Food and Drink: The End of the World is here

Michael Jackson Celebrate Hallowe'en in appropriate style with Hobgoblin, Lucifer, Bloody Hell Fire and other fiendishly good brews. Illustration by Frazer Hudson

Who would have thought that the end of the the world would be so enjoyable? Yet here it is, spelled out in the French: La Fin du Monde is a Quebecois strong ale, with a near- lethal 9 per cent alcohol content. Strength apart, it is one of the most exciting beers ever to emerge from Canada, and certainly the best from that country to reach these shores.

La Fin du Monde is a highly aromatic beer, with a tempting, orange-flower bouquet, a complex, spicy palate and an appetising, sherbety finish. Its producers confirm that it does contain spices, but they like to keep the exact recipe secret. I would guess at lemon peel and a hefty dose of coriander, but other tasters have found aniseed and honey.

Its complexity also derives from no fewer than three encounters with yeast. In addition to primary and secondary fermentations in the tank, a third takes place in the bottle. The beer can thus be laid down to mature - ideally for between three and 18 months at a natural cellar temperature, during which time rose-like flavours will develop.

La Fin du Monde is produced near Montreal, by Unibroue. Despite its generic- sounding name, this is a very colourful brewery. One of its founders is the Quebecois rock singer Robert Charlebois, a supporter of the Canadian prime minister, Jean Chretien. The three of us once became rather festive together, sampling our way through their beers.

Perhaps its British stockists, Oddbins, could also be persuaded to bring in the Unibroue's more peppery strong ale Maudite ("Damned") or the spiced cherry ale Quelque Chose, which is intended to serve hot at Christmas, like a Gluhwein.

La Fin du Monde is in much the same style as the yet stronger (15 per cent) French beer Belzebuth (it might be necessary to cross the Channel for this); and such Belgian ales as the sweeter Judas, the notably hoppy Lucifer, and the maltier Satan, all at around 8 to 8.5 per cent. All of these were inspired by the Belgian classic, Duvel ("Devil").

Duvel was first brewed in 1970 by a Belgian producer of strong, dark ales who was facing competition in his local market from golden lagers like Stella. He made a test brew of a strong ale as pale in colour as a Pilsener.

"That's the devil of a beer!" a brewer-worker is said to have observed, thus providing a name for a world classic. There is no name for the style itself. "Belgian-style strong golden ales" is cumbersome. "Satanic beers", perhaps? Their names all suit Hallowe'en, though deal with the trick-or-treaters first, then settle down to an appropriate strong brew to calm the nerves.

Many local breweries in Britain have demonic beers. Here are 10 good examples:

Black Magic Stout A mere 4.5 per cent, but with a rich, smooth, smoky dryness. From the Oakhill Brewery, near Bath, Somerset.

Bloody Hell Fire A chocolatey, strong (6 per cent) draught. From the Barnfield Brewery, of Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Bodysnatcher "No more bodies?" asks the text on the pump-clip of this draught ale, in a sideswipe at the cream of Manchester. This is a more flavoursome, malty ale, quite big-bodied for its 4.4 per cent. Made specially for Hallowe'en, by the B & T Brewery, of Shefford, Bedfordshire.

Devil's Water A malty, sweetish, complex ale of 4.1 per cent. From the Brooker family brewery, of Hexham, Northumberland.

Gravedigger A nutty mild ale, with plenty of body for a mere 3.8 per cent. From the appropriately named Church End Brewery, of Shustoke, Warwickshire.

Hobgoblin A medium-strong (5.5 per cent) ale, with suggestions of brown sugar in its flavours. From the Wychwood Brewery, of Witney, Oxfordshire.

Old Devil A malty but well-balanced brew of 4.7 per cent, with a fruity dryness in the finish. Also from Wychwood.

Old Nick A warming barley wine (7.2 per cent) with a suggestion of banana liqueur, from Young's of London.

Pendle Witches' Brew A modest 5 per cent, but with an intoxicating character behind its fruity innocence. Named after the witches that allegedly used to haunt Pendle Hill, near the Moorhouse's Brewery, at Burnley, Lancashire.

Wizard's Wonder A darkish, dry, fruity bitter made for Hallowe'en. From the Coach House Brewery, of Warrington, Cheshire.

Suggested Topics
News
David Beckham
peopleFootballer joins No campaign
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Arts and Entertainment
art
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    QA Manual Tester - Agile

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

    Secondary School Teachers in Ipswich

    Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education are l...

    Teaching Assistant

    £45 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified and/or experienced te...

    Nursery Nurses and Assistants

    £7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Bristol: Qualified nursery nurses and exp...

    Day In a Page

    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
    The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

    The fall of Rome?

    Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
    Glasgow girl made good

    Glasgow girl made good

    Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
    Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

    Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

    Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

    Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
    The landscape of my imagination

    The landscape of my imagination

    Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories