Unibroue in Manitoba

This is 100% influenced by James at Slurpees and Murder. He commented a few times recently why I made no mention of Unibroue's La Fin du Monde when I did my Great Beer available in Manitoba series (Part 1Part 2). I left out La Fin du Monde because frankly, everyone should already know that it's a great beer! ;)

That being said, most people in Manitoba are not familiar with Unibroue as Unibroue products aren't necessarily as widely available as Molson and Labatt products. You can't go down to a Tavern United or a rural Manitoba bar and order a pint of Blanche de Chambly, but you could easily order a pint or bottle of Rickard's White, Kokanee or CLIT. 

A Step Back: My introduction to Unibroue happened back in Summer 2004 when I first started blogging about beer (on a blog that's now defunct). Upon the suggestions of several friends, I decided to try La Fin du Monde. I immediately disliked it and stated on RateBeer that the beer "reminded me of black licorice" and that it is "easy to get drunk off this beer." Oh, how my beer palate has changed..

In 2005, I had a dreadful job (better than no job!) where some evenings would have me stress out so much that I'd crave a beer afterwards. I bought a 6-pack of Blanche de Chambly and I quickly discovered that the witbier calmed my nerves and was a delicious tasting wheat ale! This was before Rickard's White ever came onto the market a year later. I started to force myself to drink Trois Pistoles, and after a few 6 packs over several months, my palate was forced to change. Now no longer did Unibroue's beer taste horrible to me, but instead - it tasted like liquid gold, as if some Québécoise angels were caressing my tongue with awesomeness!

Fast forward to now, as you can see on my Untappd profile that Unibroue is now my most preferred brand of beers with 5/6 being from Unibroue. I hope to see the Unibroue brand get more popular over time here in a province where mediocrity is celebrated when it comes to beer. I am going to list the Unibroue beer beers that are available here in Manitoba. At the time of this article, May 2012, there are only 750mL bottles of Unibroue beer available (or beer on tap at very limited locations), but in late November, Unibroue sends out a mixer pack of beer that contains generally 3-4 different beers (in 341mL bottles) as a Christmas promotion, it seems to be popular as the entire stock is usually gone by New Years Eve.  The 750mL bottles generally retail for $5.40 before tax. Unibroue beer also ages well, so you can store the beer for a few years and it will only get better with age!

  1. Blanche de Chambly - If you are familiar with Belgian style witbier wheat ales, such as Rickard's White or Hoegaarden then you know what to expect. This is a nice zesty wheat ale that goes great with friends, by the barbecue, on the patio or even by the fire. Blanche de Chambly is reasonably easy to find at most urban Liquormarts in Manitoba. You can also find it at several motel vendors but depends on how stocked the vendor is. This beer is also available on tap at a few places in Manitoba, including Remington's in Brandon, and Rudy's Eat & Drink in Winnipeg.
  2. Blonde de Chambly - This is a brand new permanent product at the Liquormart. Blonde de Chambly was first released in Quebec back two summers ago. The Blonde is a saison style wheat ale. While it is quite similar in taste to Blanche de Chambly, I find it's slightly more of a lemony zest compared to a orange zest in the Blanche. Like the Blanche, this is great for patios, with friends, at the barbecue or around the fire! The closest beers that I can compare this to are Half Pints' Saison de la ceinture fléchée or Urthel Saisonnière.

  3. La Fin du Monde - THE Unibroue beer that every beer connoisseur must try at least once in their lifetime. This is a strong Belgian-style pale ale. This is not your father's pale ale like Alexander Keith's, this is much stronger than that. It is somewhat similar to Duvel from Belgium. Quite a sweet tasting beer, and light/golden in appearance but at 9% alcohol, a 750mL bottle will give you a bit of a buzz. Don't drink this if you plan on doing anything afterwards, or else share this beer with a friend or two.. well, it translates as the end of the world for a reason!
  4. Maudite - Like La Fin du Monde, this has a high alcohol content at 8%. While La Fin du Monde  is a bit of a golden ale, Maudite is more of a darker Belgian Brune ale. Very sweet and hits the tongue hard. I don't recommend this to someone who wants a light tasting beer as this is quite strong. If you aren't a fan of darker ales, maybe this won't be your cup of tea pint of beer.
  5. Trois Pistoles - Like Maudite, this is another strong Belgian dark ale, this time at 9%. Very sweet, like Maudite. It is a bit nutty, a bit of dark chocolate and overall a great sipping beer while sitting down watching your favourite TV show or reading a newspaper by the fireplace.
  6. Éphémère Apple (Pomme) - To some people, flavoured beers are becoming the trend in the summertime beer industry. Before Coors Light Iced T and Bud Light Lime, there was the Éphémère line by Unibroue. Éphémère Pomme is a wheat ale that's brewed with Granny Smith Apples, it is quite carbonated compared to the rest of the Unibroue beers, but very welcoming to people who don't necessarily like beer as the apple helps mask some of the beer taste. I'm not a fan of this beer as the apple taste is a bit too sour and acidic for my liking, but to each their own.
  7. Éphémère Black Current (Cassis) - There's a local winery here in Manitoba called Rigby Orchards that makes a Cassis ice wine. Cassis (Black Current) is a tart fruit that goes well as part of an ice wine or in this case, a fruit beer. I find that Éphémère Cassis is a great alternative to a wine for a dinner party as it's a sweet yet tasty beverage that goes well with almost any kind of dishes, but preferably as part of a dessert. Sweet, tart, a bit of a carbonated grapefruit juice appearance and easy to drink.
  8. Raftman - This is one of the harder-to-find Unibroue beers at the moment. Raftman is brewed with a whisky malt. Not as sweet as most of the other Unibroue beers, but it does have a hint of whisky in it.

Here are some Unibroue beers that were previously available in Manitoba:
  1. Don de Dieu - Translates as the Gift of God. This was part of the 2008 Unibroue Collection, released around Christmas 2007.
  2. Noire de Chambly (Chambly Noire) - Was part of the 2008 Unibroue Collection and the 2011  Chambly Collection.
  3. Eau Bénite - A rarity by Unibroue that hadn't been brewed since the '90s, was part of the 2012 Sommelier Collection.
  4. La Terrible - Was available in Manitoba for a very brief period of time right before Christmas 2011. It sold out near immediately as it was incredibly popular with the local beer geeks. It sold for $7.50 per 750mL bottle.
Drink Less, Drink Better, mes amis!


Dan said...

I miss La Terrible...terribly (ha ha). Is this a year round or just a seasonal beer? I just hope it finds it's way back at the MLCC this winter again.

Vanessa said...

Hehe. CLIT. (Yes, I AM a child, thanks)