Review: Brasserie Dubuisson Cuvѐe des Trolls
Drink if you like: Tree fruit, freshly cut grass, wines such as Riesling and Norse mythology.
Straight from the fertile valleys of Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium, Cuvѐe des Trolls is often categorized as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. This description is one of the most commonly used terms when it comes to imported Belgian beer. Strong Pale Ales are normally golden in color. All other “requirements” of this category (alcohol content, complexity, hop and malt character) can vary. This leads to a catch-all in many cases. After reading the style of Cuvee des Trolls, we had some expectations of what we were getting into. After popping the cork, we were very surprised, because this ain’t your typical Strong Pale Ale.
Cuvѐe des Trolls has a cool little troll mascot on the front of the brown 750ml corked bottle. The troll is wearing pointy shoes and a hat made of a hop cone. I like him…and he likes me. He doesn’t appear to be a bad troll, more like an athletic, beardless gnome. We shouldn’t spend much more time on him, so let’s move on.
This beer pours a hazy bright-golden color with a big soapy head. The bubbly head has decent retention, but provides minimal lacing. A medium level of carbonation dances around the glass. The nose is heavy on fruit (pears, apples, citrus) and pale malt. There is a hint of earthiness as well. This is overpowered by the fruit in the nose, but pays another visit later in the story.
Next up is the all-important Taste. This is where things get very curious. We let the Troll sit out a few minutes prior to drinking. This is a great practice to get into when drinking beers that don’t contain a color-changing mountain on the front. Allowing a beer to warm up reveals more of the flavors and essences that can otherwise go unnoticed. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for ice-cold beer, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by drinking some of these great Craft beers in that manner. Continuing on, we initially served this beer at exactly 55 degrees Fahrenheit. How do we know this? Because we are beer geeks and we use non-contact laser thermometers…that’s why. Upon first drink, the carbonation level for this medium body stood out. The sweetness of fruit that we experienced in the nose definitely came through in the taste. Sour apples, sweet tartness, ripe pear and a little lemon – this is good stuff! This was backed by a subtle pale malt flavor and seemed unbalanced at first. It wasn’t until later on in this session that we noticed the many previously-hidden flavors hanging around the corner. At 65°, this beer was allowed to really shine through. This was the moment we noticed that Cuvѐe des Trolls contained many understated flavors found in most Belgian Saisons: musty straw, grass, and a beautiful Farmhouse style funk (see previous post on “good funk”). This earthiness was a perfect complement for the initial fruit flavors and make for a great, well-balanced beer. Had we not taken the extra time to snap some pictures of this beer, make wagers on the temperature of every single object in the beer cellar, then ponder the idea of opening up a laser eye surgery center, we would’ve missed out on the best part of this beer. The most concerning part of this is that Cuvee des Trolls’ website actually has a serving recommendation of 37.4°. That’s pretty cold right there. No worries, I will write them a letter.
Overall, we really liked the balance of this beer. The flavors were much more pronounced as it was allowed to open up and given a chance. As for food pairings, given the complexity of the aroma and flavor, this will pair well with sweet desserts as well as many meat dishes. Pick some up, pour a glass, take a drink, go on a walk, come back, finish it.
You can find this beer at the following places:
Colonial Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
County Line Liquor – Springdale
Flying Saucer – Little Rock
Macadoodles – Springdale
Pat’s Beverage Shop – North Little Rock
Springhill Wine & Spirits – North Little Rock
The Bottle – Fayetteville
The Wine Cellar – Fayetteville
Popatop – Little Rock
Lake Liquor – Maumelle
Crush Wine Bar – North Little Rock
O’Looney’s – Little Rock
Brasserie Dubuisson Frères Cuvée Des Trolls – ABV 7% – MSRP $9.17 for a 25.4oz bottle
We gave this beer 4 diamonds