An article by Noah Forrest
In the past, when writing about the various Brasserie Dunham releases, I always felt kind of bad because the bottles were only available upon pre-order, and at the point when the article when out, it was often too late.
However, Dunham has been doing such a good job lately that there is generally enough to go around if you simply show up and buy a couple things. That being said, I’m not guaranteeing this! Some of these bottles are more limited and will go very quickly. However, there are plenty of amazing things available for you to purchase to go if you wanted to head over there this Saturday.
That’s right, this weekend is Brasserie Dunham’s 2017 May bottle release party!
When: May 13th 2017
Time: 11:00-18:00 EST
Where: 3809, rue Principale, Dunham, Qc
Further details here
As usual this year’s release is packed with interesting and experimental beers that should satisfy a huge range of palates. There are several Saison Cassis variants, the latest In the Jane Doe series, as well as a Dragon Fruit infused Berliner Weiss. And many many more. I’m going to dive right in here.
Stout Impériale Russe Bourbon BA (2017)
This bourbon barrel aged imperial stout has been a regular item for several years now. It’s big, luscious and intense – let’s see how he 2017 edition fairs.
The nose is a nice mix of dark chocolate, cooked caramel, vanilla, and oak. Some fruitiness comes through as well, lending a nice dark cherry component to the aromatics.
Off the bat, this is less bracingly bitter than usual. That being said, the dark chocolate notes balance beautifully against any residual sugars; alongside some rich vanilla bourbon notes. Like the nose, lots of cherry and blackberry flavours comes through as well, adding a fruity depth to the whole thing. There is a surprising juicy hop character as well, lending subtle notes of tropical fruits. Overall, this may be my favourite version of this beer to date.
Saison Cassis (Brandy barrel aged)
The first time I ever had this beer was a few years back when they released a wine barrel aged variant. It was crazy vinous, intensely dry, and damn delicious. I’m curious how the rich Brandy components will work. Let’s see!
The nose wafts big fruity notes of black currents and wine soaked cherries. There is a lot of oak and some tart smelling vinous complexity. The fruit adds an almost herbal-like quality, which is complimented by some wild yeast funk.
As expected, this is extremely dry, with a pretty apparent black current juiciness. It’s not particularly sour, nor is it very tart either. The Brandy plays a role, adding some rich vinous fruitiness to compliment the actual fruits. It carries a tangy linger in the finish, with an spicy fruit note, as the nose foretold. As it warms, a jammy sweetness comes through, adding more layers of fruitiness to the whole thing. This beer works for me, and like it, but doesn’t blow my mind.
Cyclope Kappa is the latest in a long running series of IPA’s from Dunham. This past October, they changed the recipe, and embraced the New England IPA craze. I would argue that this was a very welcomed change amoungst the local beer community.
The nose wafts big citrusy hop aromatics, with some nice estery yeast fruitiness as well. Some vanilla, pineapple, and grassy funk comes through, working together to solidify that signature NEIPA aroma.
Like the nose, it’s rather fruity, with substantial citrus and general tropical delights. However, the body feels thin, and there is a slight astringency in the finish. Like all the Cyclopes, this is easy to drink, with a lighter, almost sessionable quality. This will be great for hot days and when you don’t want a meal of a beer. However, if you expecting Kappa to be a gigantic hop bomb that’s going to attack your senses, you might be disappointed.
Hors Series Jane Doe #6
The Jane Does series is a line of barrel aged beers that are basically crazy-ass fruit blends. The sixth edition is no different. It’s composed of 27% Saison Cassis aged in Tequila barrels, 27% Orange de Dunham 27%, Saison Réserve, 12,5% – Rye berliner weisse and 6.5% maderized no Tahoma. I know, right? Madness.
It pours out an opaque ruby red orange colour with a nice head that sticks around. The nose is a fruity and zesty mix of aromatics, first tossing up some black currents, followed by lots of sour cherry and raspberry. Brettanomyces induced phenols provide a little dusty funk alongside lots of vinous smelling oak.
Up front on the palate Jane Doe 6 is tart, bordering on sour, with a tangy lingering finish that echoes juicy berries and black currents. It’s zesty all around, holding a well balanced acidity, with just a hint of acetic acid, which works brilliantly with the rich oak and fruity components. The tequila provides that earthy and hard to describe zesty quality that lends an interesting compliment to the currents and the white balsamic notes. This is a really fantastic beer, with layer upon layer of complexity.
Berliner Dragon Weisse
This is this third iteration of a bottled Berliner Weisse from Dunham; this time brewed with dragonfruit! It pours out a brilliantly bright amber orange colour with some mauve highlights. The nose carries a light fruity aroma, alongside some tart cider-like notes, melon, and lots of general acidity.
Up front on the palate, it is highly acidic as expected, with a dry and lingering sourness. The fruit is subtle but apparent, providing some melon-like components with lots of citrus. It’s a tad musty, carrying dusty yeast phenols and hints of oak. The acidity is certainly intense, but very well balanced overall; more so than the mango, which was amazing, but intense. That being said, the fruit is far less apparent in this one, and seems to simply add some delicious layers of complexity. Overall, I think this is my favourite Dunham Berliner to date!
At this point you are past the deadline to pre-order anything from Dunham this weekend. However, as I was stating above, I’m fairly certain that many of these beers will be procurable if you simply stop by. As well, on Saturday you can purchase some bottles from the California based brewery called Libertine, which I spoke about in my previous post this week. They are well worth it.
As usual, Dunham pushes the envelope, creating some spectacular beers that are not only interesting, but also delicious. Cheers!
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest