Beer: Ce N’est Pas La Fin du Monde
Brewery: Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec)
Style: IPA – Belgian
9.5% ABV / 50 IBU
Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde is arguably the best of the Quebec brewery’s core line-up of beers, a boozy but well-balanced Belgian tripel with bold caramel and candy sugar notes. Ce N’est Pas La Fin du Monde presents a crafty spin on a beloved brew, with some subtle enhancements that transform the Belgian tripel base into more of a West Coast style IPA. But it’s a Belgian style beer that hop-heads will enjoy drinking, and pleasurable enough to convince Belgian bar hounds to venture out a bit further from that style. There is, quite literally, something for everyone with this beer.
The hallmarks of the Belgian tripel style are present in e N’est Pas La Fin du Monde. In addition to the aforementioned caramel and candy sugar nose, there’s a nicely pungent clove flavor and a bunch of “botanical” notes. As goofy as it sounds, the Belgian brewing tradition has always been closely connected to all of the elements—the kind of thing that triggers the most powerful sense memories. So, there’s absolutely one foot in the Old World with this offering, along with a potent nod to modern sensibilities with a mix of hops favored by American brewers: Simcoe, Galaxy, Cascade and Willamette.
The result is dank, but not too dank, and bitter in an appealing way. The combination of hops adds notes of honeysuckle and tropical fruit on the nose, plus a very little bit of ripe cantaloupe. But the deal with Ce N’Est Pas La Fin du Monde is that it’s very much a Belgian tripel as you swig it, and its IPA-ness is all in its moderate head/carbonation and its slightly bitter finish. It’s a wonderful foray for Unibroue into the world of higher-gravity IPAs, and a wonderfully drinkable beer relative to its ABV and IBUs. At present writing, Ce N’est Pas La Fin du Monde is available in four-packs and 750 ml bomber bottles, but Unibroue would be wise to step up distribution and give Ce N’est Pas La Fin du Monde the spotlight, It’s a scene-stealer in its own right.
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