We have seen an flux of retail supply from Unibroue in Ontario over the past few years. For a long time Maudite, La Fin du Monde, and Blanche de Chambly were all available at the LCBO – but then around 2010/11 the beautiful 750ml corked bottles vanished, and we were left with only a 6 pack of Blanche de Chambly. It could have been worse, at least Maudite and La Fin du Monde (and Trois Pistoles) were, and still are available at The Beer Store in 6 packs. Then later in 2011 we got a nice surprise with the seasonal release of Unibroue 17 - an amazing beer which I have detailed with many adjectives. The 2012 version came in as well the following year, and we also got Terrible. Now it seems like we will see another seasonal large format releases in the form of a beer not produced since 2008 – Unibroue La Seigneuiale.
Originally brewed in 1995, La Seigneuriale is touted as a “Belgian Ale” – and truth be told, it is difficult to pin it into a more precise category. It is 7.5% abv, but lighter in character than a Dubbel, and darker than a Tripel. Its certainly not a Pale, Blonde or Golden, so for argument sake lets call it a Belgian Amber Ale. Sure, why not.
The La Seigneuriale comes in the classic Unibroue 750ml corked bottle. Its label is perfectly in-line with what you would expect from Unibroue, and happily, the rest of the experience with this beer is too.
I opened the bottle near 8 degrees C poured it into a branded tulip glass. As expected, even a gentle pour forced an calm eruption of foam showing off white to cream and khaki coloured bubbles that did settle into a pillowy mash of small and large ones glowing with a slight orange hue reflected from the beer. Under this 2 to 3 inches of head was a foggy sunset tinted beer with brassy oranges and a murky gold colour set deep into the glass. Certainly brighter than Maudite, and although not as light, closer to La Fin du Monde.
The aroma caught my attention right away with rich apricots. I did also note peaches, spice, vanilla, cherry candies, and plum, but the dominating note is mashed up warm apricots. All this fruit is mildly sweet with gentle spice to round it out nicely.
Much to my pleasure, the flavour on the palate followed suit. All those fruit sensations hit your tongue and engulf your senses. Crackling Belgian carbonation lightens the overall sweetness, but this beer shows round fruitiness like you would get in a baked mixed fruit crumble. There are hints of vanilla, citrus and maybe clove or cinnamon too that edge towards the back of the beer, but really I enjoyed this the most when I just let the beer do the talking and I stopped searching. Give me more fruit!
I have mentioned several times all the sweet orchard like character in this beer, but the CO2, and light to medium body help it out a lot. It’s clean, bright and lovely. At 7.5% its got great flavour and character but zero noticeable alcohol. I never felt overweighted or satiated by the beer, and can see this working really well with a wide range of foodie favourites.
La Seigneuriale is supposed to be available now at the LCBO, but I haven’t seen it in stores, or online yet. It will be very reasonable at $6.95, so keep your eyes peeled. This should prove to be a tasty summer treat, and I am willing to bet will also age well for up to 2 to 3 years.