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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

    £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer / Web Designer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leader in the e-cigarette ...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future