Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Afternoon Beer: Blanche du Paradis

Beautiful thing about being happily unemployed is that Monday afternoons are the same as Friday nights. Don't tell my girlfriend though, she thinks I'm reading Lipset, Horowitz, and Said.

I've been a bit lazy when it comes to beer news in Onterrible, and so failed to tell everyone about a big Dieu du Ciel promotion in the province. Dieu du Ciel, a brewpub in Montreal, is probably the best commercial brewery in the country. Take a look at the link above and check your local LCBO's online inventory for any stock. They're all good beers. Peche Mortal, an imperial coffee stout, is widely considered the best beer in Canada. Corne du Diable is a wonderful Canadian IPA. Aphrodite was an epiphany beer for me when I had it at the Montreal beer festival this year.

Today I'm going with something new for me, DDC's take on the delicate wit, Blanche du Paradis. Wit beers, if you'll pardon the expression, broke my good beer cherry. Unfortunately we don't get many good examples in Ontario. Blanche du Chambly from Unibroue is probably the best made, and I'm not a big Unibroue fan. The wit is the classic Belgian wheat beer. It has little resemblance, aside from maybe colour, to its German cousin the Hefeweizen. I said delicate above, and that, I think, is the perfect description for a wit. These are light refreshing beers, but they're incredibly full-flavoured. We're talking about a barnyard wheat base, dusty Belgian yeast, zippy coriander spicing, and bittering citrus from orange peel. The best ones blend all these flavours perfectly on top of a nice chewy, I like to say cookie dough, malt base.

Blanche du Paradis
Dieu du Ciel

Looks like a wit should. A very light straw. Hazy. Snow white head balloons up and settles quickly.

Strong spicing on this example. A nose full of coriander first, followed by some mellow tangerine. Also a noticeable bitterness that suggests some heavier than usual hopping unless it's coming from the spices.

It's that odd bitterness right up front. There's a really unique herbal character to this beer. You can feel those nice rounded flavours, but they're lingering behind heavy spicing. There's a real out-of-place bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is right. This should be a smooth, lightly-carbonated beer.

An interesting example. I think I enjoy it more than the Chambly from Unibroue, and it's certainly better than Hoegaarden, but I wouldn't buy it by the case. Worth a try. Do a blind tasting with the other two and even include the Keiths' and Rickards' examples for a real learning experience.


  1. My aggressive inculcation into the beers of Unibroue involved a night of drinking games back in my young wayward years. When I ran out of the usual cheap fare, I decided, quite quixotically and stupidly, to use La Fin Du Monde.

    Btw, Hoptical Illusion intrigued many of my family members, and I really like how the taste was fairly crisp. It didn't seem like the hops was too overbearing.

    September seems to be the month of transition, so I think I will take your lead and enjoy the last of the summer beers. On a random note, Drinkvine has become very handy.

  2. Yikes! Many Unibroue beers aren't for the faint-hearted... and that includes me I suppose. Their house yeast strain is very distinctive and I can't say I'm very fond of it.

    No Hoptical is in the tradition of a Canadian pale ale. I think anyway. The notion of a Canadian style of anything offends people, beer geeks included, but there are beers that hover between English and American styles and I think Hoptical is one of them.