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The Weekly Beer Geek: A Tout le Monde

A Tout le Monde- Saison Ale
Unibroue Brewing
$4.29/Bottle (12 oz)
Grade: C-

 

The Beginning:
I’m home from vacation and my current status is sunburnt, mosquito-ravaged, groggy from junk food and sleeping in unfamiliar places, mildly hung over, and thoroughly unwilling to return to work. Oh I know! Let’s sit down and review a beer! Beer will help me be at my best tomorrow! At least this one talks about death on the label.

The Brewer’s Pitch:
A Tout le Monde translates to “For Everybody,” which seems like a strangely welcoming phrase to put on a beer label containing a demon skull robot but is actually the title of a Megadeth song. Dave Mustaine is friends with Unibroue’s brewmaster Jerry Vietz, and the two paid homage to “the most popular hard rock song to feature a chorus sung entirely in French” and to Quebec’s role in the heavy metal scene with this beer.  Coincidentally, the beer is a mild saison with light dry hopping and delicate spice that is Unibroue’s lowest-potency beer at only 4.5% ABV, so it sort of is for everybody.

The Beer:
A Tout le Monde pours hazy dark gold with a champagne head that quickly rises in fluff and then dissipates. The nose is a faintly stale spicy funk with hints of damp hops and coriander. It’s extremely light on the tongue with a light carbonation tingle that helps it go down quick and easy. At first blush there’s a slightly sweet-tart blush of granny smith apples. This is quickly overtaken by a dusty grain-like flavor of wet straw in an old barn, hints of sweetgrass and of musty age. Of the standard set of saison spices, the only one really coming through is a faint hint of coriander and possibly the barest breath of clove- as it warms, though, hints of juicy orange begin to come through and leave a sweet note along with the light hoppy aftertaste.

The Breakdown:
This beer really feels like “My first Saison,” which is a shame coming from Unibroue. They usually go way further afield than this, and have given me some delightful beers. This, on the other hand, seems like it was afraid to be too interesting. The essential character is there- the light texture, the straw and dust notes evocative of a farm, the herbal coriander, the orange. It’s all so muted, though, that none of it really impresses my palate. It’s low alcohol, but that shouldn’t be an excuse- there’s plenty of beers that have lots of flavor without wrecking too many brain cells. The cynical side of me wonders if this was designed as a non-threatening offering for fans of Megadeth who may not be fans of craft beers; at over $4 a bottle I can’t recommend it.

The Bottom Line:
You can tell I’m in full post-American-holiday letdown mode when I review a beer from Canada.

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