An article by Noah Forrest
For the first time that I’m aware of, Microbrasserie Dieu du Ciel! is having a summer bottle release party! I, for one, am excited! With the exception of a couple of bigger beers, the line up generally consists of wild beers, sour blends, and fruited sexiness – or some combination of all three. I’ll include the full list of bottles at the end of this article.
Microbrasserie Dieu du Ciel! Summer Bottle Release Party
Saturday, June 18th 2016
259 rue de Villemure – St-Jérôme
Bar and bottle sale begins at 10:00AM
Barrel aging with wild yeasts, acidifying bacteria and general microflora inspired beers have taken Quebec by storm – especially as the summer months approach. I for one, am not complaining. I think some people view “sour beers” or “brett beers” as simply a new trend or gimmick for people to latch onto. Like anything that becomes more popular, there will be people creating quality products, and there will also be people who jump on the bandwagon, brewing mediocrity. It’s normal. And just because that happens doesn’t mean you need to hate on the amazing and brilliant concoctions being created. I’m rather tired of this silly and trendy bacon craze that’s ongoing, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love bacon with all my heart and soul (oh, I do).
All I’m saying is that there will certainly be people out there that look at this list and say “almost everything is some Brett sour or fruit beer, urg….” I say, good! Bring it on! These beers are the natural progression of the craft scene. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve written several times about the beauty of well made simple styles, but Dieu du Ciel! has earned this, and is now transcending onto a higher level, as are so many others.
Although this release consists of many brilliant beers that were cellared to be sold again, there are several new creations as well. Generally, those are the ones I want to talk about today. L’Exorciste 2015 #3 was incredible, so I’m excited to try two variants. The first is the latest batch of L’Exorciste Mures (blackberry) and the other a brand new variant called L’Exorciste Sauternes, which was conceived by my friend Anthony Savoie. Hérétique Blonde is also back with the newest 2016 edition, and a brand new variant called Hérétique Obscura is making its first appearance. So let’s drink ’em.
Hérétique 2016 – Blonde
Hérétique is a take on DDC’s Belgian IPA called Dernière Velonté; the difference being that it is 100% fermented in Pinot noir barrels using brettanomyces. I loved previous batches, and I’m excited for this latest rendition.
The nose is beautiful mix of wine forward aromatics that are rather vinous and oaky. It just reeks of Pinot. It’s generously fruity, containing some light citrus, coupled with stones fruits. It smells far more acidic than I recall. Some lemon rinds mix with bretty dust to create a great earthy and zesty combination. It’s dusty, but the bretts aren’t huge. Instead it’s all wine barrel and acidic kicks.
Wow, I think this may my favourite batch yet. There is an acidic component that lends a new refreshing balance to the beer. It’s still wine forward, with nice brett phenols backing the crazy oak presence. The pale ale base and hop bitterness is a major factor as well, adding a nice richness to the whole thing. The wine remnants and vinous acidity couple with the bitterness of the hops to create a wonderfully dry finish.
It’s rather tangy and fruity, with lots of tangerine and lime leading the way alongside all that wine soaked oak goodness. The brett plays a role, but takes a back seat to these other characteristics. The body is robust, and silky even, with a perfect carbonation that doesn’t really prickle your tongue, but isn’t too mild either.
Hérétique – Obscura
From what I understand, Hérétique Obscura is a porter, 100% fermented in Pinot noir barrels using brettanomyces. I have a thing for bretty porters, especially wine barrel aged versions. I’m particularly excited, although I do feel like I say that a lot.
The nose begins with ample dark chocolate notes, alongside vinous red grape acidity. Some musty brett funk emerges as well, followed by lots of blackberries and currents. It smells wonderfully juicy, carrying lots of tart wine complexities.
After the first sip, there are certainly some roasty porter components at the front, but the wine and the bretty phenols lead the way. As they fade, some coffee and dark chocolate come through as well. The finish is long and bitter, with resinous hops and lots of tangy yeast esters and barrel funk.
The 9% is virtually hidden. The chocolatey and roasty porter components are beautifully complimented by the the onslaught of fruity elements that launch blackberries, cherries, and red grapes at your taste buds. The wine barrel is huge here, but balanced against all the other flavours. The wine tannins help further dry out the fruitiness, while the potent hop backing makes sure to take care of the rest of it.
The dusty brett elements are not in your face, but instead the wild yeast just adds beautiful fruit components and that quintessential dry character that many of us have all fallen deeply in love with. The body is rich and velvety, but it’s still light enough and goes down like nothing.
L’Exorciste – Sauternes Barrel Aged
In case you aren’t familiar with L’Exorciste, it’s a barrel aged sour wheat beer which undergoes mixed fermentation, and it’s amazing. When I heard that they were doing a Sauternes barrel aged version of L’Exorciste, I was beyond intrigued. How would a sweet, Nobel rotted desert wine compliment this dusty, acidic wild beer? There was only one way to find out.
It pours out a beautiful golden yellow, with a perfect head that froths up into a tiny cloud, resting atop the gorgeous nectar below it. In many ways this actually looks like Sauternes.
The nose carries a huge blast of Sauternes vinousness, lending nuanced, but rich overripe fruit aromas. Apricots and peaches meet zesty citrus and orange, while the acidic components lend echoes of sour and bitter grapefruit rinds, and the bretts throw dusty funk at my senses. It has that wonderful Gueuze microflora thing, carrying a complex mix of brett phenolics and acidifying bacteria, alongside big oak and wine remnants.
The mouthfeel is dry yet robust, finishing with a tart, bordering on sour finish. It starts with lemon, peaches, and apricot, alongside some lime and a tangy, almost kiwi-like tartness. The finish is long and lingering, with mainly grapefruit bitterness. The wine tannins also rest on your palate, and cut any sweetness from the wine. It has a Gueuze-esque profile, but carries a richness that varies from the usual L’Exorciste.
Although the body is pretty big – almost silky and creamy – the finish is light, echoing tart lemon rinds and yeasty funk phenolics. The Sauternes plays a big role here, giving that big candied stone fruit complexity, alongside fresh peaches and plums. However, there is no sweetness here. Instead, it finds itself dry and crisp, perfect for warm weather, but rich enough to carry itself on colder days. It could simply be the mental association, but it feels like that earthy noble rot flavour found in Sauternes actually helps cut through the the rich body and any lingering sweetness.
Overall, the highly original creation has such similarities to lambic, but obviously not at the same time. It’s vinous components and the abundance of rich fruitiness take the front seat, with less bretty funk and barnyard than you’d find in a Gueuze, but still enough to lend a phenolic presence. #love
L’Exorciste – Mûres (Batch #4)
This is the forth iteration of L’Exorciste Mûres, which has garnered a pretty big following in Quebec. It’s essentially the blackberry version of L’Exorciste. Shortly after this past year’s winter bottle release, the trading forums lit up with people searching for this fruited wonder. I didn’t have a chance to try batch #3, but I found batch #2 quite good, but a bit on the acetic side for my tastes. I’m excited to see how it has evolved.
It pours out a sexy mauve colour, with a head that dissipates rather quickly. It smells juicy as hell, with loads of raspberry and blackberry goodness. Dank oak mixes with vinous acidity and tart fruit tannins, while dusty phenols come through as well, but it’s the acidic notes that are through the roof.
Wow, this is incredibly fruity and juicy, and at the same time carrying a brilliantly clean and potent acidity that leaves your palate quickly. The fruit profile lends cherries and blackberries alongside cranberries and red currents. There is a fruit juice element here that is pretty epic. The barrel comes through a lot, but less so than the Sauternes variant or the standard edition.
The slight acetic notes lend a certain vinaigrette component, adding complexity. However, it’s far more restrained if compared to the version I tried a while back. The finish holds a lingering phenolic bitterness, ripe with fruit tannins and a juicy essences. Like any good fruited sour, the juicy components are merely there to add fruity layers of deliciousness, and not sugars. This is dry, and the acidity – along with the brett phenolics and wine tannins – cut through the fruit-juice intensity rather well. This is a great improvements from the last bottle I tried, and overall an incredible beer.
Well, if you’re able to make it out to St. Jerome this weekend, I highly recommend picking up these amazing bottles. As always, Dieu du Ciel! doesn’t disappoint; these barrel aged wonders are as incredible as ever, and given the extremely reasonable prices, it only makes sense to try everything. It’s also a great opportunity to stock up on summer beers!
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest