Thursday, September 13, 2012

Brasseri Dieu Du Ciel - Aphrodite

Recently, I realized that my trips to bottleshops were taking way too long. What should have been a quick 10-15 minute perusal of a shop's offerings nearly always turned into a 30 minute+ studying of every label (often checking the scores of multiple beers on on my phone as well). So to limit my time, I came up with a classification system for breweries.

Category 1: Breweries That Can't Miss- These select few breweries are breweries that I've yet to be disappointed by. I'm a fan of 99% of the offerings I've tried. If I see a new beer in the shop from one of these breweries, chances are I'm walking out the door with that bottle. This category would include breweries like Deschutes, Alpine, Alesmith and of course Cantillon.

Category 2: Breweries That Can Miss, But Usually Don't- If I don't see a new Category 1 beer on the shelves, I'm looking for something from this group of breweries. They consistently put out decent beers, make a few outstanding ones, and put out the occasional stinker. For me, this category would include Ballast Point, Bear Republic, Stone (especially their collaborations) and Sierra Nevada.

Category 3: Breweries That Usually Miss, But Occasionally Hit The Mark- In general, I'm avoiding beer from these breweries. I've tried a few of their beers and wasn't really a fan. However, they have surprised me with at least one "Wow" beer in the past, so I'm at least checking out the label if I see a new beer from them. This category would include Firestone Walker (their barrel aged beers are fantastic, but their year round beers just aren't my thing), Rogue, Mikkeller and BrewDog.

Category 4: Breweries That Are Never Close- Staying away. Staying far, far away. Breweries include Budweiser, Miller, Coors and Pizza Beer Company.

Category 5: New To Me- These are breweries I've never seen before. To me, these beers are always worth a look and often worth a try.

It's not easy to consistently put out amazing beer, so there are very few breweries that I would consider Category 1 breweries. One brewery that, for me at least, is a no-doubter is Dieu Du Ciel.

As I've mentioned in my previous Dieu Du Ciel posts, this Quebec-based brewery puts out some amazing beers, but they are not always easy to find. I've been on a mission to try every beer that they distribute this way for a while now and there was one beer that always seemed to elude me: Aphrodite (AKA: Aphrodisiaque). Péché Mortel may be the beer that Dieu Du Ciel is best known for, but Aphrodite never seems to be far behind in the conversation. It's a stout brewed with cocoa and vanilla beans, and one that I absolutely had to try. After striking out at multiple places that carry Dieu Du Ciel's other offerings, I finally found a bottle at Bottlecraft. The hunt was over!

Aphrodite pours a thick looking black color with a thin brown head that disappears relatively quickly. For a beer that's only 6.5% ABV, I was really surprised by how dense it looked. The smell was pure dessert, with huge notes of vanilla and milk chocolate. Some subtle hints of roasted malt and anise lurked in the background.

After the massive amounts of sweetness in the smell, I was pretty surprised by all of the darker flavors in here. The first thing I picked up was a lot of roasted malt intertwined with notes of vanilla, the roast clearing having the upper hand. Later, I picked up chocolate, but it's a much darker chocolate than the smell would suggest. The finish brought some notes of charred wood and even a touch of rye. The mouthfeel was noticeably lighter than a beer like Péché Mortel, but I really didn't feel like that hurt this beer at all. Aphrodite has more than enough flavor to make up for a lighter mouthfeel. A very interesting brew and, again, another fantastic Dieu Du Ciel beer. For me, they are definitely worthy of Category 1 status.

Final Grade: A-

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 39

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