What do ale-ophiles drink on New Years? Why Deus Brut des Flandres of course, after all it is the champagne of beers. I have wanted to try this beer for a really long time but alas this champagne of beers had champagne prices to match. Well lo’ and behold one day it appeared on store shelves minus the hefty restaurant mark-up price and it made its way happily back to my fridge where it sat and sat and sat. A combination of anticipation and a deluded belief that the perfect special occasion had to accompany my ‘special’ beer resulted in some sort of drinking paralysis on my part… ooh I can’t watch Top Gear and sip this beer (too lowbrow), ooh I really need to dress up a bit (the beer might be watching), ooh it really must be shared so others can appreciate my discerning beer taste (at the same time wanting to maximize my tasting experience and keep it too myself …Gollum like). After many expensive therapy sessions I threw caution to the wind and popped the cork on New Years.
First a little more build up. The bottle informs me that Deus Brut des Flandres Cuvée Prestige 2008 is refermented in the bottle then ‘remuage’ and ‘degorgement’ happens in France. In non-French speak the champagne of beers has sugar and yeast added for a second fermentation during aging, after this the bottles are riddled (placed on racks at a 45 degree angle and turned daily to concentrate the sediment down into the neck of the bottle), and then the sediment (lees) is removed through a process termed disgorgement leaving the maximum amount of liquid and potentially adding even more sugar. The result? A bubbly, pale gold, translucent ale that pours with a stiff white head, which quickly dissipates. The smell is quite sweet as is the taste. It is a strong beer at 11.5% ABV but I did not notice the strength until the bottle was empty –much like real champagne. It is exceedingly drinkable, especially when it has been on ice; the sweetness is not overpowering and the carbonation makes it light and even refreshing. This beer has all the best of champagne tempered with the subtle elements of a great lager-like beer –crispness, malt and so forth. Drawbacks? Well it is a little on the pricey side but no more so than a speciality Dogfish Head or Brooklyn and it is slightly larger. Yet it still somehow feels too special to be on the regular rotation. Despite this Deus will definitely be my go-to for champagne-requiring occasions.
Out of a possible 5 I would give this beer a 5.