Sunday, September 19, 2010
An evening with Dieu du Ciel! at Bar Volo
While Toronto Beer Week is looming just around the corner, Bar Volo got things started a little early this past week. The brewers and founders of Dieu du Ciel! were in Toronto this week to officially celebrate the release of Dieu du Ciel! into the LCBO as part of their brewery feature. The Dieu du Ciel! crew were at various establishments in Toronto with fresh kegs of beer which include everything that is part of the release plus a bunch of other stuff. So, there were a bunch of meet and greets, a pub crawl and a brunch this afternoon at Beerbistro but last night was the main event - 10 kegs of Dieu du Ciel! alongside 2 Bar Volo/Biergotter collaboration casks.
I got to Volo around 6 pm and things were running just a touch late so I mingled with the other beer geeks outside a little bit and met a bunch of people who I had only talked to on Bar Towel and Beer Advocate. Its nice to be able to put some faces to names (or online nicknames anyway).
So we got in and got our sample tickets and programs and headed to the bar to sample some of the offerings. The first thing that I tried was Rigor Mortis, a Belgian style quad. It poured a deep caramel colour that was similar to a barley wine with a half-inch of tan head that started to leave lacing on the glass right away. It smelled similar to any Belgian quad with a forward presence of citrus and belgian yeast that left a lingering scent of alcohol in the back. It had a sweet malty taste up front with a little caramel present that was followed by a bitter yeast that complimented the sweet characters of this brew quite nicely. The mouthfeel was quite creamy with a medium to full body leaning more towards medium. This was very nice fresh and I feel that it could improve a great deal with some age on it. Another thing to note about this is that once it starts to warm the complexity really opens up here. Its going to be nice to see this on LCBO shelves in the coming months.
After Rigor Mortis I decided that I wanted to try something hoppy and seeing that the fine people at Dieu du Ciel! brought an Imperial India Pale Ale this was a no brainer. Chaman looks very similar to Corne Du Diable, their regular IPA, from the colour to the head they were indentical on looks alone. They even smelled similar although Chaman has a little more of a pine scent to it. It tastes very, very malty up front and the hops don't reveal themselves until the finish. It is drinkable and in many ways very good but to me, personally, the ABV of 9.1% was very noticeable and overall fell short of my expectations.
Now even though I was slightly let down by Chaman the next two offerings that I tried were fantastic. Aphrodite - this is the beer that due to label issues has not made it to LCBO shelves yet even though it was to be released as part of the feature. This cocoa vanilla stout pours a nearly jet black colour with a tan and white head on top. It smells strongly of vanilla bean and chocolate with coffee hanging around the back. The taste of this beer was unreal...I'm not kidding either. At first its all smoked vanilla, then chocolate and coffee and then vanilla again - and that is just in a single sip. It has a light body that is very milky and drinks like a dream. This stout is outstanding and will not last long once it makes its way into the LCBO.
I also tried Grand Noirceur, a russian imperial stout that was described to me as Peche Mortel without all the coffee. Now let me just say that if you describe any beer to me as similar to Peche Mortel I am going to be interested. It's jet black with a tan brownish head and smells of chocolate and coffee. The taste is all earthy chocolate with notes of coffee that come across in its finish. It is unbelievably balanced and very drinkable and the alcohol is hidden very well here. Overall a great imperial stout.
This was a great night overall and anyone who was there will tell you the same. The beer was fantastic the atmosphere was great and the smoked meat sandwiches catered by Caplansky's were to die for. This is the kind of event you know is going to be amazing before you even get there. The best brewery in Montreal comes together with the best bar in Toronto - it doesn't get any better than that.