I saw this beer and couldn’t help but think of the Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte. Do you know the chap? He painted some fabulous stuff in the 1920s and 30s and one of his most famous was a picture of a pipe, plain and simple, with the inscription - ceci n’est pas une pipe written below and which translates into 'this is not a pipe'. It’s fittingly called the Treachery of Images - look it up if you are not familiar with it.
This simple juxtaposition of an image and contradictory text creates a three-way paradox; the pipe is obviously a pipe, but at the same time it’s possibly not a pipe because the painting tells you such and finally, it absolutely isn’t a pipe - because it's actually a painting of a pipe.
It feels like our Unibroue Belgian style IPA riffs on this surrealist humour. Ce n’est pas le fin du monde translates to 'it’s not the end of the world' and, well, it’s not is it, because it’s a bottle of beer. And yet, it is a product with a high environmental impact made using large amounts of energy and sporting a high carbon footprint making it very much part of what sort of feels like the impending end of the world.
The beer itself is quite a paradoxical proposition too - a Belgian Tripel that presents as a new world IPA. Is this even possible I hear you ask? Well, let's find out.
It’s a luminous gold amber in the glass with a pristine white head. The nose screams Belgium Tripel loud and clear with cloves, ginger, candied peels and banana notes swirling in a mist of hoppiness. The palate is where the IPA styling begins to appear more. It’s lighter than the nose would suggest with oodles of citrus flavours and a hop heavy, long bitter finish.
Well it certainly works - but is it an IPA with a Belgian twist or some kind of Indian Pale Tripel? Perhaps it should really be called Ceci n’est pas une IPA?
Regardless of what it is or isn’t, it will certainly have you sighing a long sigh of contentment, and dispelling any thoughts of impending doom. So maybe the name is actually spot on after all.