By Tim Rutherford
The packaging may look like a fine bottle of sparkling wine, but Scaldis Prestige is…beer.
Let there be no mistake, this is beer for wine drinkers. For the back story, allow me to quote from importer Vanberg & DeWulf’s website:
“In 2007 Hugues Dubuisson, who loves wine as well as beer, visited the legendary Burgundy Château, Hospice de Nuits Saint George. He managed to acquire an excellent barrique (cask) of the famous wine. When he arrived home, he bottled the wine and filled the empty cask with Scaldis Noël. After ten months of maturation, the results were remarkable. The red wine staining of the barrel married perfectly with the malt sweetness and peach notes of the beer giving flavors of cherry, oak, tobacco, Pinot Noir and bitter chocolate. Taking almost a year to make, Prestige de Nuits is fermented three times (in tank, bottle, and burgundy cask).”
Hugues Dubuisson is the eighth generation family-overseer of the traditional Belgian brewery Dubuisson (1769). The tradition and experience show in the beers and in the imaginations of a family that is clearly dedicated to looking forward while maintaining tradition.
Among the flavor characteristics noted above, I found this beer to be exceptionally well made, with attention to balance, smoothness and preservation of flavor nuances. There is sweet maltiness to be sure, a hint of fine wine and on the mid-palate I detected hints of honey and sweet, ripe pear.
13 percent ABV. SRP $40, 750 ml, cork and cage closure. A beer that can be cellared to develop further.
94 points: “If your taste for beer runs to extremely well made, Old World style beers, then a taste of Scaldis Prestige will immediately satisfy your hunger for a beer that eschews extreme beermaking and embraces classic attention to detail. Its aroma, flavor and character make this a celebratory beer to enjoy with friends over grilled meats or a big, baked Brie.”