Food Liquids

Review: Unibroue Éphémère Blackcurrant

Unibroue Éphémère Blackcurrant, which pours a lovely pink in the glass ... if you can get the bottle open.

I’ve sampled quite a few of Unibroue’s Ephemere fruit beers over the years, and they’ve always been worth the price of admission. I have vague memories of a raspberry Ephemere and a peach Ephemere, but the main one I know and love is the apple variety, which has been available in Alberta for at least the past several years. One of my favourite Edmonton hang-outs, The Sugarbowl, also had it on tap for some time.

I’d heard they had a blackcurrant flavour available, so I eagerly bought a bottle when I spotted one at the Garneau-area Liquor Depot.

The Look: A giant 750 mL bottle that looks like something that came from the stores on a pirate ship. It’s corked, not capped, so you have to remove the cage and gently ease out the cork. (Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to remove the cork. But cool packaging isn’t always convenient, is it?) It looks like something special. In the glass, it pours a cloudy pink, a bit like Fruli. There’s lots of foam, and the head is ample, with a pinkish white tone to it.

The Unibroue Éphémère Blackcurrant bottle looks like it was plundered from a pirate ship, doesn't it?


The Aroma: Tart, dusty, juicy blackcurrant.

The Taste: The distinctive yeast profile stands out, with a tart blackcurrant flavour that fills the mouth. Not as juicy as I was hoping it would be. Some astringent bitterness, plenty of sour, a touch of sweetness that emerges before being buried in tartness. The Unibroue tasting notes mention lemon zest and tea, but any tea I’m tasting is faint. A curious brew.

Thanks for the Memories: This is going to sound strange, but it’s got a characteristic Unibroue taste that instantly brings me back to my time spent living near Lac St-Jean, making runs for Maudite at the dépanneur.

Pairs With: Some kind of berry-filled cheesecake to balance out the dessert’s sweetness. Flavourful cheese and crackers. It’s not an easy pairing.

The standard Unibroue cage and cork on the top of their big bottles. It's a pain to remove, but you feel like you've accomplished something when you get the bottle open.


Cost: $7.49 for a 750 mL bottle at Liquor Depot.

Value for cash money: Expensive. A special treat, not an everyday beer.

Availability: Limited. Currently on tap at the Sugarbowl for the summer!

Nutrition?: It’s beer.

Beerish power: 5.5 % a.b.v.

The verdict: Not my favourite Ephemere brew, but good. An occasional treat.

The Unibroue Éphémère Blackcurrant label looks very similar to other Éphémère labels, so make sure you're picking up the right bottle at the liquor store.


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