the brewing world, and sung the praises of ales like La Fin Du Monde, Maudite and the like. I mean, everyone loves those beers. Even some of their "long tail" stuff, like the Canada-only EAU BENITE, are amazing approximations of the richest, yeastiest most Belgiany of Belgian ales on the planet. It's really been a long time since I've had a new beer from them, though - not since their contract-brewed Trader Joe's Vintage Ale 2010, anyway - and I totally loved that. They still doing that yearly Trader Joe's thing? Anyone know?

So along comes this GRANDE RESERVE 17, a "dark ale on lees", as they all are. Of course I snap it up with extreme prejudice. It's a 10% alcohol, Belgian-style dark ale. Parental discretion is advised, even if you're/I'm the parent. I'm wondering as I drink this, though, if the same maestros behind previous Unibroue beers are behind this one. It's too sweet. It's too carbonated - I mean really carbonated and bubbly for a dark ale. It had a great foam head, so there's that - but you can get that with a Brew 102 or a Meister Brau, am I right? Tastes are of caramel and nutmeg, and there's a little "nuttiness" to it as well - wacka wacka! All in all, though, it's just too damn sweet, and not in keeping with their usual standards of exceptionally high quality. I blame Chris Pronger. 6/10.

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