Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!: Solstice d'Hiver Barleywine

Beer Deluxe, Federation Square (Melbourne)
A winter storm in a tulip glass; Solstice d'Hiver is as ominous as it is beautiful.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is a top Canadian brewery that accompanies its fine output with equally fine livery.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Solstice d'Hiver!

Frankly, the contents of this beer glass do a much finer job of illustrating the translated definition of "solstice d'hiver" (winter solstice) than Google's translator service ever could.  On the nose, this barleywine is profoundly boozy, telling no lies of its ABV.  Solstice d'Hiver's mouthfeel, meanwhile, is beautifully deep, warm and inviting.  The textural depth rolls along like approaching thunder, yet Solstice d'Hiver does not leave one out in the elements.  Instead, it invites one to sit by the fire in comfort, safety and shelter; away from the ferocity of the passing winter weather.

Residual sugar is prominent at first, but as the beer warms and one goes further down the glass, its bitter characteristics stride forth.  Somewhat burnt caramelised onion, mild chocolate and warm, freshly baked bread dominate the palate.  A long-lingering aftertaste of bitter dried fruit follows on; doing so a little too strongly, thereby revealing what is perhaps the only discernible flaw within what is an otherwise truly delectable beer drinking experience.

Lovers of rich winter beers would be criminally remiss if they were to overlook Solstice d'Hiver, and the same could be said for those who are looking for an introduction to the barleywine.

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