Ho ho ho! Christmas has come and gone, New Years is close by and we all sit here contemplating and reminiscing about the events that just passed. So as the brutality that is the Montreal winter is in full swing, all I can really do is think about the spring and the past fall. I wish that for even just one fleeting second the Ghost of Christmas Past could carry my back to October. Well I guess that’s just a story, I can however travel back in time to drink some Auval! The beauty of certain beers is their ability to age. The characteristics of certain beers although facilitate aging, are also suggested to be consumed fresh. I usually try to snag at least two bottles of a beer when it’s released for the purpose of fresh and aged consumption so that I may compare the two. Auval’s Grisette #3 I can safely say has some great ageing ability. It almost tasted the same to me after 6 months time, which isn’t a bad thing. Ageing doesn’t always ave to development in characters but often does in one way or another. Although that is usually where the fun starts for some of us beer geeks, the reasons many of us age beer is because it presents us with a varied and new experience on beers that we absolutely adore! And well… because we often buy too much beer to handle and our cellars start to look like our local Depanneur. Depanneur HopCitizen opening soon in LaSalle. Not really though. From the fantastic offerings below only one has been consumed fairly fresh and then compared to an almost 1 year old bottle. Since Auval can be tough to get a hold of at releases and even a bit tough to trade for sometimes, I could only manage these goodies much later on. And once I had them sitting and waiting, it was time for an evening of Auval. So let us enjoy a trip to the past with these Fantastic Beasts.
Sour/Wild Ale || ABV: 5.1% || IBU: –
Bottled: June 23, 2016 || Drank: Dec 20, 2016
Aroma has a great Hill Farmstead style saison. I can smell the aromas of the tartness with some grand notes of funk. Taste is very light and not too tart or sour as the nose may suggest. Has some great funk character that comes through which dominates the beer. It is very easy to drink and the great funk, oak flavor and earthy woody characters make this beer a delight to drink down and one of the few beers out of Quebec to come close to the Hill Farmstead style. What stands out to me more than the taste is that fantastic nose! Not a very strong impact on the flavors, very mellow but enjoyable and light.
Sour/Wild Ale || ABV: 6.2% || IBU: –
Bottled December 8 2015 || Drank: March 22, 2016 + November 26, 2016
The aroma gives off very light sour. I can live in fear that it’ll be really sour and strong, but I’m hoping it’s not. The Framboese was great, very fruity but had an amazing oak age sense to it that mixed in quiet well. The Aronia is not sour at all, has a crazy sour after kick, but it doesn’t hit you with a crazy amount of sour like some beers do. It’s a very light mellow sour and very easy going. As a fruit sour I’d much rather prefer something like this that’s a bit more light on the sour, and is mild fruity. Anything that would be overly fruity or overly sour would be too intense for me and not my cup o tea. The Aronia is very nice, very smooth, very well balanced between sour and fruity.
After letting it age for one year I decided to give it another shot and to my surprise it wasn’t as impactful as the first experience. The aromas seem to have maintained relatively the same as before, however the taste seemed to have dulled a decent amount. All the flavours are still there but even lighter than previously, creating an overall experience that is’nt terrible, but is not leaving a large impact. My suggestions would be to drink this beer within 6 months. The suggested drink by date was within 1 years time.
Sour/Wild Ale || ABV: 6.8% || IBU: –
Bottled: June 10, 2016 || Drank: Dec 20, 2016
Cherry in a saison has always been a strong pull for me, mixing in cherries into a saison style beer always seems to leave a long lasting impact on my taste buds and it is a feeling I absolutely adore. The aroma has a very nice sour fruity kick and the taste is a wonderful explosion of fruits, a mellow mid point sour and a strong acidic end.
The acidity is pretty bold and strong, which can generally be too much to bare for me. However, the acidity is still manageable and is aiding the beers flavors from really shining further. The fruits are prominent but still a tad mellow. It is an amazing beer! Lovely combination of flavors. The oak on this one is a bit more mellow, but this beer is fully focused on the fruits and the sour, which taste absolutely wonderful! It’s a lovely flavorful beer!
The beauty of Auval brewing as is the case with Hill Farmstead, is the delicate care that goes into brewing. This delicate care can be tasted body and soul when you sip down some of the absolutely wonderful offerings from Auval. Still a young brewery from Quebec, but with an impact that is larger than life! I am excited to see what Auval comes up with in 2017! This will be my final post for the year 2016, so I say to all Happy New Year! Lets enjoy another year of beer, of releases, of breweries, and of course continue to do it responsibly! Cheers!
Be sure to check out my other Auval articles in this series!
Written by HopCitizen. Photography by HopCitizen.