An article by Noah Forrest
It’s been pretty warm this last week, but I’m well aware that it’s simply a tease. March is a sneaky month that gets your hopes up just long enough for you to let your guard down. And then bam! Fifty centimeters of snow or perhaps negative thirty degrees winds.
That said, March also has Péché Day, so maybe that makes up for everything…
That’s right, Saturday March 21st is international Péché Day (Journée Péché). The details are right here. It’s a day designed to celebrate one beer – the highly acclaimed Péché Mortel from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel
Every year, bars from all around the province, country, and even the world celebrate this iconic coffee-infused imperial stout.
Alongside the live events, Dieu du Ciel also releases a 4-pack of new Péché variants each year on Péché Day (Quebec distribution only). This is the fourth time they’ve gone this route and it’s always a lot of fun to see what they’ve come up with. Each time includes their Bourbon barrel-aged version of that year and three new creations. This year we have a Mexican Stout that contains chillies and spices, a blackcurrant infused bottle, and a Sidama Coffee variant.
Let’s dive in.
Péché Mortel – Mexican Stout
This spicy, Mexican hot chocolate inspired iteration has been served on tap a couple of times and I’ve heard nothing but great things.
The nose is bright and surprisingly fruity, giving off notes of berries, coffee earthiness, and lots of cacao. Sweet notes of vanilla and cinnamon come through as well.
The palate matches, but far less fruity than the nose let on. Instead you get the coffee as you would normally, followed by some subtle cinnamon notes and a lovely warming heat. The spiciness is kept in check though, adding just enough heat to let you know it’s there. The Cacao really helps lend an earthy, mocha element that further dries things out.
This version is different enough from the original, but not so much so that you feel like it’s a completely different beer. Easily one of (if not the) best variant to date – bourbon aside of course.
Péché Mortel – Blackcurrant
Full disclosure, I’m not really a fan of the fruited Péché variants, so keep that in mind when reading my thoughts.
Right here is the Blackcurrent edition. The nose on this one is actually more subtle that I expected. As usual, lots of coffee comes through, with layers of caramel and dark chocolate. However, there are only subtle fruity and acidic notes, but somehow less than in the Mexican version (which contains no fruit)?
The palate is a touch one dimensional, delivering an acidic bite that when combined with the bitterness of the coffee, creates an overbearing astringency – the rest of the beer gets lost here. I was able to enjoy the cherry version last year because the fruitiness added a fun compliment to the rich base, but here the blackcurrant seems to mostly impart a tart profile that just clashes with all the things that make Péché great.
I’ve had a hard time with all the fruited Péché’s to date – I know a lot of people who like them. But this is just not for me.
Péché Mortel – Bourbon 2020
Next up is the 2020 (bottled in 2019) Bourbon barrel-aged variant. An epic beer. The nose on this throws out a huge vanilla punch, carrying countless layers of rich bourbon goodness. Chocolate fudge meets dark espresso beans. It’s the same classic Péché bourbon but with even more bourbon and chocolate notes.
The palate is the usual mix of bitter coffee and rich velvety sweetness. The bourbon just compliments, lending oak driven tannins and just so much vanilla. This years it’s particularly spirit-forward, and seems “fudgyer” as well. The coffee is still everything, but the barrel is through the roof. Pastry stouts are the new black, but Péché bourbon is forever…
Péché Mortel – Sidama Coffee
This is the third time now that they’ve created a variant using a different coffee from the original. This time it’s a Sidama Howolso coffee bean, roasted locally at Café Saint-Henri micro-torréfacteur.
Nose is straight espresso, with lots of rich milk chocolate and some earthy notes. Milk duds and chocolate candies mix with mocha ice cream.
There is a pretty intense roast on this one, delivering some big bitterness alongside a fruity edge. Earthy beans mix with big milk chocolate and some black tea. Feels classic, but a touch thinner and more chocolatey. I prefer the original, but this is really nice regardless.
I can only imagine that playing with one of the best beers out there can be challenging. Sometimes the results are exceptional, and in other cases less so. Regardless, trying new versions of Péché makes me so happy each year, and this year the star was definitely Spicy Mexican inspired iteration.
Once again, these 4-packs will only be available on March 21st, but there is usually a good distribution around the province if you’d like to get your hands on one. As well details on all the events are right here.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest