Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rave reviews of Trois Pistoles and Unibroue 15

Today was a red-letter day for Unibroue press. First, Josh Rubin of the Toronto Star published a well-researched and thoughtfully-written review of Trois Pistoles. I am glad Josh's review included a few insightful quotes from our Master Brewer, Paul Arnott. Later in the day, William Brand of the Oakland Tribune penned a piece on Unibroue 15 (and he also blogged about it), raving about how this vintage ale has improved with age. For those keeping score at home, Unibroue 15 was bottled on 6 January 2006, so it is only about 15 months old now. Like its predecessors 10, 11, Edition 2004 and Edition 2005, Unibroue 15's flavor profile will undoubtedly exhibit more palate-pleasing complexity with the passage of time... a phenomenon that I'll discuss a future posting.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Of beer, blogists and Boston

I was in Boston during the past week to attend the Learning Management Colloquium, part of The eLearning Guild's Annual Gathering. Nearly all of my gurus/mentors in the practice of workplace learning (and the technologies that enable it) attended the Colloquium. Since they have so often inspired me with ideas, practical insight and great storytelling, I attempted to respond in-kind by conducting a private tasting on Thursday evening featuring selected beers from Unibroue.

Richard DelMonico, Unibroue's Regional Sales Manager for New England (and whom I affectionately call "Th' Godfatha"), hooked us up with one of his best on-premise accounts, The Publick House in Brookline. This marvelous Belgian-inspired beer cafe and eatery recently expanded to include another bar and a small dining area called The Monk's Cell, which offered us a cozy space to sample six of Unibroue's core brands: Éphémère Apple, Don de Dieu, La Fin du Monde, Maudite (on draught), Chambly Noire and Trois Pistoles. It was a privilege to present and describe these beers to several notable participants, including: Tony Karrer, Lance Dublin, Jay Cross, Mark Oehlert, Brent Schlenker, Stephen Downes, Judy Brown, Silke Fleischer, Clive Shepherd and Mark Prasatik, who are among the blogosphere's most prolific and well-respected thought leaders. (Okay, so Lance rarely blogs, but he talks enough to keep all of us occupied...) =)

During the event, I briefly described the styles and sensory attributes of each beer, which we tasted in ascending order of color (lighter to darker) and strength. Additionally, I discussed the inspiration for the brand names, including Quebec-centric historical and geographic references and in the case of Maudite and Trois Pistoles, the Québécois legends of La Chasse-galerie and Le Cheval Noir de Trois-Pistoles, respectively. It was my momentary contribution to the timeless art of learning-through-storytelling, which was well-suited for this group of verbose(!) learning evangelists whose attention seemed enhanced, rather than diminished, by the potency of these deliciously complex brews. Following three days of individual and panel presentations, idea-sharing, networking and some spirited debate on the topics of learning and enabling technologies, a few hours of relaxation with great beers and great friends was a welcome reward.

I must offer a toast of gratitude to the marketing staff at, who generously sponsored our private tasting; my friend and mentor Tony Karrer, who encouraged me to conduct the event; and David Ciccolo, owner of The Publick House/The Monk's Cell, and his superb staff (especially Remi and Dave) who made our group feel welcome during our first visit to Boston's most impressive shrine to the beer gods. Santé!