Unibroue: Quelque Chose

It's really "Something"

Let me set the scene.  My parents, my girlfriend, and I had just finished an extravagant English tapas-style dinner at the quaint Side Door of Five Crowns in Corona del Mar, a personal favourite[sic] bar for showing off and splurging.  We had collectively cleaned every plate ordered, and thus were feeling quite full, so when it became time to order dessert, I suggested that we split a beer to cap off our outstanding dining experience.  I eyed the Unibroue brewery name on Side Door’s always exciting and ever-changing beer list, and thought I couldn’t go wrong.  On the menu, The Quelque Chose was described as an ultra rare kriek style ale, and it was served in a 750ml bottle, perfect for splitting between 4 people.  I flagged the enthusiastic waitress, who beamed at my order, and shuffled off.

The appearance of this beer gave me a first impression of mixed feelings.  On one hand, the deep ruby red color was stunning, bringing to mind Fender Guitar’s midnight wine paint color.  Truly a gorgeous liquid.  However, there was absolutely no carbonation and zero head.  This was something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen in a beer before, and I was unsure weather a completely flat beer could really excite my palate.  Of course, none of this stopped me from sticking my nose in the glass…

The aroma was completely dominated by cherry.  A little vanilla and cinnamon could be detected, but this was an overpoweringly fruity concoction, and not that fresh hoppy citrus fruit that I love to deeply inhale from above the finest of pale ales, no, this was more of a children’s medicine flavoring scent.  Even though this beer is half dark ale and half brown ale, I could make out no hint of malt on the nose at all.

On the palate, I experienced a thick, sticky, almost syrupy cherry-dominated mouthful, with very little else discernible flavor-wise.  I was quite disappointed, especially for the $21 price tag.  I was not alone in my negative review; my mother found the beer undrinkably sweet.  However, my father and girlfriend both enjoyed it enough.  They are fans of light and/or fruity beers, but unfortunately, I am in a darker, more bitter school of appreciation.  I feel like this beer was also not a good choice for me specifically, as with dinner, I enjoyed a North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, which is a bold, dark, deeply flavorful malt-stravaganza of deliciousness.  The contrast was too much for me.

On the whole, I would definitely not shell out for this particular beer again, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone with a cherry fetish.