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 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.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
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.