This Belgian ale from Quebec has found itself a permanent place in American stores for two obvious reasons: first, most American beer is horrible because it is both utilitarian and junk food, sugar water soda with beer flavoring. Second, most imported beers have also made themselves terrible, and none quite as bad as the Belgian witbier which increasingly resembles a bilious corriander-beer soda.
Witness, for example, Shiner White Wing. Only a marketing genius could take cheap beer from central Texas and sell it at import prices, and that same twisted intelligence has been applied here to make a “Belgian ale” that tastes like the overflavored teas that women buy in malls. The main reason people like this beer is because it is sweet, bridging the gap between beer and soda yet another innovative way. But in the wake of the success of Belgian ales in America, numerous contenders have popped up. And yet here is La Fin Du Monde which has been pumping out this particular ale since the 1990s at least, and has kept both quality and price consistent. In other words, these people are not marketing geniuses, but they may be a greater form of intelligence: people who realize that if they make a good product consistently they will have an industry from now until the end of time, unless they screw it up. So they watch against screwing up, including the form of greedy screw-up that is marketing genius. Smart, those Québécois.
La Fin Du Monde smells and drinks like a German medium lager but has the light corriander flavor and muted sweetness of a Belgian ale. It retains its yeast, so is cloudy if the bottle has been moved much within the last few hours, but pours in a light golden color with a good foamy head and delicious yeasty smell. It is also worth noting that at 9% alcohol by volume and a heavy amount of carbonation, this fizzy beer will take no prisoners among your brain cells. Drinking one of these babies is like pounding down four of your favorite “import” beer (usually concentrated syrup/ferment imported from Europe, and made into beer American-style here for double the profits) bottles and then doing a couple jumping jacks. Luckily its flavor serves an excellent balance, with the hay-like notes of a good ale surging in behind the slightly bitter forward taste of the Belgian-style corriander-induced sensation, followed by overtones of light fruit — it has been compared to citrus or peach — with a strong yeasty goodness in the background. Thus this beer walks a fine line. It will not please the newly minted Belgian ale fanatics who only buy beers with fancy packaging and pretentious names, but it will rumble the tummy of anyone who appreciates a good beer with a flavor of its own.