Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires - Weizen Imperiale

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires - Weizen Imperiale

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Imperial Weizen

Country:

Canada

Alcohol by Volume:

10.00%

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires - Weizen Imperiale

  • Alcohol by Volume: 10.00%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 40-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Weizen Glass
The label on the back of this Summer 2009 vintage ale proclaims this to be the world’s first—and still greatest—imperial wheat beer. Weizen Imperiale fills the glass with the haze of a humid summer sunrise and liquid caramel colors supporting a luscious, creamy beige head. There are some very unusual tart berry notes—reminiscent of cranberries—on the nose. The year or more spent in the bottle has mellowed this imperial wheat beer quite a bit—the big notes of cloves and bananas you might expect in a massive wheat beer have mellowed and made room for musty notes of fresh green tea, sinuous elements of herbal tea, big honey sweetness, and exotic, unfamiliar fruitiness make up the rest of the bouquet. Expect the first sips to completely coat the palate in a dressing of sweet, fruity malts. Tart berry notes then surge and open things up a bit for some bitterness to wash in. Look for a wonderful belly warming right off the bat (not unexpected for a beer that is 20 proof). Our panel felt the beer blossomed fully at 50°F, despite the high alcohol content, where it fully realized the depths of flavor that it has to offer. At that temperature, there’s definitely some heat from the alcohol, but it makes for a nice nightcap or reminder that this is not a beer to be gulped. Finishes with boozy, fruity notes, residual brown sugar sweetness, notes of vanilla bean, and a moderate bitterness. Throughout the flavor profile from first sip to full warmth, look for notes of cranberries, peach, banana, unripe apricot, green plantain, overripe mandarin orange, cranberry and lingonberry. If you ever visit IKEA, make it a point to hit up the café and grab a plate of Swedish meatballs, smothered in lingonberry jam. Fill a clean glass from your discreetly stashed flask filled with this beer, or, make the dish yourself at home (you can buy the meatballs frozen at IKEA, and can also take home some lingonberry jam, where you can pair with this beer without reprisal of drinking in public). If you don’t want to go the whole IKEA route, pair with roasted duck with a cranberry glaze. When served with food, serve the beer closer to 40°F since this will tame the alcohol and make for a more balanced pairing.
Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers Microbrewery) was founded in 2004, and while they focus on creating traditional German-style beers, they definitely have applied their own North American treatment. As you'll find in the Weizen Imperiale featured this month, they're not afraid to mix tradition with creative interpretation. Part of their flexibility in this regard lies in their approach to brewing; as head brewer Jonathan Lafortune states himself, "I don't come from the microbiology branch of brewing, I'm more like a chef in a kitchen. The recipes come from my senses, my heart and my passions. I'm an Epicurean." So then, who are the three musketeers? It’s a bit complicated… Like the heroes of Alexandre Dumas, there are in fact four of them. Jonathan we've already mentioned, though he wasn't actually onboard at the start—he joined the brewery about seven months after it was founded, as the fourth musketeer. While not technically one of the founding musketeers, his coming on board so early permitted him to develop all the beer recipes they currently brew. Sylvain Plourde, Daniel Pion and a third fellow (the original brewer who introduced Jonathan into the mix, and later left the company) were the original three "musketeers" who founded the brewery in June of 2004. The three were coworkers at the famous Imperial Tobacco Montreal. However, when the company closed its Montreal branch in June of 2003, they were all out of work. Right around the same time, they got word of a brewery for sale and decided to take the plunge into the brewing industry. These days, Sylvain handles the accounting and Daniel helps with the production and brewing process. From what Jonathan tells us, these two are mechanical geniuses—they built their own bottling line!? (Anyone who's in the brewing field or has seen these complex machine-beasts in action will realize what a feat of technical mastery this is.) The “new” fourth musketeer is a fellow named Patrice (we didn't get a last name), who is actually the brewery's first "employee," serving in the sales capacity along with Jonathan and Daniel. Like many brewers, Jonathan Lafortune got his start in brewing as a beer connoisseur. He wanted to improve his skills in tasting the nuances of beer, so he took to homebrewing to expand his knowledge of ingredients and flavors. His entry into professional brewing happened when his friend, the original Les Trois Mousquetaires brewer, asked him if he wanted to brew professionally—he said yes, and got in on the gig. And we have to say, having gone from homebrewer to professional brewer in such a short span of time, this guy's got a real gift. In the past three years, he's created about three dozen beers, ranging from weizenbock to Sticke ("secret") Alt, smoked Scotch ale, and some claim he created a new style known as “Imperial Weizen.” Most of these beers have only been made available on draft at area bars, which makes this month’s feature even more exciting since it’s a 2009 Vintage beer that’s been in the bottle for over a year!
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