This is not the kind of beer with which I associate guys drinking while watching a hockey game or playing poker, smoking cigars. I realize that I'm going to be doing some stereotyping in this post, but please take my words with a grain of salt, as I am writing this post with my tongue firmly pressed into my cheek.
I rewrote this post after I received some comments that pointed accusations of sexism. I left the comments in place, despite my reworking of this post, because some of my thoughts will still seem somewhat tasteless.
I do believe that the brewers of the beer in this review had women in mind when they crafted it. And I don't think that's a bad thing. There are plenty of products on the market that are gender-biased and I don't think that beer is exempt from this gender targetting.
I don't think I would have picked this beer unless I felt some influence from a female friend and after the reaction I witnessed from some women that had sampled a similar-styled ale the day earlier. I think that other men, after looking at the label and understanding the main ingredient that is added, may pass on it.
I made a joke that some guys may drink it but wouldn't want their friends to know that they had. That was a joke. It was, perhaps, not one of my funnier or more clever jokes, but I try.
Sometimes, I fail.
Let's get on with the review. As a craft-beer lover and beer blogger, I feel I have a certain obligation to try many beer styles that I won't typically drink, but should be acquainted with.
I first heard about this beer at WinterBrewed, when my friend from Mill Street Brew Pub, Hannah, described a beer from her favourite Québec microbrewery, Dieu du Ciel! She told me the name, but sadly, over the course of that festival, the name escaped me.
Last week, on what is now my regular stop at Bières du Monde, I looked at a few bottles by this St-Jèrôme brewery. I saw some of the offerings that I have reviewed in the past, and some new ones. One, that was made with hibiscus, reminded me of a beer I tried last week, at the Ottawa Beer TAP Society dinner, which was also made with hibiscus, and I thought I would try it. I bought two bottles and then headed to my regular Tuesday haunt, Mill Street.
When I arrived at the pub, I was greeted by Pete, the bartender, Adam, the head brewer, and Hannah, who also tends the bar. Hannah told me that she had something for me, and quickly disappeared from the bar. When she returned, she told me that she had been to her cottage on the previous weekend and had found her favourite beer at the local dépanneur. She handed me a brown paper bag, and in it was the beer that I had just purchased.
Rosée d'Hibiscus Spiced Strong Beer with Hibiscus (5.9% ABV)Appearance: a murky pink, much like an unfiltered rosé wine, with a while head that quickly dissipates to a fine lace.
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Nose: fragrant roses and strawberries.
Palate: the taste buds are first hit with a honeyed, crisp flavour that then turns faintly sour with a hint of peach and white pepper and takes you to a light finish.
Overall impression: this is a refreshing ale that would be perfect during patio season. It goes down easy on its own but would also pair well with a light salad of mixed greens and a raspberry vinaigrette.
From the packaging (a woman, with flowers in her hair), to the colour, to the nose, to the light, slightly sweet and fruity taste, I get the impression that this is a feminine beer.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, I believe that beer is gender-neutral. But every once in a while, I encounter a beer that is light and fruity, and I think (as I did with Rosée d'Hibiscus) that it is a "pretty" beer.
Just as when I see a smokey, bitter, high-alcohol beer (especially when there's a seductive-looking woman on the label) I think that the ale is aimed at men.
That's just the impression I get. Right or wrong.
When I opened my first bottle, I logged on to the Untappd application on my iPhone and checked in with this beer. Shortly after, one of my lady friends, Miriam, told me it was her favourite beer from Dieu du Ciel, that she had had it in Montréal and loved it.
So I have two friends, both women, who have tried and loved this beer.
If any of my male friends love this beer, they are welcome to tell me to STFU.
It's a fine beer and I appreciate it for what it is. I'm glad I tried it. Will I have it again? Probably not, but only because I prefer stouts and big IPAs: you know, manly beers (that's another jokelaugh a little).
Ladies: I believe his beer is made with you in mind. Enjoy it.