On their fantastic website, Quebec Canada’s brewery Unibroue claims that Blanche De Chambly is “the first refermented white beer brewed according to Belgian tradition in North America.” Introduced in 1992, this witbier has an ABV of 5% and contains 10 IBUs, on par for the style.
Blanche De Chambly pours a clear golden color with a fluffy white head. The carbonation is very lively in the beer and the large bubbles stream from the bottom of the glass, giving it a champagne-like quality. This is a bottle conditioned beer containing live yeast that will cloud the color of the beer if they get into your glass. I did not get any cloudiness since the yeast was caked onto the bottom of the bottle. Perhaps it’s an older bottle, but I’m drinking it a couple months before the “best by” date on the label. The aroma starts with coriander and lemon zest notes up with breadiness from the malts and some yeast twang in the background. It’s a very refreshing aroma that lacks any hops or alcohol as expected for the style.
The first thing I noticed when drinking Blanche De Chambly is the smooth and refreshing light taste it has. Visually the champagne like carbonation looked like it would be too much but it’s much milder on the tongue. The initial spice notes of coriander appear on the front of the tongue but are quickly gone. The spices are not overpowering like some witbiers. Mid tongue the lemon really comes out to dominate the flavor with some pineapple notes as well. If they brewed with orange peel as is traditional in many witbiers, I’m not detecting any. The combination of the yeast and wheat produces a lot of lemon zest tang but there is a subtle bready taste on the back of the tongue. The finish is on the mild, drier side with lemon and clove characteristics shining through.
Blanche De Chambly is a very refreshing witbier that works best in the summer due to its focus on citrus rather than spice characteristics. I would have preferred a bit more spice, particularly clove in the taste and more of a medium body. I know many people like to add some yeast to the beer for further complexity in the flavor profile but I was unable to do so with my bottle. Nonetheless, Unibroue has produced a solid white ale in the Belgian tradition.
Beer Geek Nation rating: B-
Beer Advocate: B- / 3.4
Rate Beer: 3.5