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the best beer I've ever had

It rolled over my tongue in a sudden rainbow of flavors, like i Was being led on a slow motion color wheel across the globe. So far beyond my past experiences with beer that I knew it instantly: this was the best beer of my life. Place: Baie St. Paul, about 1.5 -2 hours north of Quebec City.
I had the amber first, and then the blanche. both remarkably wild and rich.
I took two bottles home with me to Los Angeles, and have no idea what occasion will be special enough to crank them out.

If anyone has ever had these beers and has any recommendations for similar brews that can be found in the US, please let me know.

(until this point, I had gone through a couple of best beer experiences: Duvel on tap in Amsterdam at the Bimhius; Leffe Blonde all over; my friend's homebrew IPAs, etc. This takes tghe cake, though the one experience that was comparable was the first taste of Rauchbier at Schlenkerla in Bamberg, and the smokebier i had in Trier the day before.


Who else has had a one sip beer revolution/ revelation?

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  1. Those do look good.

    Their Blanche sounds like a Belgian wit. Hoegarden (available fairly widely now) might not be quite as expressive as theirs...but give it a try - I like it for a refreshing, lighter beer on a hot day.

    The Amber is a dubbel. Try Rochefort 8 or Rochefort 10. Rochefort 10 is a trippel...but has the malt profile more akin to a dubbel (in my opinion). Both are fantastically complex beers...the 10 approaches (or surpasses!) a tawny port in richness of flavor.

    Your local BevMo carries these...but be prepared to fork over your milk money for them...

    1 Reply
    1. re: liegey

      I actually had one hoegarden in the fridge left when I came home from my trip and drank it as I was unpacking. Most of the time I love that beer, but boy was it a dissapointment that nite (and I didn't think it would be.) Now I'm concerned that my past taste expectations have been severely compromised.

      I will definitely look for that rochefort though

    2. For me it's a tie.

      A. Scheider Klosterweiss in Augsburg at the Hasenbraeu tent at the Plaerrerfest.

      B. U Fleku in Prague.

      1. As far as one-sip revelations go, honors go to Petrus Aged Pale Ale. It was the first sour beer I'd had, and it completely redefined what I thought beer could be. However, I wouldn't say any beer I've had could be called "the best". I've had too many great ones for any one beer to carry that distinction.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Josh

          i truly thought the same thing JOsh until I had this beer. It was so far beyond all others that there was no comparison or even thinking about it to be done. I just knew that this was best beer I had ever tasted.

          1. re: mr mouther

            Sorry, not buying it. That's like saying that Guinness is better than Hoegaarden. They're radically different styles, and aren't really comparable to each other. If that weren't the case, then beer judging events wouldn't break them up by style.

            I love all kinds of beer, all kinds of styles. I just don't think that there's one I would call "best" because there are so many that are great.

            1. re: Josh

              I actually don't know what you mean comparing guinness to hoegarden. of the two beers i mentioned from charlevoix, one was a white beer in the style of hoegarden (which is why one of the responders probably brought it up.)

              in any case, you don't have to believe the fact that sometimes, on rare occasions, the taste of a single sip or bite of food will completely redefine that food for you. It's happened to me before with salmon in columbia, south carolina of all places, seaweed in baltimore, and now this beer outside quebec city, etc. etc.

              i don't get what there is not to "buy." all that happened was that i tasted an amazing thing and shared it here in case others were nearby.

              1. re: mr mouther

                "sometimes, on rare occasions, the taste of a single sip or bite of food will completely redefine that food for you"

                Yes, this I can agree with (hence my comment about Petrus Aged Pale Ale). But not sure that means I'd consider it the best. That's all.

        2. Just last week (at the LCBO in Toronto) I came across Innis & Gunn oak aged ale http://www.innisandgunn.com/. While I won't go so far as to say it is THE best beer I've ever had, I will say it is one of the best. (I could never narrow it down to just one!) This stuff is from Scotland, aged in oak barrels used for whisky. At 6.6% it is strong, and be careful of that wood alcohol, as it can lead to headaches in the morning, but it has a really creamy smooth depth to it. Check it out if you can find it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ognir

            I had my first barrel-aged beer recently and really enjoyed it; it was made by allagash and they distribute fairly widely. I think the one I had was the musette.

            it definitely tasted woodier, a little liquid sawdust injection (i mean that positively!)

            1. re: ognir

              I'm with you on this one! Amazing brew.Too bad it's over 3 bones a bottle.

            2. hitachino nest beer, white ale from kiuchi brewery in japan. belgian style.

              easily the best beer i've ever had - recently got it from surfas in culver city where they had it alongside the cash register, you know, impulse buying style, with a sign saying something to ther effect that it was worth losing an arm for. they're right.


              7 Replies
              1. re: tkemeny

                I will definitely be driving out there to try that since I'm in the area. i almost went to the stuffed sandwich
                this last weekend to talk to sam and try to investigate other similar beers to what i had and see what he'd recommend. I'm on a journey to taste beer at that caliber!

                1. re: tkemeny

                  Went to Surfas on saturday just to get that beer. I bought four bottles. At $4.00 a pop for 12 oz., it's definitely pricey, but I don't get over to the westside very much so i figured if I liked it I better buy a couple.
                  Well, the first thing is that the label is just adorable - that little owl is cute as the dickens. second, the smell is gorgeous - rich and huge in its lightness, like a mushroom made of clouds. third, the first taste is amazing - many many flavors, all over the mouth. but the flavor thins out very fast, almost lightningquick. It's definitely a great beer, but the flavor is not well-rounded for what I'm looking for.

                  In fact, I think as I try beer after beer (including la fin du monde and others) that I am really going to have to start investigating fresher beer to have a fair comparison. I was reading another discussion on these boards about beer freshness and I'm starting to think that a lot of the depth and beauty of the tastes I had in baie st. paul were due not only to the quality of the beer, but because of its freshness.

                  the easiest way for me to tell will be to crack open the two bottles I brought back from that trip and compare them to some of my regulars that just have not been stacking up ever since (duvel, hoegarden, etc.) I plan on opening one of them around the end of October so I'll report back about the comparison.

                  (I'm also planning a trip to russian river brew headquarters in santa rosa in the meantime. anyone got any other breweries closer to southern california worthy of recommending a visit to?)

                  1. re: mr mouther

                    If you can make it down to San Diego, then you should definitely visit Ale Smith, Stone, and Alpine.

                    http://www.alpinebrewing.com (required!)

                    1. re: Josh

                      Those look fantastic; I know I'll definitely be in San Diego in January, so at least two of those places will be taken in, and probably a stop by O'Brien's and a Pizza Port since it seems those places pour some fresh stuff.

                      The alesmith looks great, but I couldn't figure out from their site where they are distributed or if they have a tasting room at the brewery...

                      1. re: mr mouther

                        AleSmith and Alpine both have tasting rooms. AleSmith is distributed a lot of places in California and San Diego. Alpine is a lot smaller in terms of production. Don't miss Alpine's Pure Hoppiness when you're out here. He also makes a barleywine (called "Great") aged in bourbon barrels. They usually have bottles of that at O'Brien's.

                    2. re: mr mouther

                      Russian River brewpub is a fantastic place, a cozy little bar with decent food and fabulous beers-- some would say Vinnie is making the best hoppy beers and Belgian-inspired beers (if not the best beers, period) anywhere in America.

                      I'm a big fan of his Bling Pig IPA, extremely complex and flavorful for its gravity. Lots of people love Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger (the Double IPA and "Triple IPA," respectively), but I'll take Bling Pig any day.

                      I'd say, however, that the best stuff Vinnie is putting out is his "-tion" line of Belgian-inspired beers. Temptation is a chardonnay-barrel-aged Belgian golden ale with wild yeasts that add a crisply refreshing tartness. Beatification is a geuze-like Belgian blonde ale aged for 2 years in sour, old, yeasty barrels that formerly housed New Belgium La Folie (a fabulous beer in its own right). And if you're lucky enough to track down Supplication (my favorite), that's a Pinot Noir-barrel-aged Belgian brown ale aged with brettanomyces (one of the aforementioned wild yeasts) and sour cherries added. Simply FABULOUS. One of my favorite beers, ever.

                      At the brewpub, they're likely to have at least 5-8 of the Belgian "-tion" beers, like Deification (an Orval clone-- a trappist pale ale with a softly funky, almost bandage-y brettanomyces touch), and perhaps Depuration (a beer similar to Temptation but much more tart, and with muscat grapes added to the barrel). All of these beers are sublimely drinkable, balanced, and delicately flavored while extraordinarily interesting and complex.

                      I can't wait to go back for my next visit.

                      Oh, and if you're looking for other breweries in SoCal to visit, you MUST check out Port Brewing in San Marcos, CA, in the home of the old Stone brewery (or any of the three Pizza Port brewpubs in Carlsbad, Solana Beach, San Clemente). Those guys are brewing fabulous beers all the time, and they just opened a new production brewery a few months ago so that their beers can see wider (hopefully MUCH wider) circulation in the near future. Try The Lost Abbey Lost & Found Ale, a sort of Abbey brown/dubbel made in their new Belgian brand, "The Lost Abbey."

                      1. re: cquiroga

                        I hate you!

                        I've been wanting to try Beatification and Depuration for months now, ever since Vinnie told me about them on his Blind Pig night at O'Brien's. I guess I might have to take a journey up to Santa Rosa.

                  2. Belgian Beer Festival (Brussels 2000). Huge wooden beer barrels on carriages brought into La Grande Place by Clydesdales. Took my first taste ever of Rodenbach Classic (Red). I immediately thought that it was some type of apple lambic but the pourer assured me that it was the barrel alone that gave the brew the sour apple taste. Changed my perception of beer and remains one of my favorites.

                    1. Today's beer revelation: La Fin du Monde, from Unibroue, Quebec. Yes, I am a huge Duvel fan. But LFDM is utterly addictive and even more drinkable, luckily I only had one (750ml) bottle because if it were in the house I would not stop drinking until it was all gone or I passed out, whichever came first. I still have lots of classic Belgian strong ales to try but right now this one is my favorite.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: kenito799

                        La Fin du Monde is absolutely delightful, but one musnt negate the American Brewers. What's better than Rare Vos of the Ommegang Brewery, or Three Philosophers? And the price is right.

                        1. re: The Baron

                          What's better is Russian River's Damnation.

                          1. re: Josh

                            I've heard about Russian River. Mentioned as a top pic on Men's Journal Magazine at a beer blog I read. Where are they out of?

                            1. re: The Baron

                              Santa Rosa, CA


                              That guy makes some seriously amazing beer. Him and the guy from Alpine make some of the best beers I've ever had.

                            2. re: Josh

                              Now Damnation is damn good as well. There are so many great beers out there, how can any particualar one be the best. Vive la difference

                              1. re: MVNYC

                                Totally agree. The other night at O'Brien's had an amazing biere de garde - Thierrez Xtra. It's a 4%, highly-hopped (for a European beer, anyway), very refreshing beer. I've steadily been working my way through their biere de garde list.

                                1. re: MVNYC

                                  I am not too familiar with that style. I will have to go down to O Briens and check it out.

                                  1. re: MVNYC

                                    They're worthwhile. Bring a friend if you can, they're all 750 mL bottles.

                                    So far I've had the Jonquilles, Castelain, Thirriez Blond, Thirriez Xtra, and the Sans Coulottes. Every one has been good, though I'd say Castelain has been my favorite thus far.

                                2. re: The Baron

                                  yes these are excellent. The Belgian blonde ale style is my favorite though. We are indeed lucky to have excellent brewers this side of the Atlantic so we don't have to bankrupt ourselves on the Belgians. Unibroue beers are $8 where Ommegang are around $5 in my neighborhood, while Duvel is $10.

                                3. re: kenito799

                                  La Fin Du Monde is one of my favourite beers. While i may be a hophead, La Fin is everything i think a beer should be.

                                4. Have y'all tried Alaska Amber out of Juneau? My favorite!

                                  1. Fresh Leinenkugels Honey Wheat Beer after the brewery tour in Chippewa Falls, WI.. Fresh, cold, and free.

                                    1. My favorite beer would be Gordon(double ipa) from Oskar Blues Brewery out of Lyons, Colorado. Its a super rare DIPA(at least in the NE) that comes in a 4 pack of can with a heft price tag, but the everything from the taste to the appearance are perfect. Second on my list would be Founder Breakfast Stout, this one can't be beat on a cool autumn afternoon, one of the few beers that I would say is a meal in itself.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mkel34

                                        I see Gordon Double IPA on tap sometimes at the Hop Devil Grill in the East Village in NYC.

                                      2. I love hand pumped cask conditioned English beers and ales when I am traveling in the UK. My husband is a Brit so he can suss the good pubs out with the help of the Good Pub Guide.

                                        When we lived in Munich, we loved Augustiner Helles more than anyone could imagine. I also love Andechser as well.

                                        Out of the bottle here in the States, I love Victory Hop Devil!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: potterstreet

                                          I had Augustiner when I visited Munich in 2001. Is there any place on the west coast that carries it?

                                        2. For total mind blowing taste sensation it was Gulden Draak on tap. What an explosion of velvet malt, dark fruits, toffee and caramel with a bit of hops to round out the its profile. Extremely thick mouthfeel and smooth. This is the Belgian beer lovers holy grail.

                                          1. Considering I have tried hundreds of beers and they were all good, these really stand out for me.

                                            Alaskan Amber-made by The Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau, Alaska
                                            Holiday Porter-Boston Beer Co. Boston MA.

                                            1. My first beer revelation was when I was a teenager - I didn't like the taste , but was more interested in getting a buzz and bonding. Quantity over quality. As a rule I don't advise it. There were no micro- breweries then.We drank alot of ales - Molsen, LaBatts. There was one that had riddles inside the cap.
                                              One of the best beers I have ever had was a locally made autumn brew , Gritty McDuffs Halloween Ale.They still make it.
                                              Just the other night I had Ayinger Ur Weiss, and it was really great. Some trappist beers are so smooth you can't compare them to any other type .Now I'm having fun and savoring each beer.

                                              1. OK, so I had a little celebration for my book being published over the weekend and cracked out one of the two bottles I brought home with me from Microbrasserie Charlevoix. In the two months interim since I had this beer and had the revelation I have been on a bit of a tear trying to taste anything that would equal this beer or anything to even come close.

                                                I've bought several unibrouies, hoegarden, hitachino, etc. etc. Everything was good, but not on the same level. I started getting worried because nothing from a bottle was coming anywhere near close to what I remmebered and I was starting to feel that maybe it was just the proximity and freshness of the beer.

                                                So I was excited but also skeptical that the bottles I had been saving were going to approach my orginal tastings.
                                                Well, after I spily the bottle two ways and smelled mine, I recognized that this beer was still very fresh. How fresh? After all the beer had been poured in the glasses my nose happened to fly over the empty bottle and it was like a geyser of sweet aroma coming up out of it. I mean blueberry sweet, just shootting out of the empty bottle. This smell was so strong and sweet that it was still exuding from the bottle the next morning.

                                                Of course that hardly compares to how wonderful the beer smelled. The taste? It lost very little from my orginal perception. The amazing thing about this beer is how many flavors there are, and how it combines the sweet in with the other flavors. It's not anything like a typically sweet belgium, like chimay or something, where there is pretty much one flavor. This beer's flavors just roll from one part of the mouth to the next. Medium carbonation makes it feel great in there.

                                                So now I am desperately going to see how I can convince that brewery to ship a case to me (i don't care about the legality or the risk - it's worth it)

                                                1. So much of that "best beer" experience is the place, the company, and your state of mind at the time you had it. I love beer, and I've had literally thousands of different beers, but sometimes that cold Alpine (the older Alpine beer is from New Brunswick, made by Moosehead - I am surprised it was not copyrighted in the 'States? - bet it is....), or Olands in the dressing room after a game of hockey tastes as good as the Sierra Nevada Celebration at the brewery's pub. There is no way that the beer you brought back with you could have satisfied you - the initial experience was just too good. My advice is remeber how that was, and go out and enjoy the many amazing beers close to your home.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Brewnoser

                                                    Brewnoser, I wish - so wish - that you were right. It was the ambience etc. that made the beer great. But unfortunately it was just an average day with me and my girl loafing around. The beer just floored me. And I wish, really, that the bottled version wasn't as good. But it was.
                                                    I even had a friend come over ten days after I drank the first one and she smelled something fruity coming out of the bottle from 5 feet away. Old beer bottles usually don't smell delicious.

                                                    I have seriously been trying to find beer remotely in the league of this stuff, and I can't. The closest I've found so far has been some Alesmith brews, and they are seriously only halfway there. All that other stuff I used to enjoy has been tainted now that I know this stuff is out there.

                                                    I am being forced to plan a trip back there because the beer is so freakin phenomenal (I actually got out my calendar last nite.)