Beer Review 0016: Unibroue Éphémère (Apple)

Unibroue, a brewery located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, produces Éphémère, a fruit/vegetable beer. This beer is a white ale brewed with apple juice, curacao peels and coriander, and it has a fanciful story around it regarding a fairy that I’ll leave for you to research yourself.

Unibroue typically produces some knockout, heavy-handed brews, which makes this one a departure. Weighing in at only 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), Éphémère is considered more of a dessert beverage than a sessionable beer.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to expect with this one, as fruit/vegetable beers aren’t typically something I enjoy and I believe I’m drinking this in the wrong season (seems more appropriate for summer instead of winter). However, having had some tremendous drinks from Unibroue (see my review of La Fin Du Monde) in the past and presently being a consumer and taster of all things beer, I put this apéritif to the test on February 11.

This seems like a good spot to note that Éphémère also comes in two other “flavors:” Cassis/Black Currant and Framboise. That’s why “apple” is in parenthesis in the title of this review.

Before pouring, I made sure to turn the bottle gently upside down a couple times to make sure the yeast at the bottom of the glass distributed itself. By doing so, I was rewarded with a hazy orange/gold beer that had the sediment evenly throughout. The head was of average size and it quickly diminished into hardly anything, but the color combination was pleasing to the eye; the bright white head contrasted nicely with the golden liquid.

Just merely opening the bottle released an intense apple aroma. The apples smelled like real Granny Smith’s until I pressed my nose into the glass, where the apple aroma turned unnatural and artificial. Other than apple, the only other scent I picked up on was earth, and a very slight metallic note.

Much of the same on the palate; the apples were dominant with a hint of spice, leading to a long sour apple finish that was pleasant and refreshing. Otherwise, this beer is just water with some apple flavoring.

The apple finish does last a long time, but the beer itself is on the thin side. I could see this drink being great in the hot dog days of summer as a refresher, or perhaps served with some cheese and crackers. But regular beer drinkers beware: you won’t be impressed by this, which is sad considering the quality of beers that typically come from Unibroue.

My advice is this: There’s a place for this beer, especially if you’re trying to get someone who claims to not like beer to like it. If you’ve got somebody on the fence, and you’ve got a hot day… break Éphémère out.

Unibroue Éphémère (Apple), 70 points. Price: $2.99 US for twelve ounce bottle.

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