Fancy Pants Sunday: Scaldis Prestige De Nuits
Austrian Holy Roman Empress Maria-Theresa enjoyed taxes. When she discovered breweries brewing inside castles didn’t have to pay taxes, she stormed the castles. OK, her people did. In 1769, Joseph Leroy and his brewers left Ghissegnies Castle in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of southern Belgium, and set up shop across the street. Leroy founded what is now Brasserie Dubuisson Freres, the oldest brewery in Wallonia.
When Leroy wasn’t farming, he brewed. Most of his beer found its way to local farm workers, as well as the town folk in Pipaix, home of the brewery. Leroy saw some things. Napoleon camped on the farm. German requisitioned it in 1914 (and then again in 1940).
In 1931, brothers Alfred and Amédée Dubuisson, descendants of Joseph Leroy, decided to abandon the farm and to concentrate on the beer, naming the brewery, Brasserie Dubuisson Freres. Eight generations of Dubuisson brewers have passed on their skills father to son, and this family-owned brewery remains independent to this day.
The Dubuissons brewed a mix of English and Belgian beers — the name of the beer was English and the production method used both English and Belgian techniques. This is how the Bush Beer, the English name for Dubuisson Bier, first saw the light. The Bush Beer recipe has remained unchanged for 80 years and Bush/Scaldis is now one of the oldest Belgian brands on the beer market.
In 1990, Hugues Dubuisson altered the brewery’s restrictions and went nuts, adding: Scaldis de Noel in 1991, Scaldis Blond in 1998, Cuvee des Trolls in 2000, Peche Mel Scaldis in 2009, Surfine in 2014, Scaldis Prestige de Charmes in 2015, and our Fancy Pants Sunday Scaldis Prestige De Nuits in 2008.
Peaks and Pints Fancy Pants Sunday is a weekly look at complex, limited and delicious craft beer resting in our cooler, and the 2015 Scaldis Prestige De Nuits 2015 fits the bill.
Dubuisson’s Scaldis Prestige De Nuits is their Scaldis Noel, a Belgian strong dark ale, matured for six to nine months in Bourgogne de Nuits-St-Georges oak, a wine that is produced in small communes in France’s Burgundy region. The nose reveals jammy grapes, as well as some cherries, a waft of toffee and hint of alcohol, but it doesn’t really prepare you for the rush of flavors that follow. A sip draws out bright, woody, port-wine-like character, notes of bread crust, dried fruits, fermenting tobacco, a little oaky vanilla and a hint of leather before restrained, Flanders-like acidity cleans the palate. Rich, earthy pomace fumes rise after the swallow for a vintner’s finishing touch.
Prestige de Nuits warms the chest as it goes down, but you wouldn’t guess this beer is 13 percent alcohol by volume, as the booziness is very well masked.
You fancy Scaldis Prestige De Nuits.