UNIBROUE by: Joyce Campisi
This month Nightwire had the pleasure of meeting Bernard Johnson, Unibroue Regional Sales Manager. His knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm for Unibroue are outstanding! I must tell you, I have sampled many craft beers, however, my number one all time ultimate favorite is the Blanche de Chambly. It is the best of the best when it comes to craft Belgian beers! Bernard shared with us that in 1994 Galli Distributing right here in Pittsburgh, PA became the first wholesale in the country to have the rights to carry Unibroue. Unibroue is now carried in 48 states. Unibroue proudly boasts eight core brands of Belgian style beers, plus seasonals and special releases.
The history of Unibroue is very uniquie and from the very beginning, Unibroue carved out a special niche in the beer world with top quality products and a brand rooted deep in Quebec culture. It made history by becoming the first North American beer maker to use a brewing method inspired by the two-centuries-old tradition developed by Trappist monks in Europe—particularly in Belgium. Over the years, Unibroue has remained faithful to its origins even as it has grown to become an icon of the brewing world.
The Unibroue adventure began in 1990, when André Dion and Serge Racine decided to vie for a share of the fast-growing craft beer market. Mindful of the competition, their goal was to create a different product with strong consumer appeal. They became majority shareholders of La Brasserie Massawippi, a financially troubled Lennoxville brewery.
André Dion and Serge Racine finalized their acquisition of La Brasserie Massawippi in late 1991 and merged with Unibroue in early 1992. The new company immediately established itself as a specialty brewer. Mr. Dion became the President and CEO, and Mr. Racine sat on the Board of Directors.
Unibroue partnered with a Belgian brewer specializing in beer on lees and made history with the launch of Blanche de Chambly—North America’s first abbey beer. That same year, Quebec singer-songwriter Robert Charlebois became one of Unibroue’s major partners. In 1993, Unibroue moved to a new, cutting-edge microbrewery in Chambly, Quebec. The brewery gradually started to build its export capacity by developing a distribution network throughout Quebec and across Canada.
To craft Unibroue beers, they draw inspiration from the great brewing traditions developed over the last two centuries by Trappist monks in Europe—particularly in Belgium. Their beers preserve all their protein and part of their yeast, making them truly worth savoring. Unibroue beers are truly some of the finest crafts beers in the market today.
All Unibroue products are made using a combination of the same basic ingredients: water, malted barley, malted wheat, wheat, yeast, hops, sugar, fruit, and spices. Our products are brewed using a traditional bottle fermentation method in which fresh yeast and pure sugar are added just before bottling. They are only partially filtered, which is what gives them their distinct appearance and natural cloudiness. This brewing method results in strong, intensely flavored and highly effervescent beers. It is almost exactly the same process used to make champagne. The only difference is that while the lees is extracted from champagne using a local cooling process, it is left to settle at the bottom of our bottles once the natural fermentation and saturation (carbonation) process is complete. This process requires strict quality controls because the addition of chemical additives or preservatives would kill the yeast. It is this method that produces the distinctive Unibroue flavor
Masterbrewer Jerry Vietz has been with Unibroue since 2003… “I tell people I make “flavorful beers”—that’s the category I brew. For me, the important thing is to express myself through the beer. I brew with passion and I hope that people take as much pleasure to taste my beer as I have to create them!”
Unibroue Beer Sommelier Sylvain Bouchard has been with the brewery for over a decade. With his thorough understanding of their brewing method and the unique features of each of their products, he shares the secrets of the taster’s art and teaches us how to master beer and food pairings. Sylvain believes that truly appreciating a beer requires not only all the senses, but also a willingness to hear what the beer has to say. Although the concept of a beer sommelier has been around for years in the U.S., it is still relatively new to Canada. At Unibroue, their Beer Sommelier plays a critical role by training, educating, and sharing his passion with consumers and brewing professionals alike. Visit their website to hear about the legends of the brews, the stories are fascinating and so well told by Sylvain.
Blanche de Chambly – pronounced Blansh-day-shahm-blee – pale golden Belgian white ale. It has a subtle bouquet of spices, citrus notes, coriander and cloves with a medium body and 5% ABV. This beer is light and refreshing is best served with white meats, white fishes and salads.
Ephenere Apple – pronounced – F-eh-mear – white ale brewed with apple must. It has a mouth-watering bouquet of Granny Smith apples, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon with a 5.5% ABV. These delicious flavors are best served with cheddar cheese, pork chops, mussels and fruit salads. Be sure and go to their website to learn more about the fairy and the legend of this brew.
Maudite – pronounced – Moe-deet – strong amber-red ale. It has a robust malt flavor and aroma of spices and floral hops with a 8% ABV. This robust malty amber beer is best served with pasta dishes, pizza, pork tenderloin, chorizo and stews.
La Fin du Monde – pronounced – La-fin-do-mahnd – triple-style golden ale with a 9% ABV. This brew has complex aromas of fruit,nuts, malt and yeast and one of the only Unibroue triple wheats. Best served with game meats, onion soups, Asian cuisine and curry dishes.
Don De Dieu – pronounced – Don-day-due – triple wheat ale with an orange-golden hue. It has a complex aromas of fruit, nuts, malt and yeast, 10.5 ABV. One of the only triple wheat’s best served with game meats, onion soups, Asian cuisine and curry dishes.
Trois Pistules – pronounced – Twa-pee-stole – abbey style strong dark ale with a 9% ABV. The strong malt flavor, roasted aromas with chocolate, brown rum and spice with its hint of coffee caramel chocolate where beer and port wine meets, best served with meats, cheese and desserts.
Terrible – pronounced – Tear-reeb-lay – abby style with a black, chestnut color and a 10.5% ABV. This beer has notes of fruits, spices and rich madeira wine. This dark well balanced ale is best served with brisket, meats, chocolate chip cookies and desserts.
Unibroue 17 – extra strong dark ale with a dark amber color and a 10% ABV. It has a complex bouquet of malt, hops, spice notes and vanilla undertones. It has a mocha middle with an oak finish best served with braised beef, pork loin, venison and dark chocolate.
Unibroue is located in Canada – 80 Des Carrières Rue Chambly, QC, Canada
+1 450-658-7658. For more information and videos on the legends and history of Unibroue visit www.unibroue.com