Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Truly a holiday miracle……

Dear El Treasuredete,

 Manu de Landtsheer called me on my cell phone last week and what he had to say was pretty surprising. In case you don’t know, Manu is the owner of Malheur Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium—and a key supplier to us since the first days of the club. In fact (and in the spirit of Michael Jackson himself, I digress a little here), the first time I met Manu was over a dinner in Antwerp—I think it was the spring of 2002—in the company of Ben Vinken (Bier Passion) and Michael Jackson. The Michael Jackson Rare Beer Club was just a concept then but Manu opened the conversation by telling us that he had been pondering the possibility of making a beer in exactly the same way that fine champagne is made and, if we would commit to taking it for our new club, he would commit the next eighteen months to the project. Of course, this was just an idea and there was nothing for us to taste but Michael knew Manu’s capabilities and immediately said yes. We shook hands and Manu went to work. What followed was magnificent. In the Fall of 2004, we introduced Malheur Brut Reserve to our members and, in successive years, we featured Malheur Brut Royale and Malheur Black Chocolate. Each was a brilliant champagne style beer and before we really realized it, Manu had launched an entirely new category—Bières Brut—in Belgium.

Then, in 2006, we convinced Manu to do a final champenoise style beer as a one-time special for the club—this being a version of the original Brut Reserve—but bigger than anything he had done previously. Manu agreed to name it The Michael Jackson Commemorative Selection in honor of the great man that had so much to do with the development of the category. Michael was still very much alive and wasn’t fond of the name—he said that calling it “commemorative” made it sound like he was already dead. But our argument prevailed this one time—they usually didn’t with Michael—simply because I told him that maybe it was a good idea to commemorate the living since they actually give a damn. And the rest, as they say is history. Michael loved the beer and it received massive accolades. Less than a year later, Michael sadly died. The commemorative took on the meaning Michael originally feared but I think I was also wrong—while he is no longer here, I am sure that Michael still gives a damn.

Enough digression. What Manu called to tell me was that they found 240 bottles of this famous beer at the Texas warehouse of their USA importer. Needless to say, I was absolutely amazed. Since I had consumed the last few precious bottles from my own cellar almost a year ago, my first question was with respect to how well it was ageing. I knew that the beer is date stamped with a best before of January 2008 but that really doesn’t mean a lot—many of Manu’s beers are even better after the best-before date—so the question was simply “how is this one holding up?” The answer was that there is sediment at the bottom (flakes) but when the bottle is chilled they disappear and the beer becomes a little cloudy. When it is opened, the natural carbonation is as intense as usual and all the flavors that made this beer great are intact. At this point what I can say with confidence is that the beer is still very good but that it is probably not going to get any better and, if you want it to drink rather than keep it as a memento, you should probably consume it by New Year’s just to be safe. All the same, if it fits with your plans, it is pretty compelling and a real opportunity to drink a little history. And that is the short story. Manu is honoring Michael by offering the beer to his many friends in the Rare Beer Club and we are happy to participate. To learn more about this astounding beer, go to this link to view Michael’s original tasting notes at  http://rarebeerclub.beveragebistro.com/downloads/RBCNews_SE06-1.pdf . If you want to place an order (3,6 or 12 bottles), just go tohttp://beveragebistro.com/MalheurMJBeer/ and we will get this historical beer to you in time to ring in a very special New Year. Of course, you can always call us at 888-380-2337 to discuss any questions you may have. And we all know that when it is gone, it is gone. Truly a holiday miracle……

I hope this beer will help you have a great holiday season!


Robert Imeson


The Rare Beer Club

The Question Now is How many do we need.  And I think it is a Need not a Strong Desire!

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