Unibroue 15

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As I type, itís only a few days from that most wonderful holiday, Thanksgiving. A day of feasting on fine formerly feathered fowls, perfectly presented parsley potatoes, varying varieties of voluminous vegetables, and plentiful portions of pumpkin pie.

But what to wash it down with?

Dear friends, I ask you in all humility, assuming youíve at least passed the ripe old age of 21 at any rate, to eschew the ubiquitous sugary soda pop in favor of a libation as complex and flavorful as the Thanksgiving feast itself. In other words, have a beer.

A rich, wonderful, flavorful beer like <b>Unibroue 15</B>. To be sure, many serve wine with their bird, and thatís fair enough. But beers of great co0mplexity can serve equally well, and to me are a lot more fun. But then I am a bit biased towards beer, arenít I?

Unibroue 15 is sold in 750ml bottles for about $8. Itís a one-off brew made in honor of the companyís 15th anniversary. Still, itís packaged with yeast in the bottle (you may even see it on the bottom, but donít panic, thatís good stuff), and should be well preserved well past 2007.

And itís perfect for serving with rich fare like your holiday bird. The pungent spiciness, strong yeast flavors, and elevated alcohol content will cut through those greasy gravies and buttery potatoes quite nicely, thank you very much.

To open my bottle of Unibroue 15, I first had to remove the wire cork cage, and then gently twist off the cap itself. For my efforts, I am awarded a rousing ďpopĒ not unlike that more commonly associated with opening a bottle of fine champagne. Once removed, the eyes are greeted by a rather uncanny sight: wispy, wavering tendrils of mist rise from the glass, and I immediately begin to wonder if this is a bottle of Unibroue or witches brew.

As if to reassure me, a column of foam begins to emerge. I pour gently into my bulb-shaped Unibroue Maudite glass, and I get a little liquid and a lot of foam. At length, however, the huge foamy head subsides and I am able to pour a bit more in my glass. I now get a beautifully hazy orange brew topped by a creamy white crown. A sniff reveals a decidedly fruity nose laced with strong notes of licorice.

As I sip, I get a very rich but deceptively light bodied body, at least for a beer that boasts a strength of 10% alcohol by volume. This is not to say that the beer is thin; it isnít. But it is quite drinkable, if in a sipping sort of way. I get notes of pineapple immediately, with some funky Belgian yeasty notes and spicy licorice, cotton candy, black pepper, green apple and clove. Thereís just a touch of bitter hops balancing in the finish, too, but mostly itís the spices that add dryness.

This reminds me of a rather well spiced Belgian-style tripel. Itís certainly a complex and delicious beer, one worthy to celebrate with and to celebrate in and of itself. Why not pop the cap on one yourself? It goes great with holiday fare, but itís also great for casual sipping on a cold fall or winter evening too.