Post Election Beer Review: Avery Ale to the Chief and Unibroue La Fin du Monde


Avery first brewed Ale to the Chief in 2009 to commemorate Barack Obama’s inauguration. Since then, however, the marketing gurus over at Avery seem to have decided they can sell more beer if they don the mantle of bipartisanship. That means Ale to Chief is out and ready at the election so you can toast your personal preference when (if) they win. Ahem…


Anyway, Ale to the Chief strikes me as very bitter. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though. The nose is slightly sweet with caramel notes from the malts and citrus and floral notes from the hefty wet hopping with Cascade hops. Still…something’s bitter.

It’s not really the taste either. The flavor starts sweet with strong caramel and malt notes. You definitely get the warmth from the 8.1% alcohol, too. Ale to the Chief would stand up well as a great late autumn/early winter beer if wasn’t 75° here. In any case, the citrus and floral flavors from the hops do a pretty good job of balancing the flavor, but the sweetness stays with you. Again, I think I’d like this beer better if it was actually cold out. It’s just a touch cloying in the heat. That, and the bitterness. I still can’t figure out where that’s coming from…


My enthusiasm for Unibroue has paled a bit since Sapporo acquired it. La Fin du Monde is still a very good beer, but that feeling of sharing a special secret has long since flown away. That said, La Fin du Monde is a great beer for toasting your candidate’s possible (inevitable) defeat. Not only is “La Fin du Monde” French for “the end of the world,” but it’s also Canadian! Er…it was. Now, I guess, it’s Japanese-Canadian, but whatever.

La Fin du Monde hits me in a very odd way. The first taste always blasts me with a dose of iron. I suspect it’s because the hard water of the Great Lakes region sends me back to the water of my youth. Or I guess it could be kind of like a bloody lip from a punch in the mouth. For whatever reason, though, after one acclimatizing sip, the iron taste goes away. It’s worth powering through because La Fin du Monde is a very good example of a Belgian style Trippel.

The nose is hits you with a blend of caramel, spice, and citrus. The flavor starts off very malt forward. You get lots of roasted caramels and honey and just a little bit of warmth from the 9% alcohol content. That moves into some citrus and floral notes and rounds out with some spice and banana from the yeast before finishing very cleanly. Overall, the best way to describe La Fin du Monde is that it’s very balanced. It hits all the notes you expect in a Trippel without going overboard on any of them. Even if you are spitting up blood from a smack in the face, a few La Fin du Monde’s will help you feel fine for a little while, anyway.