Review by: Cory Smith
For years I’ve wanted to do a beer with hibiscus in it. I don’t know why, but the idea of a semi sweet, but light (I imagine a summer-style) beer with hints of flowery hibiscus just sounds like it’d be an amazing, yet unique journey. I’ve been perusing the walls of my local bottle shop and finally stumbled upon this beauty: Rosee d’Hibiscus by Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel. Rosee d’Hibiscus is a wheat beer at heart, but the hibiscus should really make this beer shine.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel (like I wasn’t until I did some research), they are a fairly small brewery in Montreal, Canada that sits on the border between English speaking Canada and French Speaking Canada. If you try to look at their website, you’ll notice that they like to play into the French culture more than the English. They are a microbrewery that offers a wide variety of artisanal style brews, and, according to yelp reviews, is THE must-go place if you’re a craft beer drinker visiting the Montreal area. Ok, now not only do I want to take a trip to visit this place, but I really want to try this beer. Let’s dive in!
I decided to choose an hourglass shaped pilsner glass for my bottle of Rosee d’Hibiscus to see if I could get different colors at the different thicknesses of the glass, and also to let this beer breathe. While wheat beers are usually overly carbonated, cascading with clouds of CO2, Rosee pours with almost no head, and not a lot of dancing bubbles. It is semi-cloudy, and a deep, reddish-coppor color. It’s as if this was meant to be an orange beer, but the hibiscus’ red dye infiltrated the glass.
The aroma is soft and delicate. There is some caramel and some bready/wheat aromas, but mostly I get floral and fruity notes. It smells very sweet and I’m really hoping there is a hop bite to balance this out, but there’s no hoppiness in the aroma, just a candied flower sandwich.
Well, my sight lied to me. This is a very well carbonated beverage. Just like I would expect a good wheat beer to be. It has a nice, medium body, and finishes bright and clean. No sticky film of sugar coats my mouth, but there is a sweet/tart after taste that lingers and lingers.
This is one of those beers that makes you sit for a second while you gather your thoughts. It is sweet and tart at the same time. There is a fruitiness to it, and a citrus flavor, and an herbal flavor all at once. It’s is almost like sweet cherries with lemons. Fruity and sweet, but well balanced due to the tart hibiscus flavors. I would say that this is one of the most perfectly balanced beers I’ve ever had. Ron’s really into sour beers right now, and this reminds me somewhat of a cherry sour he let me try, but it’s not all that sour. You won’t pucker your lips, it just is sour enough to finish clean and crisp. I hate to use the word “interesting” to describe something, but it is just that. A very complex, interesting beer.
Rosee d’Hibiscus was both nothing like I imagined a hibiscus beer tasting like, yet everything I wanted it to taste like at the same time. I thought it would be lighter, more mellow, really allowing the hibiscus to shine as the main ingredient, but it seems more likely that hibiscus was used as a bittering agent. I am going to give this a 95, A. I can’t think of too much to criticize here. I think I’d prefer it to be a little more on the sour end, but I am in awe at how drinkable this is. I would recommend this if you happen to see it in your local bottle shop, on tap, or if you go up to Montreal for a vacation.