I gave this beer a solid 4 out of 5 pints. (CODY LOBREAU)
If you recall my bièrcation column back in April, I visited a lovely brewpub in Montreal called Dieu du Ciel, the pub had a long list of various styles of beers, staff who were not only well educated about their own beers but also could recommend a specific beer all from what sort of styles, flavours and body you wanted — something oaky, something chocolatey, something wheat, or even something light and fruity — the staff knew their beer as if they had a Bachelors in Beerology.
Dieu du Ciel is not only one of the highest-rated brewpubs in the entire world, but they’re also one of the top rated breweries in the world as well. Every year at RateBeer.com, the site’s admins select the RateBeer’s best — the best beers, brewers, bottle shops and pubs in almost every country. Out of the top 10 "Best beers in Canada", four of them are from Dieu du Ciel.
Slightly off topic — a cool tidbit is that the best beer in Canada that’s NOT from Quebec is Winnipeg’s own Half Pints’ barrel-aged stout Le Temps Noir , which was released back in February 2013 and damn — it was heaven.
As a beer geek, I was frustrated for the past six years because Canada’s best beers simply weren’t available in Manitoba. Once every couple years I would email the MLCC and ask for them to start carrying certain beers, but almost every time they would respond back that with a "There’s no way we’ll be getting that," or telling me I had to spend $120 plus deposit to purchase 24 bottles of the product. I just wanted to see the product in Manitoba, or buy a small amount, I don’t need 24, because I’m not made of money!
So what I would end up doing is getting friends like former Brandonite (now living in Regina, and storm chaser extraordinaire) Dallas Hicks to pick me up a six pack of Dieu du Ciel at private wine stores in Regina, or else trading beers with friends from Quebec.
Now, though, MLCC has finally worked with a private vendor to bring Dieu du Ciel’s beer to Manitoba for the very first time — bringing their Aphrodisiaque stout, Rosée d’Hibiscus spiced beer and Blanche du Paradis wheat ale — these come at a price as the most affordable six-pack of the three is the Blanche du Paradis for $23.82), while the other two are $25.13 for the Rosée and $28.59 for the Aphrodisiaque, but only the Blanche is available in Brandon.
Honestly, $23-plus is extremely pricy when it comes to a six-pack of beer, especially when Blanche du Paradis, Aphrodisiaque and Rosée d’Hibiscus are available at Quebec dépanneurs and IGAs for $9.99 per six-pack. That being said, I end up sucking it up and paying the full price for a six of Blanche du Paradis because frankly it’s one of the absolute best wheat ales I’ve ever had. Oh boy, Cody reviews what seems to be the eighth wheat ale in a row!
The very first time I ever tried Blanche du Paradis (known to me as Wheat from Paradise) was thanks to my friend Dallas; he brought by a six-pack on a very hot and summer-like St. Patrick’s Day 2012 — AKA the first and only St Patrick’s Day where I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts in Manitoba, ever!
Blanche du Paradis is your standard Belgian-style wheat ale, it’s unfiltered as the amazing brewmasters intended it to be, a rich orange and cloudy hue that’s reminiscent of a breakfast time mimosa and a beer I’ve had in my dreams ever since I last had one two years ago.
It is subtlety sweet with notes of orange peels, a truck load of coriander, lemon zest, Belgian yeast. It has a bit of a boozey background to it, but at only 5.5 per cent ABV, it’s on par with most witbiers on the market right now. While I generally wouldn’t spend $25-ish for a six pack of beer, this beer to me is true to its name, it’s a wheat ale from paradise, it’s sweet, very parfumic, you can small and taste the oranges used to brew it and with the combination of lemon peels makes me sip on this beer quicker than I wish I did, because I can’t afford a second sixer.
At $23.82 per 341mL six pack, it’s much more expensive than I would like. Heck, a 12 of Unibroue is $26-ish before tax. That being said, sometimes you have to pay for quality and for beer that generally isn’t available in Manitoba.
If Dieu du Ciel’s beers prove to be popular in Manitoba, but seeing that nearly every pub in town now has Budweiser Shock Top instead of Rickard’s White on tap, I’m going to spend the evening with a six of Blanche du Paradis instead — money well spent.
The only MLCC you will be able to find this at is the 10th & Victoria location.
I recommend this for the Rickard’s Fans, the Hoegaarden fans, the guys and gals who miss a taste of Quebec, and especially those who want to treat themselves to a true Quebec beer.
Santé mes amis!
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 2, 2014