By Anita Smith
South Philly’s Devil’s Den is a craft beer-lovers’ paradise. The popular gastropub offers 17 rotating draughts, 200 bottled beers (everything from your run-of-the-mill brews to hard-to-find crafts and imports), plus delicious grub and a cozy fireplace that makes you want to pull up a seat and stay a while. That’s the kind of environment owner Erin Wallace strives for – a friendly neighborhood hangout.
Wallace also owns Old Eagle Tavern in Manayunk and is president of the local Pink Boots Society chapter, a nonprofit organization that supports women in the brewing industry. So it’s safe to say, she’s enjoyed her fair share of beers. Yet when it comes to her favorite, often forgotten beer, she was quick to name Quebec-based Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde, a Belgian triple with notes of fruit and spice, harmoniously blended for a beer that’s subtly sweet, yet bold in character and taste.
“I think a lot of imports have been forgotten lately because the trend has been towards more local beers, and bars are pouring more local products,” she says. “A lot of the classics, like La Fin du Monde, get overlooked because they’re not local… or new, or extremely hoppy.”
With an ABV of 9%, Wallace acknowledges that La Fin du Monde is “not a beer you’re going to have five of.” It should be sipped and savored, preferably alongside sharp or aged cheeses. Wallace likes to pair it with “sharp cheddar, a good blue cheese or Gorgonzola, because the sweetness [of the beer] plays off the strongness of the cheese.”
Wallace is not alone in her appreciation of this fine Belgian triple. La Fin du Monde has won more awards than any other Canadian beer in international beer competitions.
“Unibroue’s just one of those classic breweries. Every beer they put out is a good, solid brew. When I drink La Fin du Monde, I think, ‘That’s what every triple should taste like.’”