An article by Noah Forrest
Well, the weather might be trash right now, but at least we can look forward to strong beers and bottle releases. Once again, it’s time for Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!‘s Winter Marché! This annual party out in St. Jérome is a much needed celebration where you can drink amazing rarities on site and purchase barrel-aged bottles to go.
Every year, beer nerds drive from all over to line up to get their bottles – and of course, to drink a slew of deliciousness on site. Due to limited numbers, Dieu du Ciel created a lottery this year in an effort to make sure people don’t have to drive all they way out there only to end up leaving empty handed. Unfortunately, if you’re reading this now wanting to get in on the action, the lottery already took place. That said, there are often still leftovers, and the beers available to drink on site are amazing enough to take the trip.
- 11 ans pour Saint-Jérome
- Saturday, February 2nd 2019
- 259 rue de Villemure Saint-Jérome, QC
- Full details here
This year’s bottle list may not contain a slew of brand new bottles, but what is being offered is quite amazing as usual. Returning classics are just as good as anything new. The Pinot Noir barrel-aged edition of Isseki Nicho is finally back, this being the third time released in bottles after the first batch back in 2013. The highly sought after Péché Mortel Bourbon is returning as usual, with countless people traveling to Saint-Jérome solely to acquire their two cases of this enigmatic beer. Both the classic version of L’Exorciste as well as the blackberry edition have returned this year, and the latest two Symbiose variants are here as well. Lastly, a brand new beer called Facteur Cosmique is on this list, which I’ll provide more details on shortly.
So let’s get to it!
Isseki Nichō Pinot Noir 2019 (Bottled 2018)
Isseki Nicho is a imperial dark saison that has been coming out every year since 2011 – it has always been one of my favourites. Back in 2013, we were all treated to the first edition of a Pinot Noir barrel-aged version, which simply blew my mind. It returned once again in 2016, and as I was mentioning above, this is now the third time we have been treated to this exquisite variant.
The nose is on fire as usual. Intense Pinot vinous notes marry with the saison phenols beautifully, creating bright and spicy aromatics that really don’t compare to anything else out there. Dark chocolate meets berry notes and lots of oak. This is truly one of the most amazing beers to inhale.
The palate is the usual Isseki Pinot delight, with some seemingly subtle differences. Fruity dark chocolate and light coffee notes meet some bold Pinot grapes alongside a light, almost blackberry tartness. Big espresso and a luscious body add a richness that resembles the original batch a touch more than recent years. The barrel is also very pronounced, with huge vinous layers and some cutting tannins that dry everything perfectly. Always amazing.
Facteur Cosmique is a brand new bottle this year. At it’s base it’s a quad, but blended with grapes from Frontenac du Vignoble Rivière, spontaneously fermented, and the aged in barrels.
It pour out a gorgeous dark purple, with lots of brown highlights. The nose is vinous, alongside some spicy phenols. Chocolate, dates and a lot of what smells like coffee beans come next, finishing with light Bretty aromatics.
The palate is crazy complex. It’s tart, vinous, and carries a subtle sweetness. The Brett however does dry things out and there has to be coffee in this, or it was in a Péché barrel. The quad qualities carry rich dates and figs, with general dried fruits. The wild yeasts clearly ate away all the traditional clove-forward phenols, and instead have more of a berry presence. There is a sweet tang to this, with lots of cherry and red wine complexities. Overall this beer is pretty amazing. The layers in here are endless and brilliant.
(I checked in with Leïla at DDC to asked about the coffee notes. The barrels were indeed 2nd fill Péché Bourbon barrels, but washed prior to use).
Péché Mortel Bourbon 2019 (Bottled 2018)
Péché Mortel Bourbon is essentially a currency at this point. Thankfully, it’s been dropping every winter for the last few years and hopefully that continues until the sun explodes and we all die. If somehow you are not familiar with it, it’s a coffee infused imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, and it’s godly.
The nose on the 2019 edition bursts with the usual doughy malts and huge coffee aromatics. This mixes with rich bourbon notes, delivering all kinds of vanilla and oak spiciness.
As usual, this coffee bomb has an amazing velvety body that carries a smooth richness, and is balanced out by the bitter coffee grinds. The barrel adds layers of vanilla, creating a sweet cakey vibe when mixed with the rich sweetness of the malts. Drying oak tannins provide lots of bitterness to cut through everything. Chocolate espresso loveliness encompasses everything, while the bourbon notes add a complex but sharp layer that warms each sip beautifully, also helping to contrast the richness of the malt base.
PMB isn’t a bourbon bomb like Bourbon County, and instead more resembles the bourbon profile of something like KBS. I actually appreciate the nuanced oak and vanilla notes, as it allows the other classic Péché flavours to shine. I’d say this batch is better than last years – carbonation is back on point.
L’Exorciste Mures 2018
L’Exorciste is a beautifully complex wheat beer that undergoes mixed fermentation and is barrel aged with various acidifying bacteria. This particular variant is made with a ton of fresh blackberries. They have done this one several times now. Let’s dig into the brand new 2018 edition.
It pours out an amazing bright purple, with ruby colour, carrying a fluffy pink head that sticks around. The nose throws huge blackberry jammy vibes, alongside some sharp tart aromatics. Light oak and Bretty funk even things out.
On the mouth I’m first hit with a solid acidity carrying a nice sharpness, but balanced overall against the jammy blackberry juiciness. Light acetic notes add some complexity, creating a light balsamic tang in the finish. This however, is very subtle and not overpowering. Bright fruits really dominate this beer, and it goes down really well – not laborious in the least.
L’Exorciste Mures 2018 is a perfect balance of juicy and jammy fruits, dry Brett phenols, light vinous layers, and amazing drinkability. Of all the batches I’ve had, this one might just be the best to date.
As always I was impressed with everything, but this year the beers seemed even tighter than usual. I have no criticisms – these now classics are reigned in and drinking brilliantly. Once again, if you can make it out to Saint-Jérôme this Saturday, I’m sure you’ll have a good time. Details are listed above.
As well, I did have a chance to drink Symbiose No. 12, but somehow I lost all my notes. This batch is great as well – a bit boozier than the last batch, but drinking real nice. Cheers!
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest