Archive for Belgian

78 – Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor

Oh lordie we have ourselves some beer porn!

Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
brewery: Brouwerij Het Anker – http://www.hetanker.be/
style: Belgian IPA
abv: 8.0%
serving size: 22oz
glass used: snifter
price: $7.99

Overview
“Hopsinjoor” is a wordplay to for one thing the several hops which were used, and on the other hand the typical character of Mechelen of Gouden Carolus: the figure “opsinjoor” is intertwined with the history of Mechelen (see: www.opsinjoorke.be/Opsinjoorke/opsinjoor.htm).

4 types of hops are used: Golding, Spalt, Hallertau and Saaz. These hops were fractioned at several times in the cooking process in order to keep a maximum of aroma.

Regarding to taste we can say that the beer has a gentle, but nevertheless bitter aftertaste. Gold-yellow colour. Hoppy aroma.

What I think
Just LOOK at that head! Sweet God almighty I just stepped back and admired it for awhile. The body sits with an incredible golden hue which if you’re strictly an IPA drinker this could be a curve ball for you. The aroma was challenging at first. I picked up strong citrus upfront and that followed with a nose-full of hops. The taste brought on a sweetness that I was expecting but the carbonation was a bit high for my taste but the flavor was balanced with the amount of hops used. The finish was really what perked my interest. It started out sweet and ended semi-dry. Complexity is a great way to sum up this one.

Spoon’s rating: A-

Comments

76 – Ommegang Biere de Mars – 2nd Batch March 2008

I never had this style before and it was the last bottle on the shelf so I figured what the heck. A couple days before I opened this I started reading up on the whole Biere de Mars thing since I’ve seen it mentioned in a few articles about other breweries. You can also find this under a style called “Bière de Garde” which I haven’t seen much of in Western PA. For the sake of brevity you can read more about this style on the BJCP website.

Ommegang Biere de Mars – 2nd Batch March 2008
brewery: Ommegang – ommegang.com
style: Belgian Style Amber Ale / Bière de Garde
abv: 6.5%
serving size: 22oz
glass used: snifter
price: $7.99

Overview
Ommegang Bière de Mars is a Belgian-style amber ale with a bit of magical space dust woven in – Brettanomyces bruxellensis, a wild-yeast used in the secondary fermentation. The Brett imparts added tartness, a bit of zing and some farmhouse funkiness. Also dry-hopped, this new ale continues our exploration of using Brett for secondary fermentation in limited-release beers.

Bière de Mars reveals a copper-amber body and a frothy white head that builds, clings and stays. Aromas are of malt and grain, clove, fruit and a bit of funk. Flavors are full-bodied with delicate malty sweetness, followed by spicy, peppery yeastiness and Brett-induced funk. Hopping is subtly bitter and aromatic, bumped up a bit by dry-hopping. The finish is dry and gently lingering. At 6.5% ABV, Bière de Mars offers easy quaffing; it also pairs nicely with spicy foods such as barbecue.

What I think
Would you just look at that pour. Sweet Jesus I had to take a step back and admire that head. Go ahead look at it. Now the aroma… a big whiff of stale malt. Maybe that was the bit of funk they mentioned? Honestly it wasn’t a turn off as it may have been about 3 years ago when I started getting seriously into craft beers. The taste was dry and I picked up a date and very yeasty flavor. This was absolutely a new one for me. The finish was slightly dryer and surprisingly welcoming to a person who normally views dry and boring.

I do have to say that I disagree with the Ommegang website when they say it would “pair nicely with spicy foods such as barbecue.” My bbq is never spicy. I’m a sweet wet mop kinda guy. However I would steam some spicy mussels in it or site down with some of Lushie’s pepper hummus.

Spoon’s rating: B+

Comments (2)

73 – Avery Salvation

On my list of breweries I must visit, Avery is top 5. Part 2 in the Avery series of Holy Trinity of Ales. Lets continue…

Avery – Salvation
brewery: Avery – averybrewing.com
style: Belgian Strong Golden Ale
abv: 9.0%
serving size: 22oz
glass used: snifter
price: $7.99

Overview
The success of Hog Heaven and The Reverend clearly demonstrates that beer drinkers are willing to embrace “BIGGER” beers. In the fall of 2001, we decided that a lighter BIG BEER would complement its darker colored predecessors. Salvation has luscious apricot and peach aromas delicately interwoven with spicy suggestions of nutmeg and cinnamon. This heavenly soft, champagne-like elixer is cellarable for 3 years.

What I think
Absolutely gorgeous head and if I ever get the kitchen finished I can get decent lighting back. Appearance is golden and a stellar white lacing once the head settled.  The aroma was straight up Belgian with strong accents of fruit (I could really get peach over anything else) and yeast. Overall flavor had a stronger citrus than I expected but it was enjoyable. For a beverage of this light in color I was a bit thrown off by the medium body. It bounced between thick and medium. Finish was slightly bitter but very clean.

Spoon’s rating: A

Comments

72 – Avery The Reverend

This is from the now infamous $400 Beer Run that sickpuppy and I took to Vintage Estate in Boardman, Ohio; the mecca of beer stores. I love Avery and having a name like Father Spoon this is a given.

Avery – The Reverend
brewery: Avery – averybrewing.com
style: Quadruple
abv: 10.0%
serving size: 22oz
glass used: pint glass
price: $6.99

Overview
The Reverend, was created in tribute to the life of Sales Mgr. Tom Boogaard’s grandfather, an ordained Episcopal Reverend. Tom was inspired by the life of his grandfather and wanted to create a tribute beer that contained his sterling traits. True to both our “small brewery, BIG BEERS” philosophy and to the spirit and character of the departed Reverend, this beer is strong willed, assertive, and pure of heart, a heart of candy sugar. It contains as many authentic imported Belgian specialty malts as the brewers could cram into our mash tun, and lots of Belgian dark candy sugar stirred into the brew kettle. A divinely complex and beautifully layered beer with hints of dark cherries, currants, and molasses, complimented by an underlying spiciness. Sinfully smooth considering the high alcohol content. Cellarable for up to 4 years.

What I think
Lets be honest, if you’re drinking a Quad there’s a good chance there is only 1 unless you want to get seriously tuned up. I’ve tolerated Belgians before because I had to for reviews but not until recently has the flavor profile started to appeal to me. This one… sweet jesus almihght you need to pray to the Reverend.

The appearance was darker than I was expecting. I wasn’t expecting it to be a shade of amber but was pleasantly surprised at the grace of the head forming. The white balance was a bit off in that picture but none the less it was a creamy head. The body smacked me in the face. It was a tad on the thick side and quickly coated my palate with a syrup like feel. Surprisingly I enjoyed it… over and over and over again. The finish gave me some alcohol kick but thing that wouldn’t soon wash away with the next drink.

Spoon’s rating: A

Comments

65 – Flying Dog Raging Bitch

This was a tasty treat from Chris at Bocktown. I think she was tired of hearing me whine about not having this yet so with growler in hand I caved. Many thanks to her and the Bocktown staff for yet another great craft beer trip!

Flying Dog 20th Anniversary Raging Bitch
brewery:
Flying Dog – flyingdogales.com
style: Belgian Style IPA
abv: 8.5%
serving size: 64oz
glass used: pint
price: n/a

Overview
Bitches come in a variety of forms, but there’s never been something as sassy as Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch Belgian IPA. An American IPA augmented with Belgian yeast, our 20th anniversary beer jumps out of the glass and nips at your taste buds with its delicate hop bitterness. At 8.3% ABV, this bitch is dangerously drinkable.

What I think
Flying Dog doesn’t get enough credit in this area for the all out greatness of their beers. The Canis Minor series is probably the best variety pack available in the commonwealth. When Chris called that she had Raging Bitch in for a limited run I knew I had to get there.

Pouring form the growler you can’t fully appreciate the deliciousness in the picture of the head that was around when I poured it. But since I was a putz about lighting is fizzled quick. The aroma on this was straight up hops with a slight Belgian twang. None of that sissy nancy triple hopped Miller Lite bullshit. A fistful of Amarillo beating on your nostrils. Nice imagery eh?

The taste… ohmyfreakinglord the taste. Give me a moment… ahhhh hops, hops, little citrus, Belgian sweetness and more hops. It’s like chewing gum that Violet eats in Willy Wonka. Oh the next course… YUM! The finish was straight up rockstar goodness. Smooth with a slight hop aftertaste that was very flavorful.

Spoon’s rating: A+

Comments

59 – Stone Vertical Epic 09-09-09

Things have been crazy this week with that little thing called G-20 which has basically the whole world watching Pittsburgh. Next week we’re back to our regularly scheduled blogging… n’at

Throwing you a curve ball here with the planned beverages since this came in special delivery from Ohio.

Stone Vertical Epic 09-09-09
brewery:
Stone Brewing Company – stonebrew.com
style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
abv: 8.6%
serving size: 22oz
glass used: snifter
price: $8

Overview
This is quite a complex and layered beer. Bold and smooth chocolate malt flavors combine with a Belgian yeast lending tropical fruit/banana flavors and hints of spiciness, all complemented by citrus notes from an addition of tangerine peel. Rich vanilla beans add a nice counter to the chocolate malt – actually enhancing the chocolatiness. The finish is smooth, with additional traces of vanilla and toasted characters from French Oak. The goal for this edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series is to be reminiscent of artisanal chocolates accentuated with orange.

What I think
I’m always cautious about trying this series right away because I know that I’ll end up putting one bottle in my basement. Though that didn’t work well with a flooding basement so I have to start over.

First off the pour. Thick, dark and rich creamy head. Oh yeah, we’re already off to a good start. The nose was a bland chocolate, almost like a faded scratch-n-sniff sticker from grade school. The taste was extremely complex at first as I was trying to figure out what I tasting first. A little bit of chocolate, slight vanilla and a strong banana flavor. The body was medium and finished really smooth but I think this is still a young one and will benefit greatly from some time to mature downstairs.

My advice is buy 2 bottles. Drink one now, write down some notes and then drink the second one in a year… or you can wait for 12-12-12. Either way you’ll want to sit tight and i think this has the most potential of all the VE series I’ve had to date.

Spoon’s rating: B-

Imperial Stouts are generally known as Winter beers.  Because of their high alcohol content (in this case, 9.5% ABV), they tend to lay heavy on your tongue which some find less palatable in warmer seasons such as this.  But this beer doesn’t do that. It’s lush, yes — rich with malt and chocolate and slight hints of vanilla. With such a sweet overall balance of malt, it almost seems that the hops play a very minor role in the overall flavor of the beer. Even the roasted barley, one of the most integral ingredients of any Stout, doesn’t take over.  Ten Fidy almost seems like a beer that doesn’t take itself seriously, when it should. It couldn’t be less assuming. It is in a can, after all.Don’t judge this beer by its appearance in its package. Because once it’s in your glass, it’s a whole new ball game. Available coast to coast.  http://www.oskarblues.com/locations/

Comments

45 – Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique IPA

hdh45_stonecalibelgique

As you can see from the picture above I had some fun with this week’s selection. I’m always up for cooking with beer and since this past Sunday was Mother’s Day I figured it was my best chance to show mom the versatility of beer. Thanks to Tim at The Size of Life for sending me this bottle. It’s not available in PA so I let out an extra “squeeee”. Yes, you read that correctly.

The photo gallery of Mother’s Day Dinner I made with Stone can be found here.

Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique IPA
brewery:
Stone Brewing – stonebrew.com
beer webpage:
http://www.stonebrew.com/cali/index.php
style:
Belgian IPA
abv:
6.9%
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
snifter
price: n/a

Overview
When reading the name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA”, “Cali” hints that it is a California style IPA, and this brew has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French-speaking population says the word “Belgian”; the Dutch speaking Belgians say “Belgie”). We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the beer that is otherwise quite simply Stone IPA.

The result is both completely new and different, while still being recognizable as a Stone Brew – and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.

What I think
Based on looks alone this poured like a typical Belgian instead of an IPA. The hue was hazy yellow but a creamy beaut of a head. The aroma was strong with hops, floral and spices. At this point IPA wasn’t even on the radar for me which was starting to be a concern knowing Stone’s history for brewing a muscular IPA. The taste caught me off guard.  Piny, fruity, sweet then hoppy and finished not as bitter as I was anticipating. To say it was complex is putting it lightly and why I stress that you can’t appreciate a beer in a 6oz sample.

Spoon’s rating: B

Comments (4)

38 – Troubadour Obscura

hdh38_troubador

When Bar Louie in Cranberry opened I avoided it like the plague. Figured it was like the other locations around town and was nothing more than an overpriced martini bar. One night I broke down and gave it a shot since I was parched. With that came the discovery of…

Troubadour Obscura
brewery:
Brouwerij De Musketiers – troubadourbieren.be
style:
Belgian Strong Dark Ale
abv:
8.5%
serving size:
10 oz draft
glass used:
goblet
price: $3.00 (Happy Hour price)

Overview
Troubadour Obscura is a dark red beer with 8,5 % alc. and refermentation in the bottle. Poured in the special glass, Troubadour has a nice creamy foam head and a malty character with a nice little roasty flavor. Troubadour Obscura has a mild bitterness, which is a bit stronger in the aftertaste and a mainly malty aroma. The smell of roasted, burned wood is completed by a light chocolate touch. Troubadour is produced with 4 different types of malt, hops, yeast and water.

What I think
Happy Hour is always the best time to try new beers and if you’re in Cranberry Township, Bar Louie is a must. My history shows that I haven’t had good experiences with Belgian Strong Dark Ale’s but honestly I couldn’t read the tap handle and figured wtf, why not.

The bartender pouring didn’t give the pour much head but thankfully the glass wasn’t frosted so I could see the nice dark amber body. The aroma was tempting with a mild mix of fruits and spices. The taste was interesting. The second glass I had was a bit stronger. There was more malt with chocolate tones to it and I was loving it. The body was about medium with very little carbonation and a 100% smooth finish. This that night Troubadour is all I drink there now.

Spoon’s rating: A

Comments

23 – Green Flash Le Freak

You can thank that flu thing going around that knocked me out last week for a lack of updates. Still fighting the bugger but at least I can enjoy a beverage now!

Le Freak
brewery:
Green Flash – greenflashbrew.com
style: Belgian IPA
abv:
9.2
serving size:
22oz
glass used:
wine glass

A purpose of this site is not only to inform you about different views of craft beers out there but also motivate me to try different styles and find the appreciation that others have. I have no problem saying I’m not a fan of Belgian beer.  I know, it’s a sin. I’ve never been a fan of sweet, citrus or anything of that nature. It is because of this that I had to try the Green Flash Le Freak Belgian IPA.  A Belgian IPA? Yeah that’s what I said also.

At first I enjoyed a nose full of citrus and spices which lead to a punch in the nose of hops which really appealed to me. At first drink I wasn’t thrilled at all. In fact, I was disappointed. A few more sips and i started to taste the complexity of this beer and pick out different flavors. By the time I was finished I was craving more. Never has a beer started out with me ready to discard it and pull a comeback mirroring that of 3 goal rally late in the third to win 3-2 in regulation. That would be hockey, not soccer.

I always believed that if you truly want to sample a beer you need to have a pint, not a sampler glass. This beer re-enforced that belief for me. While sample glasses are nice, some beers need some space to knock your socks off. The head was a good 2 inches full and thick. The golden orange body was medium as it resembled a Belgian and also a light IPA. It had the flavor of an IPA but with a Belgian twang to it.

At $11.50 I would pick this up for a special occasion otherwise I’ll wait for my next one and savor that moment.

Spoon’s rating: A

Comments (2)

08 – Clipper City Holy Sheet!

hdh9_holysheet.jpg

Clipper City Brewery in Baltimore MD brings this week’s craft beer from their Heavy Seas series in the form of Holy Sheet Uber Abbey Ale (9%ABV).

Right off the bat I thought this to be a find as it was part of the Heavy Seas variety case I picked up from Save on Beer in Cranberry TWP. Holy Sheet comes out in February as a seasonal and not one I usually see around these parts.

The aroma reminds me of the banana bread my gram used to make back in the day. You know the kind, the same one the old ladies in the parish make for the church bake sale and that you wash down with a glass of milk. That’s the bread I’m talkin about!

There was little head on it which was a letdown since the aroma when I poured it was so delicious. It does carry a deep amber color which was visually appealing but had absolutely no lacing on the glass and in fact it runs down quick like soapy water.

The taste… *oye* Remember how I said I don’t care for barleywines? Well guess what, this one should be added to that category. It’s drinkable but leaves a strong barleywine bitterness in my mouth. In fact, imagine a civil war between hops and the malt. Gettysburg is your mouth. Well minus the 3 days of killing (i hope).

Would I buy this again? Not a chance. Would I drink if someone bought it for me? eh, maybe but only if I have to drink one. This is the first bad beer I’ve had from this brewery so I can say that this one surprised me. I’m hoping that tomorrow morning my stomach doesn’t have me screaming this beer’s name literally. Then we have problems.

Comments