Beer Olympics

Beer Olympics – Day Four

Country: Canada
Beer: Maudite from Unibroue

As far as I know, Quebec brewer Unibroue are no longer exporting to Australia (something to do with a decision made by new owner Sapporo, I think). So you can imagine my surprise when I walked into a bottle shop in Wollongong’s south and found a shelf in their beer fridge full of Unibroue.
We’re talking Maudite, La Fin Du Monde and Terrible. I was so impressed I bought a few bottles for myself and then called my brother, who was distraught when he found out they’d ceased importing them here. He headed down from Sydney ASAP and bought himself a mixed case of the stuff.
There are still a few bottles at the shop, but I’m keeping mum on the exact location so as to save them for myself. Yes, I am a bastard.
Anyway a few days ago I was flicking through my Oxford Companion to Beer and found an explanation of the odd label image on Maudite (which translates into ‘‘Damned’’). It features a devil and a flying canoe which never made sense to me. But it’s apparently based on an old folk story about some lumberjacks trying to get back home in time for the holidays.
They conjure up the devil – as you do – and pledge their souls in exchange for making their canoe fly them all the way back home (why they didn’t just ask the devil to just magic them and their canoe home and skip the flying is beyond me).
Anyway one of the lumberjacks went back on his pledge and invoked the name of God, which caused the flying canoe to become a falling canoe and they all presumably karked it. And then went straight to hell. What a sucky deal – sell your soul in order to get home and then die before you actually get home.
This is the first time I’ve tried a Maudite and I’ll say it’s a damn (see what I did there?) fine beer. Drinking it out of a Trois Pistoles chalice (one of two my brother got from the bottle shop for buying  a case of the stuff), I found it reminds me of a Belgian ale, but a milder version without the ever-present alcohol burn.
It’s a really smooth and silky beer, with an immense sense of balance. There’s stewed fruit, malt alcohol, some spiciness and hop bitterness at the back end. But you have to really work to find those individual flavours, because they all meld together well to make a seamless, beautiful beer.
Would I drink it again?: You bet – as long as there’s still some bottles left next time I head to that secret spot.

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