An article by Noah Forrest
A couple of months ago, Brasserie Dunham announced that they will be hosting a spectacular beer event near the end of the summer. It’s called Foudres Unis. This event is a celebration for exceptional brewers and passionate beer lovers alike. The line-up of breweries is pretty earth shattering, including names like Cantillon, Bellwoods, The Bruery, Auval, Twin Sails, Hill Farmstead, Dieu du Ciel!, 4hands, and many, many more.
The Event itself is on August 11th 2018 and will be held at ONEKA Organic Farm, located at 2 Chemin de la Poste-de-Boston, Frelighsburg, QC (about an hour and twenty minutes from Montreal, and about an 18 minute drive from Brasserie Dunham). There will be two 3.5Hr sessions; Session 1 will take place from 11:00 to 14:30, and Session 2 will take place from 16:30 to 20:00. The tickets for the event are 120$ plus tax for each session, however they include all of your drinks for the day. There will be restaurants on site as well as a Kombucha kiosk. More details here.
So how do we get tickets?
Well, here is the challenging part. You can get tickets starting tommorow, Feb 15th 2018, until March 4th 2018, but they have to be purchased in person at Brasserie Dunham’s boutique (3809 Rue Principale S, Dunham, Quebec). They will be opened from 12:00-21:00 both the 15th and 16th of February and then will return to their regular hours afterwards.
Why do we have to drive all the way to Dunham to get tickets?
Well, according to the good folks at Brasserie Dunham, because of the slew of amazing breweries being showcased, “…we have good reason to believe that people from everywhere will be interested. We want to make sure that local, passionate, motivated, and willing people are able to get tickets in the first place.”
It is certainly a long drive on a weekday, but the line-up for this event is epic to say the least. That said,if you need a bit more motivation to take the trip, Dunham is also hosting a small winter bottle release tomorrow (Feb 15th 2018). Four beers are dropping, (1) Hemen eta Han – collaboration with Naparbier, (2) Duel – collaboration with Microbrasserie À la Fût, (3) Viti Vini Vici Cuvée Hupin/Marler, and lastly (4) the latest version of Zonder Goblins Bourbon. Not only that, there are still bottles of killer barrel-aged beers like Pinacle Réserve Sauvignon Blanc and Funk Royal available to purchase.
I got my hands on a few of this bottles to review ahead of time. Check it out!
Viti Vini Vici – Cuvée Hupin/Marler
This is the third edition of Viti Vini Vici, a series of bottles desinged to marry grapes and beer. This particular iteration is a saison brewed with freshly squeezed grapes (Zweigelt, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris) from the Pervenches vineyard in Farnham. It is also lightly hopped and NOT barrel-aged in order to keep the brightness of the fruit.
It pours out a beautiful clear ruby-orange colour, almost looking a lot like carbonated Rosé. The nose wafts loads of dusty funk, mixed with tart vinous components. Red grapes and subtle berry notes add fruity layers that balance against the rich musty brett phenols. Stellar nose all around.
On the palate Cuvée Hupin/Marler is dry up front, but not particularly tannic. Instead, the beer is rounded and incredibly smooth. Lots of grape fruitiness comes through, carrying a luscious wine-rich profile, without the usual drying oak backdrop.
There is also a nice subtle hoppiness to this. Cherry comes through as well, while the brett provides lots of drying phenols, with dust and earth in the finish.
Saison du Pinacle Réserve – Sauvignon blanc
Pinacle Réserve is a Dunham classic. This particular batch showcases Sauvignon Blanc barrels as opposed to the usual Pinot Noir.
The nose is just spectacular, with stones fruits bursting forward, alongside some apple, white grapes, and lots of dusty brett funk.
On the palate it’s juicy and bright like the nose lets on, however there is a tannic oak presence that alongside the hop profile, creates a sharp bitterness in the finish.
Earthy and dusty flavours emerge in addition to some vanilla oakiness. As well, layers of white wine vinous notes and lots of rich and juicy stone fruits come through. The brett phenols dance brilliantly against its slick mouthfeel, leaving a pretty potent dryness that lingers.
Pinacle Réserve is truly one of the more impressive beers around. It’s the best of the best from Dunham, but perhaps also from all of Canada. And this new variant might even be better.
Le Quench du Soif “Réserve”
Quench de Soif is a collaboration between Brasserie Dunham and Twin Sails Brewing out of British Columbia. The name is a jab at all the American breweries who use french words in their names in order to come off sounding more sophisticated. It’s a wild IPA, carrying a hop profile inspired by the Vermont scene. This particular Réserve edition spent 6 months in Sauvignon Blanc barrels.
The nose is a bright and juicy mix of tropical fruits, including peaches, papaya, and light pineapple. Subtle vinous notes and spicy oak add more layers, while a light dustiness finishes off this beautifully aromatic beer.
The palate matches, carrying loads of fruit-filled complexities. The body is pretty slick and robust, carrying a nice clean and sweet maltiness – further complemented by rich fruity hop flavours. That said, any sweetness is cut by the brett phenols and tannic oak.
Although there are some hoppy layers, this is not as bright as the original product. Instead, there are wine-forward fruit layers that deliver white grapes and oak-forward vanilla notes. All is in balance. This does however, have an astringency in the finish that I’m not loving. Overall though, It’s solid.
Funk Royal is Foudre barrel-aged sour brewed with plums. It pours of a bright coral amber colour with orange highlights. The nose is jammy and funky at the same time. Lots of rich plum aromatics burst forth, with zesty acidity and some earthy brett phenols.
Up front on the palate it’s both very sour and very tannic. The dryness here is intense, leaving a mouth puckering linger on your tongue after every sip.
Lots of bright plum acidity mixes with an earthy brett backing. The oak isn’t incredibly apparent, but still lends a certain character to the beer as a whole. Although rather sour, Funk Royal is also quite drinkable and balanced overall. I very much enjoyed this one.
Hemen eta Han
Hemen eta Han is a saison aged in used wine barrels for four months and then blended with a foudre-aged rye beer. It was brewed in collaboration with Naparbier.
The nose provides a lovely bretty funk, delivering dusty and earthy phenols that are mixed with vinous soaked oak. Loads of grapes meet hints of peach and general fruitiness, but the oak and brett is certainly the star of this nose.
The palate matches, delivering big vinous notes alongside a nice dry brett presence. There are lots of oak tannins to further dry things out, but the beer is balanced and round overall. It’s pretty much the quintessential Dunham BA brett beer. The rye adds a light pepperiness, complimented by a big silky body.
Grape skins come though in the finish, with light berry notes and some stone fruits. This is cut by an apparent but not aggressive bitterness that works with the tannins to really dry everything well. This is fantastic, I could drink a case of these.
Well there is is folks, if you’re willing to call in sick to work tomorrow and trek out to the gorgeous Eastern Townships, not only will you be able to purchase tickets to (likely) the greatest beer festival in Québec’s history, but you can also buy a shit-ton of amazing barrel-aged and generally exceptional beers to take home. I don’t think you have a choice here, just do it already.
Before going to get tickets for Foudres Unis, make sure to read through the event details in order to get up to speed on all the rules regarding the event.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest