Unibroue Brewery | Trois Pistoles
Sometimes in order to discover that special beer, it takes a little extra searching to find that one brew that speaks to you. Other times, you’ll discover a dusty bottle with the coolest label ever hanging out in between pre-made margarita mixes at a highway party store, as I did with Trois Pistoles. Look at that logo. It’s practically daring you to be hardcore enough to imbibe. Somewhere, the guy who designs Meatloaf’s album covers is sobbing over its majestic beauty.
That label is inspired by the story of how a local church was built in the town of Trois Pistoles. The local parish had chosen a site for their new church but were unable to bring the rocks from the river on their own. The priest conjured up a “helpful devil” in the form of a black horse which they harnessed and put to work night and day to carry the heavy stones from the riverbank without rest.
One day a boy saw the horse was in pain and unharnessed it, allowing the horse to take off into the sky and he was never seen again. Several Quebecoise churches claim a similar origin story with the cheval noir coming to aid in the construction of their church, but Trois Pistoles’ horse lived up to the devil part of it’s name and left before the building was complete.
The church is missing a stone to this day. You can see how the black horse would inspire this beer the moment it leaves its bottle. Holding your glass to the light, there’s a molasses corona at the very edge. The rest of the beer is completely opaque. The head is thick and gives a pleasant crackling noise as it slowly dissolves, almost like embers doused at the end of a bonfire. The first swallow carries a mellowed version of the tart flavor that accompanies any fruit beer.
The beauty of this specific dark ale comes from the aftertaste. Once that melts away, it leaves you feeling as though you’ve just bitten into a baked plum. Even those adverse to Belgian dark beer can’t help but enjoy the sugar-kissed taste left on your lips. However, it’s heavy enough that the taste never becomes sickly sweet.
Unibroue recommends a serving temperature in the mid fifties, allowing you to focus more on the conversations around you than worrying about your beer losing flavor as it warms up. At 9%, you shouldn’t exactly be needing many bottles anyway. This makes it the optimal slow-sipper to carry you through a long night, from city rooftops to secluded woods.