These Dieu de Ciel! beers are fun to blog, as they are often over the top with flavor, crazy Canadians that they are. If they say their beer is brewed with coffee (Peche Mortel), then yes, that coffee is right there up in your face. It can be annoying when a beer is brewed with allspice, pistachios, powdered bat guano, eye of newt and toe of frog, yet when you taste it, you can’t pick out a damned thing. This is not usually the case with Dieu de Ciel!.
I have in front of me Route Des Epices, (“Spice Route”) a 5.3% ABV rye beer brewed with black and green peppercorns. Beer Advocate is calling it a Rye Beer, while Ratebeer says it’s in the Spiced/Herb/Vegetable category. Either sounds reasonable to me – with both rye malt and peppercorns, there should be some noticeable spiced character.
Poured into a goblet, it’s darker than I would have expected – it looks like an amber ale, with a subsiding thin cap that nevertheless leaves a little foam island in the middle of the glass. I’m getting raisins, molasses and some clove in the nose; almost an aroma that might be expected from a Belgian abbey dubbel.
On the palate, it starts off on that Belgian kick with some faint grape bubble gum, but that quickly gives way to a sharp jolt of freshly ground black pepper. The long finish is even more pungent, bringing some heat and a ghost-like smokiness that would lead me to believe that chipotle peppers are in here. There are none, but it gives that impression. Perhaps it’s just the toasty character of the rye malt interacting with the peppercorns. Oddly enough, even further in the aftertaste, I come full circle and start finding a little impression of grape bubble gum again.
The rye malt backbone is substantial, very nearly contributing something that could almost be called sweetness. At 5.3%, I don’t feel this beer at all, but due to the full flavor profile and relatively thick body, this one drinks bigger than it is. Plus, the spiciness is actually making me hot, to the point where I’m going to need a shower after I finish writing this.
Cool beer. I’m thinking Mexican or BBQ is a good pairing…pork carnitas? Or maybe a jalapeno jack burger. If you want to pick one up, give Total Wine or Stop & Shop Ponce a look.