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September 8, 2012 - BeerMistress
I am a sucker for a good pun. And when I saw a beer called “Terrible” sitting on the shelf at my local beer store, I thought to myself… “that takes some nerve.” I mean, face it- there are FAR too many ways for people to say that this beer lives up to its name. I’m hoping that Unibroue brewery from Quebec , Canada has a sense of humor, and are just making a conversation piece out of the name.
You know there is only one way to find out.
Some of you may know that I’m an actor. I was away from home during the Super Bowl for a large regional audition, and did not have the chance to watch the Big Game. Well, I am home now, and when I realized that my angel of a husband DVR’d the Super Bowl for me- I thought that it’s time to break open a beer and order some pizza. Now is a great moment to pop open some Terrible beer. Thanks Unibroue!
This dark ale is slightly challenging to pour. Don’t be distracted or you’ll end up with more head than you want. If you focus, and tilt your glass the way a good brewer taught you, it’ll settle beautifully and leave a small (1/4″) head on the top. And there it sits until it’s time to drink. I love that I can sit it down and walk away… when I come back, my beer still looks delicious and inviting.
The color is hard to describe. It’s dark. Almost black really. There’s still a little warmth to it but ultimately, it’s opaque as can be. Not cloudy, it’s good and crisp, definitive dark color. And the smell? Lighter than I expected for a 10.5%ABV Abbey-style ale. I’d say there’s a light, fresh smell to it with a hint of coriander and bay leaves. I am excited to sip.
It’s thick but it isn’t heavy. For being so dark, there is a good bit of carbonation and the finish is definitely smokey. I’ll admit that it’s confusing my senses a little bit. I thought this would be a solid winter beer, and it is definitely dark enough to be. It’s also meaty and substantial enough to stand up to some seriously strong foods. At the same time, the layers of flavor in this beer aren’t all heavy. The initial flavor is mildly bitter, but that doesn’t last. It moves quickly to the middle of your tongue with a warm black cherry and slight citrus flavor. Citrus? In a beer this dark? I’d be skeptical if you told me that in advance, but with the spices that hit the back of your throat, it works. And then the creamy, smokey finish makes it almost a well-balanced meal.
Congratulations Unibroue- your beer is far from Terrible! I’m not sure why you chose that name, and if I could read French, your website might tell me. Google Translator gave me some insights into your French Canadian selves, but I have much research to do before I’d say I’m well-versed in your history and brewing philosophy.
The verdict? This beer is NOT Terrible! It’s actually quite good, and a way better representation of Canadian beer than something widespread like a Molson or Labatt Blue. It is also a fantastic conversation piece, so next time you need a hostess gift, instead of a bottle of wine, grab a Terrible Beer… you’ll be talking about it all night.
How Good Is A Beer Called- Terrible?