An article by Noah Forrest
October is here. Winter jackets are being pulled from closets, leaves are hitting the ground, and there are far more pumpkin spiced things out there than we need. And although everyone is exited about Halloween, I’m actually more excited about Brasserie Dunham‘s 2018 bottle release. It’s happening this weekend!
- Brasserie Dunham Fall Bottle Release Party
- Saturday, October 27th, 2018
- 3809 Rue Principale S, Dunham
- Facebook Event: Here
- Bottle orders and descriptions: Here
As usual, a slew of beer geeks will be heading out to the town of Dunham – located in the beautiful eastern townships – where they will be able to stare at all the pretty coloured leaves and drink loads of barrel-aged sexiness.
The day will be filled with a slurry of specialty one-off creations, as well as plenty of classic Dunham offerings that can be consumed on site, or purchased to go. If you are interested in bottles to take home, it’s best to reserve ahead of time. There is a 10$ fee, but you’ll receive a branded glass and a free beer.
This year’s list is just as inviting as ever, putting forth the usual slew of barrel-aged beers of mixed fermentation as well as some darker more robust offerings. And although Dunham is known for their collaborations, this release is packed with even more than usual, with five out of the six bottles having been brewed alongside amazing folks from other breweries. Dunham was kind enough to send me some bottles to review ahead of time, and I’d love to tell you all about them.
No Gogosse is a collaboration between Dunham and the highly acclaimed Auval. It’s a “no nonsense” blend of mix fermented saisons – and it’s definitely up my alley.
The nose is an amazing mix of dusty phenols, delivering earthy and musty aromas that are complimented by green apple and pear essence. Light honey notes come through as well, alongside hints of field berries.
The palate matches, carrying lots of dusty Brett layers alongside some lovely crisp white fruit and honey. There is a tart finish that cuts everything nicely, as well as rich tannins that dry the palate after each sip. The subtle tang of it all really brings out lovely fruit notes, while the oak brings in leather, vanilla and those serious tannins. If you’ve had Auval’s Saison Espinay and you’ve had Dunham’s slew of bretted saisons, this is exactly what you’d expect – and I wasn’t disappointed.
Mroczny Pan BBA
Mroczny Pan is an Baltic porter, aged in bourbon barrels. It’s a collaboration between Dunham and a polish brewery called Browar Widawa.
The nose throws out some ashy roasted notes, complimented by bourbon-induced vanilla aromas, and some red berries. Light espresso and dark chocolate lend to the complexity as well.
The palate begins with a rich silky body, while still feeling smooth and drinkable if compared to Dunham’s usual imperial dark ales. It’s quite exceptionally fruity, carrying lots of cherry and some tart berries, which I believe stem from the roasted malt and slightly tannic oak. The barrel is apparent, delivering vanilla and leather flavours, but it’s not overly present, just applying enough to add complexity to the whole thing.
At 10% ABV, it does carry a slight sharpness, but it integrates extremely well, complimenting the overall profile. This is highly drinkable and lovely. One of their better dark beers of recent years.
Ginnungagap is a collaboration with L’Albion out of Joliette. It’s a blend of a 100% English-style pale ale with some Arctic ale (barrel-aged Old burton ale).
The nose is a mix of chocolate, toasted grain and light Brett phenols that add just a touch of earthiness. Some noble hops add a tangy and herbal aroma that comes through as well. Smells delicious
The palate matches, shaping an original flavour profile that somehow works in all directions. First comes the pronounced malty English pale ale base, delivering lightly toasted grains that produce a subtle nutty and chocolate base. Then some rich earthy hops comes forth, holding a sharp but balanced bitterness in the finish. The Brett, although here, is subtle and not overly dusty or leathery; instead it provides just hints of mustiness. There is a dry slightly tannic finish that carries hints of acidity – creating a cherry/strawberry thing. This is truly delicious and crushable.
Berlue Rose is a blend of mainly Berliner Weisse and barrel-aged saisons, with some apple saison and a touch of beet beer. It’s a collaboration with the good folks at Microbrasserie Pit Caribou.
The nose carries strong bretty aromatics, releasing dusty phenols, alongside oak funk, and general vinous aromatics. Cider-like apple layers and tart grapefruit rinds add fruity dimensions to this exceptionally inviting nose.
The beer is tart up front, bordering on sour, but also balanced and quite juicy. Tannic grapefruit rinds meet lots of stone fruits and orange juiciness. There is a lovely sharp tang, like biting into an underripe tangerine. This is mixed with hints of passion fruit. It’s a touch vinous and tannic, with some white wine layers as well. Everything is in balance here. Perfect acidity, dryness, tannins and juiciness. Brilliant stuff.
Every time I write one of these articles I usually say something along the lines of “as usual, Brasserie Dunham continues to make amazing beers…” however, I’m more impressed than usual. This set of bottles seems rounder, more balanced and just simply on point. Even though most were barrel-aged wild ales or Saisons in some part, there was a clear difference in each, displaying diverse levels of acidity and funk. Sure, some people might have preferred more examples of big stouts or hoppy offerings, but for me the drinkability of the bottles in this release is something special. Dunham’s refinement and use of balance is at its peak. I can’t wait to see how things progress.
Once again, if you are interested in purchasing these bottles, the release is this Saturday. I always recommend heading out to the eastern townships- and when there is beer like this available, it’s even better.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest