Late one night a couple of weeks ago, I was reading through my News Feed on Facebook while waiting for a friend. We were meeting to go out for some beers and all that we knew is that we were craving something locally made and funky. For Hop-Heads and beer-snobs, a pilsner or a blond simply won’t do most days. That goes without saying. Then there are the nights where, after reading about all the new beers coming out aged in bourbon barrels, (Le Castor, Wee Heavy) or brewed with tea (Dunham, Breakfast IPA) on beer blogs across the web, (like Beerism) the experimental bug attacks and you, and you just need to venture out and try something new.
As I grew thirstier waiting for Jenn, my beer-tasting partner in crime, I came across a short, easy to miss, entry from a local Montreal microbrewery: A new beer called Purgatory that was a collaborative effort between Dieu du Ciel! and Trou du Diable. 750 ML bottles were available in short supply and only being offered on site at their brewpub. Now we have our location for the night.
As its name suggests, this Archéoporter is a variation of a porter. It has been aged for 15 months in wine barrels with wild yeast. The nose reveals intense notes of vanilla, toffee and cherries. The pour produces an opaque blackness with reddish hues and a timid crown of a beige-colored head.
Purgatory is complex and original in its weirdness. We find hints of toasted sweetness with vinegary notes. As it warms in my snifter, I discover a tart berry fruitiness reminiscent of a Merlot. There is a light woody presence from the wine barrel aging that mixes nicely with a light malted roast and dark chocolate semi-sweetness.
On palate, the beer connoisseur will recognize that special aged quality from Trou du Diable along with the special digestif quality found in most Dieu du Ciel products. Bold tartness dominates first, followed by burnt notes balanced evenly with a sweet character. The palate reveals a sourness which feels heavy due to low carbonization. The result tastes like a cross between wine, Belgian Saison, and Quadrupel styles, with hints of walnuts and a coffee liqueur. The texture is of a medium-to-heavy body with a heady mix of sweet, sour and bitter flavors. The finish has a long-lasting sourness from the wild yeast tied to the semi-sweet wine tannins.
An extremely rare and utterly unique product from a dream-team collaboration. Also, be on the look out for other great collaborations. In the pub now, but not available for long, is their IPA collaboration with The Alchemist brewery (Vermont) which currently makes the top rated beer on Beeradvocate.com, Heady Topper. Next up is their spiced Pale India Ale made with fellow aficionados Dogfish Head (Dellaware) and UK brewers Beavertown Brewery.
An Article by T.J. Blinn