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Unibroue Trois Pistoles. Beer Makes Me Smarter.

March 21, 2010

College is a place for higher learning and expanding your perception of the world around you.  Young minds leave universities enlightened and ready to face the challenges of the 21st century.  Finals week, term papers, grad school, and community involvement all are synonymous with college.  However, so are beer bongs, beer pong, keg races and countless other max-quantity beer drinking activities one is exposed to while attending college.  This type of beer drinking behavior is not only irresponsible and dangerous, it does nothing to enlighten or expand your cognizance.

Beer makes you dumber.

On the other hand there is the craft beer market.  It is chalk-full of colorful, full-flavored, hard to pronounce brews from every single corner of the globe.  As one begins to appreciate craft beer they voluntarily begin to research and read and seek out beer information.  One will learn about chemistry, biology, history, culture, cooking, food pairing, and language as they delve deeper into the world of craft beer.  Imagine how enlightened a group of 21-year olds could be after taking a 16 week course on the history of Belgian beer or volunteering at a local brewpub.  Believe me, college ears perk up when a professor drops the “B word” in class.

Beer makes you smarter.

Sitting down to drink 750 ml of beer and never caring if you catch a buzz is what makes craft beer so great.  I preach over and over on Beer Epiphany how it’s all about the experience.  Researching a beer’s name or origin is part of the experience I love to bring to my readers with each and every review.

Trois Pistoles from Canadian brewery Unibroue had me scouring the internet looking up French definitions and the history of a 500 year old coin.  At first glance the label art is typical Unibroue “Gothic” art.  Trois Pistoles pictures a three towered brick building with a black Pegasus looming in the stormy sky above.  Further research led me to a little town called Trois Pistoles within the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec, Canada.  This town is supposedly named after a silver goblet worth three “pistole” coins.  I also came across a not so ominous photo of the town of Trois Pistoles with a familiar building looming over the Saint Laurence River.  Why is this beer named after this small village in Canada?  And why does it feature dark imagery of the Coiffure Notre Dame?  If a could read French I might be able to tell you more, but for now let’s just say that I’m smarter after trying to figure out whats going on  with Trois Pistoles/ label art.


Beer: Trois Pistoles

Brewer: Unibroue, Qubuec, Canada

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 9%

Serving: 750 ml bottle, Michelob snifter glass

Loosen the cage, pop the cork and what escapes into my Michelob Celebrate snifter glass is a wonderfully dark purple brew with just the slightest hints of red and brown.  The color reminds me of dark plum skin.  The head is medium-sized and off-white in color.  Lacing is nominal.

Up your nasal cavity comes lots of grape and dark fruit.  Trois Pistoles actually borders on smelling like wine or a strong grape juice.  Also in the aroma are earthy notes, alcohol, blueberry, and oak.  For 9% ABV Unibroue has created quite a refreshing aroma here.  It reminds me of a fresh fruit salad.

It’s time to stop wondering is this is actually a bottle of grape juice start tasting.  In the beginning there is a bite of alcohol, but that quickly blends into a medley of dark fruits, red grapes, berries, and wine.  At the back end of the swallow you might find some sweet chocolate, alcohol, and just the slightest bit of floral hop bitterness, but its hardly noticeable. Leaving Trois Pistoles sit in the glass awhile longer brings the alcohol to center stage, but it still retains it’s refreshing grape flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium, drying, and fairly alcoholic.  It wasn’t warming my throat or stomach, but the 9% ABV isn’t hibernating.  The finish is medium, dry, and only a tad bitter.  This beer is very drinkable for a bold style, although many Belgians are remarkably drinkable despite their complex flavors and high alcohol by volume.

Take you time, get out the snifter, and enjoy all 750 milliliters of Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles.  I wasn’t expecting so much grape flavor and aroma, but it fits nicely and makes this big beer quite refreshing.

Score: 83/100

Chance of Craft Beer Epiphany: 80%

With similarities to grape juice and red wine this beer might win over craft beer newbies and wine afficionados alike.  Although, being quite ill-versed in vino I am not at liberty to make comparisons beyond “grapes and wine.” There are no harsh hop aromas or spirit level alcohol to contend with here.  Trois Pistoles is a fruit Belgian Dark Ale that I wouldn’t hesitate serving to anyone looking to broaden their beer horizons.  I’d also like to hear what wine lovers would have to say about the grape characteristic imparted upon this brew.





BJCP: Belgian Strong Dark Ale Style Guidelines

One Comment
  1. Love this review. It’s a damn good beer.

    Also really appreciated how you delved into the beer makes you smart/dumb arguments. I agree that an appreciate for craft beer will not only expand your palate — it’ll expand your mind!

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