Review: Brasserie Nonsuch Louis Rye Ale

Bonne Journée Louis Riel tout le monde!

Several years ago I was trying to think of Manitoba-themed ideas for beers, among Bourbons Coming/Bourbon Cummings in honour of Burton Cummings; Louis' Rye Ale (after Louis Riel) was a name that constantly popped into my head time and time again to the point I just absolutely wanted to see it happen some day. Last spring, La Brasserie Nonsuch contacted me and asked me if they could use the name for a beer they were coming out with.. of course I said yes because they make great beer and with their combination of owners who are either Métis (et Franco-Manitobain) or lived in Brandon at one point, I was excited to see it finally happen.

Well, it finally happened but unfortunately it got some negative publicity as Riel himself never drank and felt that alcohol was ruining the Aboriginal/Métis communities, so this beer never ended up at Manitoba Liquor Marts because of this. While this beer has been out since early November, I only finally got to get a can of the beer a week ago thanks to the always amazing Quality Beer Store! I didn't pick up multiple cans of this beer like I likely should've to get friends and family to try this but I didn't because I've just been dealing with a lot of stress/anxiety/depression/future uncertainty lately so my health has been going downhill. That said, I'm absolutely glad to see a beer name that I came up with finally made it onto an actual label. Let's stop with the negativity and go onto the beer..

Louis Rye Ale is a Strong Rye Ale that tops out at 6.8% ABV.

Appearance: Louis pours an opaque dark orange body with a hint of a copper hue to it... kind of reminds me of mixing in a lot of Good Host Iced Tea mix in a glass of water in the summer time (without the clumps). The head is fairly light with a bit of a gathering of off-white bubbles mostly touching the glass or else sprinkled to the middle of the top of the beer.

Aroma: The rye is the star of the show - it's a rich, nutty graininess with a hint of roastiness to it, it's not quite smoky or burnt but it's definitely rye-y.. it's tough to describe rye but it's always got a bit more of a peppery presence to it and a bitterness you don't really see from barley or wheat unless if they're being roasted or whatnot. There's notes of grassy and slightly floral hops to it, it's slightly sweet with a smidge of bubble gum/banana at the end.

Taste: Decently sweet Rye Ale with a good amount of caramel right from the very first sip. The rye isn't as dominating in the taste as compared to the aroma but it's definitely there - it's got a hint of a peppery spice to it, notes of rye grain to give it a tad bitterness to it, a good deal of banana and bubble gum to it, a bit of a syrupy sweetness to it as well. Good amount of toastiness to the beer, mostly coming from (what I expect) the rye. Slight notes of hops in here - a bit of a grassy and floral presence to it. The aftertaste is a presence of caramel, a bitterness of rye and a hint of pear - the aftertaste lasts for a quick second and then leaves.

Overall Thoughts: Finalement, this bière de siegle to honour Louis Riel is decent, I'd like to see even more bite out of the rye malt but it turned out solid - this has a taste to it that while I've seen beers just like this from all over Canada already, this beer has a truly Manitoban vibe to it from the very beginning to the very end. It's sweet with a good amount of rye to it, an ale that I feel works best from the beginning of the first snow fall until when the first leaf pops out.

Ever since day one, I've been a fan of La Brasserie Nonsuch and they damn well most of them know it - their beers are definitely on the stronger and boozier side than all the other Manitoban breweries but they're also a brewery where I'm happy with a small sample of their beer, feel great and don't feel like I need to have another one and another one after, which is exactly what I want in a beer, I don't want to get tanked, I just want to enjoy a nice sample that tastes great and enjoy the rest of my day/evening. After sampling a beer that I came up the name for (even though it was super easy), I'm ready to just relax and watch some Brooklyn Nine Nine until I fall asleep.

PS: Je ferrais une critique en franglais mais.. meh, jsuis trop fatigué. Peut être un jour? Meh, je pense pas.. mais Bonne Journée Louis Riel et Hé Ho! Go to le Festival du Voyageur si tu peux!

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