Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fordham Tavern Ale

 
Fordham Tavern Ale

Brewed by:
Fordham Brewing Company
Dover, Delaware

American Pale Ale (APA)

5.50% ABV







Commercial Description:
Tavern Ale is top-fermented, making it an ale. It is a medium to full-bodied beer with a hoppy aroma. Tavern Ale is served unfiltered resulting in a hazy or cloudy appearance. It has a full malt finish with a well rounded bitterness. Tavern Ale is an American Pale Ale because of the large amounts of American hops which lends a distinct, almost citrusy flavor to the beer. Therefore, our Tavern Ales is quite different from the "spicy" or "herby" flavor of European hops.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$29.00 case

Background:
This was another gift from my friend Gene. So far I have not had a bad beer from Fordham. I have never had this one so I’m really looking forward to this review.

Review:
The beer pours a hazy copper color with a fairly rich an off white head.

The nose of this beer reaches you as you’re pouring with caramel malts and floral hop aromas. The malt and hop aromas are very nice. There is a certain complexity of hop aromas. Just when you settle on one hop aroma with a gentle swirl more complex aromas are released. The nose also has a nice sweet malt aroma as well.

Wow, that wasn’t bad at all. This beer has some malt and bite to it. The taste starts out with a slight malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue but that only last for a split second. It is immediately followed by a hop flavors and a very tingling effervescence over the tongue throughout the middle of the sip. The hop bitterness builds until you get to the back-end. Then at the back-end this unique hop experience just explodes with an additional release of carbonation during the swallow. At the finish you expect the bitterness to overwhelm the experience but it doesn’t. In the finish the sweet malts that were detected up front make there presence known. Nice almost caramel malt flavor along with a hop bite comprise the finish to this beer. The final aftertaste is a lingering hop bitterness and you still have a tingling sensation on the tongue.

I’m not a hop head and IPA’s are my least favorite craft beer style but this APA is good. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying such a hoppy brew.


The hop flavors in the beer are very complex; the aromas on the nose, the mid-sip, back-end and the finish are all slightly different hop flavors. I guess you can tell that I’m not an expert on hops and I’m having a hard time explaining the unique hop flavors of these brew.

Either I’m getting use to these hops or this beer in developing a maltier aspect to it as it warms. Either way I’m enjoying this more as it warms up a little.

Well there is also a refreshing aspect to this beer; mainly noted by the fact that it’s gone already.

All and all this has been a very enjoyable APA. I am really impressed with the hop flavors of this beer.

I’m going for a B- on this one. This is a very nice APA with a very complex hop presence on a caramel malt backbone. Even with all of these hop flavors I still did not find the hop bitterness overwhelming.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fordham Copperhead Ale


Fordham Copperhead Ale

Brewed by:
Fordham Brewing Company
Dover, Delaware

Altbier

4.70% ABV







Commercial Description:
Our Copperhead Ale is a copper colored German-style Altbier, with a light, malty sweetness and a pronounced hop flavor. Alt is the German word for old, referring to the older style of ale brewing. Altbier is Germany's pale ale. Copperhead Ale is top-fermented, making it an ale and it has a medium body. It has hints of maltiness and hoppiness in its aroma, with a definite hop flavor and a medium hop bitterness. Altbier is predominately brewed in the northern part of Germany, especially Dusseldorf and gets its "sweet roast" flavor and copper color from caramunich malts.
(ratebeer.com)


General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$29.00 case
Background:
I really can't remember where this one come from. It was either a gift from my friend Gene or it was a leftover from the tasting table at my last beer event, John’s Second Annual Craft Beer Event. I have had this once before but don’t really remember what it was like. I thought I liked it but I don’t have any notes on it. It will be interesting to see how it reviews.

Review:
The beer pours a clear copper with amber hues and an off white head.

The nose is nice with caramel malts and light hops with spicy notes.

Not bad. There is not as much of a malt flavor that I expecting but there is a nice refreshing aspect and an almost complex hop presence. Let me try to dissect this a little.

It starts out with very light sweet malts up front then a pleasant effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. There is also a building malt and hop robustness throughout the middle of the sip. The hop robustness turns into a real bite although the back end is still fairly easy to swallow; not effortless but easy. The finish has a nice hop bite along with a malty background. There is also an interesting spice or malt bitterness on the finish but even with this the finish is still fairly dry. This reminds me of the earthy malt flavor of some of the German beers mainly the Alt’s. There is not much of a final aftertaste, just slight hop bitterness and that malt flavor.

All and all this is a very enjoyable beer. With these unique flavors this beer as the ability to taste differently with each bottle depending on what you are eating with it or before it. You could easily pair this beer with a variety of different meats.

I like that this beer has a very refreshing quality and also a nice bite along with the malt flavors.

This beer also warms nicely; the last few sips were close to room temperature and still very enjoyable.

I’m going for a C+ maybe a B- on this one. It is a very enjoyable beer with a nice malt background and a mild hop bit. The earthy malt flavor may not be for everyone but I find it very enjoyable.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Samuel Adams Octoberfest 2010


Samuel Adams Octoberfest
2010

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Märzen / Oktoberfest

5.30% ABV



Commercial Description:
The first thing you notice when pouring a glass of this seasonal beer is the color. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest has a rich, deep golden amber hue which itself is reflective of the season. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest is a malt lover’s dream, masterfully blending together four roasts of barley to create a delicious harmony of sweet flavors including caramel and toffee. The beer is kept from being overly sweet by the elegant bitterness imparted by the German Noble hops. Samuel Adams® Octoberfest provides a wonderful transition from the lighter beers of summer to the winter’s heartier brews.
Beer vintage abv varies from 5.0% to 5.5%
(ratebeer.com)


General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$14.00 12 pack, ~$29.00 case
 
Background:
I owe this review to my friend Kirk who questioned my rating for this beer last year. Samuel Adams Octoberfest 2009
 I have had this beer many times and the experience seems to change almost from bottle to bottle.

Review:
The beer pours a clear amber with ruby hues and an off white head.

The nose is nice with caramel almost toasted malt aromas along with a nice floral hop aroma.

Well, I can’t say that it’s bad but I’m not going or good either.

It starts out with a malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue then a very pleasant effervescence in mid-sip. The back-end is very easy drinking. There are toasted malt flavors toward the end of the swallow. This malt flavor carries into the finish along with a dry hop bite and an almost spicy note as well. There is not much of a final aftertaste just a light hint of caramel malt and maybe some light hops as well. The hops in this beer are not bitter they are just enough for drying and leaving a light bite.

As this beer warms the flavors on the back-end and finish are getting more robust, well it maybe more harsh than robust.

Yeah, we are close to room temperature now and this is getting pretty bad.

This year’s brew is a little better than last years but not by much. I’m giving this a C. It’s not necessarily bad but it’s not very good either. It was very drinkable even enjoyable when cold but it developed off malt flavors as it warmed.

In my humble un-edgamacated opinion this is just not a well crafted Oktoberfest.

Now I have to add a final commentary about this beer.
This beer is fickle at best. I have had this several times this year. On one occasion I thought this was pretty good on draft. Then I had it at another location and throught it was very bad, I actually had a hard time finishing it. Now I also thought that this location needed to clean out their beer lines so that could be the reason.

I have also had this beer several times in bottles. Actually I have bought 2 12 packs this year on two separate occasions. Yes, how contradictory to say a beer is fickle at best but you buy it often. I do have to admit that this beer is great for slow cooking kielbasa and sauerkraut. And that has been the main reason for the purchases. But with each 12 pack purchase I have consumed a few bottles.

Again each time I have this beer it taste different. Sometimes it is very clean and refreshing with nice caramel malt flavors and a nice dry hop finish. And then there are other times that I can’t believe I’m trying this beer again. I would like to say it’s due to complexity but this is not a complex brew. I really cannot explain the changing flavors of this beer but it does appear to change substantially with each experience. These changes are not only from batch to batch but even from bottle to bottle within each batch. I appreciate the art of food/beer pairings but even that does not seem to explain this phenomenon.
  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Big Rock Traditional Ale

 
Big Rock Traditional Ale

Traditional Ale

Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery
Alberta, Canada

English Brown Ale

5.00% ABV






Commercial Description:
Noted for the smooth and mellow balance between malt and hops, its dark copper color flashes garnet when held to the light.
(ratebeer.com)

Background:
This was another gift from my buddy Gene. He picked this one up while traveling in Canada. I know nothing about this beer. I have never even heard of Big Rock brewing before. I was surprised to see that this was an English Brown, now I’m really looking forward to trying it.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark amber almost brown with a fairly rich off white to tan head.

The nose is delightful with rich sweet caramel malt aromas.  This looks great and smells great so let’s see what this Canadian beer taste like.

Well, not exactly disappointing but this first sip did not have the flavor that I anticipated from the color and nose of the beer. It’s not bad it just doesn’t have much going on.

The taste starts out with slight caramel malt sweetness then a fairly bland middle of the sip. The back end is very easy drinking but again with no flavor. By the time you get to the finish you are finally expected some of that great flavor that was anticipated by the nose only to be disappointed again. Well, I guess that’s not fair, there is some flavor in the finish. There is a light caramel malt flavor along with a slight hop flavor.

All and all this is not a bad tasting beer it is just a little disappointing from that wonderfully inviting nose.

It has warmed quite a bit and has not picked up anything unpleasant.

I’m going to give this a C. It is a very drinkable beer but it is not a very good English Brown. Although it has a gorgeous color and a wonderful rich malty nose it is severely lacking in flavor. Two out of three may not be bad for Meatloaf but it doesn’t cut it for this English Brown Ale.

  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Grimbergen Dubbel



Grimbergen Dubbel

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Alken-Maes

Belgium

Dubbel

6.50% ABV






Commercial Description:
Double has undergone two fermentations, which gives this ale a chocolatey, toffee taste with a warming brandy-like finish.

General Pricing:
330ml bottle, ~$11.00 6 pack, ~$40.00 case

Background:
This was a gift from my friend Andy. He was recently traveling in Belgium and commented on how good this beer was. He then found it here at State Line (link) and brought one in for me. It’s funny that with over 125 Belgians under that wide belt of mine I never had this one. I have seen it at the store and it has been recommended to me in the past but I have never picked it up. Well, now thanks to Andy it’s here chilling in the beer fridge waiting for me to try it. So let’s get started.

Review:
The bier pours a hazy dark brown with amber hues, almost completely opaque with just a hint of amber of the edges and bottom of the chalice. The bier produced a fairly rich off white to tan head. The head is diminishing but it looks like it will stick around and leave some lacing.

The nose is delightful. This is more like a Quad or Black (stout), very nice. There are rich aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits and those classic Belgian yeasty notes. This is extremely inviting I can’t wait to dive into it.

Wow, that was nice. Smooth, rich and creamy; what a wonderful first sip. The strange thing is that for as rich and creamy as it appears it is also fairly light and refreshing. I know that is a contradiction, maybe it will sort out as the review progresses.

The taste starts out with a dark malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. Then the most pleasant mid-sip with a building malt richness and creaminess. The malt richness never gets overwhelming or bitter it carries the most pleasant mouthfeel into the back-end. The back-end is extremely easy drinking for such a malty bier. There is a carbonation release during the swallow that seems to add a refreshing quality to this experience. This refreshing quality carries through to the finish. I think this is what had me confused on the first sip. The finish is where you expect the rich malts to linger and leave a stout like coating in your mouth. But this finish is fairly dry and refreshing for a Dubbel. Some may find this back-end and finish is watery for a Belgian Bubbel but it maintains a great malt flavor and then gives you a surprisingly unexpected refreshing finish. There is a slight lingering aftertaste of caramel to roasted malts along with a lingering yeasty note as well.

All and all I am quite pleased with this bier. It may end up low in a style rating for a Bubble but it is a very enjoyable brew. I only say that because Bubbels usually have a richer malt finish to them. Actually if this was one of the Trappist I would suspect that it was a young bier that needed to mature a little longer.

I’m going to let this warm a little and then get back to it. This has been so refreshing I’m almost finished the glass and haven’t given this time to open up any.

We are now at 65 degrees and this has really opened up. It is tasting more and more like a Belgian Dubbel as with warms. It may be that there is less carbonation now but at any rate it is smoother and richer than it was.

The head has never really quite on this bier. Even now when there are only a few sips left there is a nice protective layer over the top of the bier and it has left decent lacing all the way down.

Even those last few sips close to room temperature were pretty refreshing.

The Lees:
I’m not sure if this was bottle conditioned or not so let me pour the last few ounces and see.

It does not appear to be. The bottom the bottle taste pretty much like the rest of the bier. That may also be a slight negative for the Bubble style rating.

Ahhh, good to the last warm drop. Now that’s a major plus in my book.


Final Thoughts:
This bier is also fairly light in alcohol at only 6.5%. That is a typical percent for most Belgian Blondes/Pale Ales. In this case it really works to it’s advantage in making this very refreshing. At least you can have several of these and not feel it.

All and all I’m really enjoyed this bier. It is very light for a Bubble and it does not have the complexity of the style. It may have some shortcomings for a Belgian Dubbel but I think the positives more then make up for it.

My only real disappointment is that I only had this one; I would certainly enjoy having a few more right now. This has been a very nice experience and at only 6.5% this could replace a Leffe Blonde and be my everyday Bubbel.   

I’m going to give this one a B. That may be a little high for the style but this is such a clean refreshing bier I feel compelled to give it a B. It does lack some complexity and the rich malty finish that you would expect for this style but this bier more than makes up for that in its overall enjoyment.

Thanks Andy for sharing this excellent bier with me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dominion Octoberfest



Dominion Octoberfest

Brewed by:
Old Dominion Brewing Co.

Dover, Delaware, United States


Märzen / Oktoberfest

5.80% ABV




Commercial Description:
Octoberfest’s decidedly malty flavor comes from a generous portion of Vienna Malts. The maltiness is balanced by German and Czech Republic noble hops for dryness. The balance between the malt and the hops and the long, cold (30 degrees F) maturation process make this an exceptionally drinkable beer.
(RateBeer.com)

General Pricing:
12oz bottles, ~$8.00 6 pack, ~$30.00 case

Background:
This was another gift from my friend Gene. I have had a few Dominion beers but I have not had this one.

Review:
The beer pours a clear dark copper with amber hues and a fairly rich off white head. I can smell the rich caramel malts while pouring.

The nose is delightful with rich toasted caramel malt and floral hop aromas.

Not bad, Not bad at all. The taste starts out with a caramel malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue followed by a very pleasant effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end is very easy drinking and very refreshing. The finish is wonderful with toasted malts and a nice light hop finish. There is a very unique malt robustness in the finish and that also carries through to the final aftertaste. The robustness is not a malt bitterness but more like a German Alt (old) beer flavor. This is a very nice surprise for an American Oktoberfest. All and all I’m very pleased with this beer. Let’s see what happens as it warms.

We are now at 58 degrees. This beer is getting smoother and the malt flavors are definitely getting better. The malts are richer now, still with that nice German malt flavor/aftertaste.

This is so nice it’s not straying around very long; I’m almost to the bottom of the glass. And the only bad thing is I only have one of these.

The malt robustness gets more defined as it warms but never develops any off flavors. 

This is a B for sure. It’s a very nice Oktoberfest with a surprising German malt flare.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maredsous 10 Triple

Maredsous 10 – Triple

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV

Belgium

Tripel

10.00% ABV



Commercial Description:
Golden beer with a characteristically fresh bouquet and sweet after-taste.
(ratebeer.com)

General Pricing:
330ml bottle: ~$4.00-$5.00 each, ~$13.00-$15.00 4 pack, ~$76.00-$82.00 case
750ml bottle, ~$9.00-$10.00 bottle, ~$114.00 case


Background:
This is the last of my catching up reviews. There were a few beers that I had at my Second Annual Craft Beer Event that I did not have full reviews for. This is the last of them. I have had this beer several times and found it to be fairly robust for a Tripel but I have never given it a full review before. So let’s see how it holds up.

Review:
The bier pours a fairly clear dark copper with amber hues and an off white head. It is hard to tell if this 330ml bottle is conditioned. This poured very clear for a Belgian so I suspect that it is not. I did leave a few ounces in the bottle so we will know for sure when we get to the end of this review.

The nose is exquisite; sweet, with almost caramel malts, floral hops, light spice and yeasty notes. Such an inviting aroma, I can’t wait to dive into it.

Ahhh, this is smooth rich and creamy. The malt has more of a caramel, almost toasted flavor to it. This is much richer than most Belgian Tripels.

It starts out with sweet caramel malts up front, then a very nice almost creamy mid-sip mouthfeel. The back end has an effervescent carbonation release that masks a lot of the flavors. It is also surprisingly easy drinking or such a big bier at 10% ABV. The finish is where this all comes together; sweet caramel malts, sweet fruity esters and yeasty notes as well. The finish is also where you start to detect the alcohol in this bier. The alcohol is there but it is sweet and not overwhelming. In fact you would be hard pressed to find this a 10% brew, it taste more like 7 for 8%.   

What a delightful bier. Even at room temperature it is smooth and delicious.

Lees:
Yes, this was bottle conditioned. The lees are a little funky; tart and yeasty. Once again I’m glad I did not pour them into the main glass.

Final Thoughts:
This really is an exquisite Belgian Tripel. It does not have the complexity of some but the rich flavors that it does have are outstanding. The alcohol of 10% is masked fairly well but it does leave a very pleasant alcohol sweetness to the brew.

I’m going for an A- on this Triple. That may be a little high but a B+ didn’t seem fair. This is an excellent Tripel. It is lacking some complexity but more than makes up for that with the rich caramel malt flavors and sweet alcohol tasting finish. Even at room temperature it was smooth, creamy and delicious.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lindemans Pêche



Lindemans Pêche

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Lindemans

Belgium


Lambic - Fruit

4.00% ABV







Commercial Description:
A golden peach lambic with a sparkling appearance and fruity taste.

General Pricing:
375ml bottle, ~$6.00 each, ~$65.00 12 pack
750ml bottle, ~$9.00-$10.00 bottle, ~$110.00-$114.00 case

Background:
I have only had a sip or two of this bier in the past. I have added this to the bier list for my Second Annual Craft Beer Event so I figured that I should give it a full review. So here we go.

Review:
The bier pours a clear light copper color with a diminishing white head.

The nose is sweet with wonderful aromas of peach and yeast.

The taste is sweet with a very nice peach flavor. I’m really surprised how good this is.

I’m not going to give the normal play by play. This is very sweet from start to finish. There is also a very nice tingling effervescence over the tongue during the middle of the sip. There is an underlining sourness and natural peach fruit sweetness thought the experience. This is really more like a peach champagne than a bier but it is very refreshing and enjoyable.

Of all the Lindemans Fruit Lambics this is one that I can actually drink. OK I guess I should explain that. Most of these biers are very sweet and syrupy. Because of this I find them more suitable for toppings on ice cream or a wild berry fruit cup than drinkable. It’s just a style thing. Usually these styles of biers are too sweet for me. Now that I said that this is one that I can actually drink and I will finish this glass.

This bier has a nice natural peach flavor and it’s not overwhelmingly sweet. This one actually tastes more like a bier than the other Fruit Lambic that I’ve had.


I’m going for an A on this one. This Fruit Lambic is sweet, tart and a little sour with a great tasting natural peach flavor, all on a nice yeasty background. This Lambic actually drinks more like a bier than most of them. I can drink this Lambic and not think that it would taste better over ice cream.

Saison Dupont



Saison Dupont

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dupont sprl

Belgium

Saison / Farmhouse Ale

6.50% ABV








Commercial Description:
Saison Dupont is a classic Belgian farmhouse ale. This is a beautifully balanced, complex beer that has a refreshing fruitiness and long, dry finish. It is bottled unfiltered so it may be cloudy or have a slight sediment but this is normal and perfectly natural.

General Pricing:
330ml 11.2oz bottle, ~$5.00 each, ~$17.00-$18.00 4pack
750ml bottle, ~$9.00-$10.00 bottle, ~$96.00 case

Background:
This beer is my gold standard for this style. Since I added this to my Second Annual Craft Beer Event I figured I should give it a full review. I’m not expecting any surprises but it will be interesting to give it a full review.

Review:
The bier pours a hazy golden yellow with a fairly rich bright white head.

Ahh, the nose is to die for. Well that is if you like Belgian Funk. The nose is full with earthy aromas that you can only describe as funk. It is the earthiest aroma, and I mean earthy like farm dirt, earthy. There are also pale malts, floral hop and citrus notes on the nose.

Ahhhhh, Saisons just don’t get any better than this. This is a very unique taste with those earthy notes on the nose are exactly how they taste.
This is also a unique style that does not start out with sweet malts up front. Almost from the first sensory experience there is that funky earthy flavor. This earthiness builds throughout the middle of the sip. There is also a very nice effervesce over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end is very easy drinking with more carbonation release during the swallow. The finish is where it all comes together. The finish has a nice hop bitterness along with this funky yeastiness. I’m not sure bitterness is the right word this bitterness is nothing like an American IPA bitterness. But this bitterness is from the Belgian hops. The final aftertaste is a lingering yeasty earthy funk.

This is still, hands down my favorite Belgian Saison. I consider this the gold standard for Saisons.

Even as this warms a little it remains very refreshing. Of course you have to like that Belgian Funk, and I love it.

I purposely used a tulip glass for this review even though it is not the traditional glass for a saison. I knew that this bier produced a rich head. So I took advantage of the tulip design to capture that head and in turn add creaminess to the mouthfeel to this experience. Sorry if I lost you on that but it really did work. With each sip I also consumed some of this reach head. And that rich head adds to the mouthfeel of the bier.
With the diminishing head this only works for a few sips after each pour.

This is a solid A+. This bier is my “Gold Standard” for this style. It is a very refreshing, flavorful and down right Funky Saison. The earthy flavors and spicy notes mentally put me on an old Belgian Farm consuming one of these refreshing beers after a hard day’s work. The funky notes are not for everyone but I Love That Funk!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Blanche De Bruxelles

 
Blanche De Bruxelles

Brewed by:
Brasserie Lefèbvre SA

Belgium

Witbier


4.50% ABV





Commercial Description:
Witbier is a very old type of beer, a speciality of the farm-breweries of old Brabant. The master brewers used their very best crops to make this beer. Blanche de Bruxelles owes its natural cloudiness to the large percentage (40 %) of wheat that goes into its composition.

The natural spice aromas of coriander and bitter orange peels are added during the brewing process. The brewing method, which includes infusion, is very slow. The beer, which is not filtered, is bottled and refermented with yeast and brewing sugar. You need only take a sip of this delicious drink to appreciate the fresh and mellow flavour with its hint of orange. It is really not like any other beer.

General Pricing:
330ml, 11.2oz, ~$9.00 4 pack, ~$51.00 case

Background:
I have had this beer a few times at beer tastings at State Line Liquors and really liked it. I decided to have this on draft at my Second Annual Craft Beer Event. Then I realized that I have never given this a full review. So here we go.

Review:
The bier pours a hazy pale yellow straw with a bright white head.

The nose is delightful with sweet wheat and yeasty notes along with light citrus notes; very inviting I can’t wait to dive into this one.

Wow what a light and refreshing bier. This may end up being my new gold standard for Belgian wits.

It starts out with a hint of sweet wheat malts up front, then the most pleasant and refreshing effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back-end is still very carbonated but almost effortless to swallow. The finish is clean and refreshing; very light and somewhat dry. There is very little of a final aftertaste, there are just slight lingering notes of citrus and yeast.

I have had this several times at tastings but I never realized how enjoyably refreshing this is.

Throughout the tasting there are very pleasant notes of citrus and light fruits. This is extremely refreshing.

As this warms a little there are some noticeable spicy notes that I did not sense when it was cold.

This is going to be a short review since I only have one bottle and it’s so refreshing and easy drinking it’s just about gone.

This may not be the most flavorful Belgian Wit but it may be the most refreshing.

This is a solid A maybe even an A+. This is a most refreshing Wit with light notes a citrus and a hint of spice with a sweet wheat yeasty background. And at 4.5% I could drink this all day long. This is may be my new Gold Standard for this style.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Affligem Blond


Affligem Blond

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Smedt / Brouwerij Affligem

Belgium

Belgian Pale Ale (Blond)

6.8% ABV






Commercial Description:
Affligem Blonde, the classic clear blonde abbey ale, with a gentle roundness and 6.8% alcohol. Low on bitterness, it is eminently drinkable.
(ratebeer.com)

Background:
In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you that this is one of my favorite Belgian Blondes. Leffe is my favorite “go to” everyday blonde but Affligem is just behind it. I have added this to the bier list for my Second Annual Craft Beer Event and then realized that I have never given this a full review. So here we go.

Review:
The bier pours a clear golden yellow with orange hues and a bright white head.

The nose is delightful with light pilsner like malts, and sweet aromas of citrus, light fruit esters and those classic Belgian yeasty notes. The nose is very inviting; I can’t wait to dive into it.

Oh my, this is clean, crisp, highly effervescent and very refreshing. It’s no wonder that this is one of my favorite Belgian Blondes. I’m glad I bought a 6 pack because I’m already thinking about my second bottle and I’m only on my second sip of this one.

It starts out with a light malt sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue. Then in mid-sip there is the most pleasant effervescence and cleansing feeling over the tongue. The back-end is extremely easy drinking. There is still a good amount of carbonation released during the swallow. It tickles the whole way down kind of like how a soda pop would. The finish is fairly dry but there is no bitterness whatsoever. There is also a nice bite to the finish of this bier but it’s not a hop bitterness it’s a spicy note. There is not much of a lingering aftertaste but there are notes of yeast and citrus.

This was so refreshing it’s gone I’ll have to go for the second bottle to continue.

Ahh that’s better.

Now that I’m taking my time with this second one I’m realizing how flavorful this bier really is. The finish and aftertaste is much more robust than it was earlier.  Well, I’m not sure robust is the right word this is a light Belgian Blonde. But the finish is developing more character as the bier warms up. There are also maltier flavors and stronger spice notes now.

Sorry I’m to lazy tonight to get out the thermometer but we are approaching room temperature and this is still a very good Blonde.

I’m going for a B on this Blonde. This is a great everyday Blonde; clean, crisp and very refreshing with just the right amount of citrus and spice. There may be better Belgian Pale Ales/Blondes out there but probably not as refreshing as this one.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Trappist Westvleteren 12

 
Westvleteren 12

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Westvleteren

(Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren)

Belgium

Quadrupel (Quad)

10.20% ABV






Commercial Description:
Westvleteren has the smallest output of the Trappist breweries, with only a small part of their production available outside of Belgium.

Background:
This is real bucket list stuff. I really never thought that I would have a chance to try this one. I guess the easiest thing to do for background is to refer you to my previous post. Westvleteren 12

One thing a can add is that my good friend Kirk also lent me his Westvleteren glass to review this bier in.  I guess it’s also worth mentioning that this is my 200th beer review. So let’s get this show on the road.

Review:
The bier pours a very hazy dark brown with amber hues and a fairly rich off white to tan head.

The nose is exquisite; rich dark roasted malts, wonderful notes of caramel, dark chocolate, dark fruit esters and yeasty notes. This is extremely inviting.

Well here we go…

Give me a minute while I try to compose myself.


WOW does not come close to describing this exquisite bier. My only problem is that the expectations for this bier are extreme so I’m having a hard time second guessing the experience.

The first sip was amazing. Sweet rich roasted malts up front on the tip of the tongue then the most exquisite creamy mouthfeel throughout the middle of the sip. The back end was extremely easy drinking for such a rich bier. There is also a high carbonation release during the swallow that mask a lot of the flavors. The finish is nice, very nice with sweet rich malts and notes of dark fruit, sweet caramel and that classic Belgian yeastiness. Most of these flavors carry out through the final aftertaste. There is also the most exquisite malt coating throughout your mouth. Just Amazing.

I keep thinking whether this is as good as the hype or not. But I’m trying to suppress that for now and just enjoy this bier and see where it takes me as it warms and opens up a little.

It sat for a few minutes out of the 40 degree beer fridge before I opened it. By the time I got a few pictures and finally sat down to review it the bier was around 50 degrees.

I’m in no hurry and have only had two or three sips so far. I’m going to let it sit for a few more minutes and continue review.

The head has diminished to a nice protective cover over the top of the bier. There is a nice ring around the edge of the class and it is leaving some lacing.

Ahhh man, this is just getting better and better as it warms and opens up. We are now at 58 degrees. What a bier! I’m still trying to leave the hype behind me but this is a great Belgian Quad with or without the hype.

St. Bernardus Abt 12  and Malheur 12 Are currently on the top of my list as the best biers for this style. I can honestly say that right now this exquisite ale is inching its way past both of them. The complexity and exquisite mouthfeel of this bier is by far superior to both of them. As for the absolute flavor profile it’s hard to say without doing a real head to head with the other Quads. So let’s get back to reality and continue sipping what’s in front of me.

I am really impressed with the rich creamy mouthfeel of this bier.

I thought the complexity would increase as the bier warms but surprisingly enough there has not been much change as it is warming.

We are now at 65 degrees. And I’m getting to the bottom of this glass. This really has flattened out. Well, that doesn’t sound too good let me explain. Early on I perceived a complexity and I expected each sip to be different as this bier warmed. That did happen up to around 58 degrees. But from 58 to 65 there rally was no change. Again I need to deal with what’s in front of me not what I expected.

I’m down to just a few final sips and we are just about at room temperature at 68 degrees.

Wow that last sip was still great. So all hype aside this is an outstanding Belgian Quad. Is it the “Best Beer in the World”? I really can’t say but I can say that this is an outstanding Belgian Quadruple and most likely the best in it’s class for sure.

The other thing is that this is still pretty young. You have to remember that my friend Kirk just picked this up at the monastery in July and it is only October 2nd. I thought about cellaring this for a few years but I just had to open it and do this as my 200th review.

Let me do the lees and then I’ll give my final thoughts.

Lees:
The lees really don’t look that intimidating. They are a very dense brown, completely opaque with no light getting through at all.

It is a little bitter but not overwhelming. I’m still glad I did not pour them into the bier. They are also very yeasty. Wow, that final sip was pretty harsh. All and all as far as lees go these were not too bad.

Final Thoughts:
Best beer in the world?
Honestly, I have has more complex artisan biers from Belgium that I have liked better than this one so I can not go along with this being the best beer in the world. But is this the best in style for a Belgian Quad? Well, I may have to agree with that.

The bottom line is that is an exquisite Belgian Quad and most likely the best in class. I’m sure it will only get better with age. For such a young bier to be this exceptional means a lot. This must be outstanding after cellaring for a few years.

For a final rating I’m going to give this an A+.  Even with this being a young bier it is still an exquisite Quad and may be my new gold standard for this style. This is an exceptionally malty Quad with and most exquisite creamy mouthfeel. Rich malty goodness to the very end.