Belgium is one of the leading beer making countries in the world. Their brewing origins date back to the middle ages and are now claim the 4th largest population of breweries in all of Europe. Belgians are known for their Trappist ales. Trappists are an order of Roman Catholics who follow the rule of St. Benedict. Belgium is also known for it’s Abbey Ale’s. Abbey’s aren’t made in monasteries but they either have an agreement with a Trappist brewery or they are using the name of a defunct monastery. In other words, in Belgium, it’s the monks who make the drunks!
I recently went out on a Belgian beer tasting and thought I would share my thoughts.
– Belgian Brown Ale
– 9.5% ABV
– Brasserie Caracole Brewery in Falmignoul, Belgium
This Southern born ale is a complex and strong. At 9.5% ABV, you can really taste the alcohol. It’s sweet like fruit, dark and has a tart caramel like flavor. It’s not too carbonated and finishes smooth. This is for beer drinkers by beer drinkers or monks…but who is counting?
– Belgian Strong Pale Ale
– 8% ABV
– Brasserie d’Achouffe in Achouffe, Belgium
La Chouffe is bottled unfiltered, pours heavy with a nice head and is brewed with coriander. It’s not heavy but the spices give it a slight taste of pepper. The ale is very bubbly, hoppy and has an overall unique presentation to the mouth. Chouffe in Belgian means “gnome” and in English La Chouffe might mean “the delicious.”
– Belgian Strong Pale Ale
– 8.4% ABV
– Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium
Named after an 18th century innkeeper, Kwak is a full bodied Belgian ale, that much like other Belgian beers, comes in it’s own branded glass. This glass however, is quite unique. It’s made to look like a small “yard of beer” and is served in it’s own wooden stand. The ale tastes darker than it looks with a smooth yet hearty grain flavor and sweet undertones. It maintains a healthy looking head and has a spicy aroma. I rarely pass up the opportunity to have one.
– Belgian Strong Dark Ale
– 8.5% ABV
– Troubadour Brewery in Ursel, Belgium
The Obscura has a malty, roasted flavor with a hint of coffee and chocolates. The beer tastes almost like a barley wine. You will find this to be a smooth and rich beer. You may also find yourself drinking 4 of them, like the musketeers that influenced the brewery’s name.
For what to eat with these beers, read the post on one of our sister sites, Burger Conquest.
Gotta give it to the Brooklyn Brewery, once again. Their regular beers all hit the mark as if they’re the Robin Hood of breweries. Their in brewery crafts are mega-crazy as if they’re mad scientists. Its the ultimate in beerdom.
Their Autumn seasonal Post Road Pumpkin Ale is a real winner. It has all the attributes of a great ale with just enough pumpkin flavor to make you think it tastes like the pie of the same name. The spices are distinct, the creaminess is apparent yet subtle, the color is strong and the taste is smooth.
Its definitely one of the best pumpkin beers available.
For the past 8 years, Old Forester has released their “Birthday Bourbon” on September 2nd in honor of the founder of Brown-Forman. I’ve had a chance to try the 2009 edition and it has quickly become of my favorites with a sweet taste that is surprisingly smooth for something that is 97 proof.
Here’s the official press release…
Old Forester Releases 2009 Birthday Bourbon Edition
Award Winning Bourbon Celebrates Founder’s Birthday
Louisville, Ky. – Old Forester has released this year’s expression of its Birthday Bourbon in honor of George Garvin Brown, the founder of Louisville-based Brown-Forman and Old Forester, America’s First Bottled Bourbon™. Launched seven years ago to commemorate Brown’s Birthday on September 2, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is a limited-edition, historically award-winning bourbon and a must-have for bourbon enthusiasts.
“This year’s vintage release of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is crafted from a 98 barrel batch,” said Chris Morris, master distiller of Old Forester. “These barrels were stored in the small warehouse B and larger warehouse J, on their 5th and 8th floors respectively. These upper floor locations exposed the barrels to a great degree of heat during the summer months which resulted in a rich, complex maturation profile.”
Unlike the standard Old Forester, which is a blend of whisky from several different years, Birthday Bourbon is a vintage-dated bourbon, hand-selected by Morris from one specific day of production. The result is a one-of-a-kind character and flavor that will never be replicated again. Its unique decanter style glass bottle is a throwback to the late 1800’s when Old Forester was first produced.
Since its introduction in 2002, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon has received unprecedented acclaim and has collected honors from USA Today, Malt Advocate, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Santé. A favorite among critics, Old Forester Birthday Bourbon has taken home gold from numerous tasting competitions including a gold medal in the 2005, 2006 & 2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 2007 expression was also named American Whiskey of the Year at WhiskyFest New York.
Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, a Brown-Forman product, has a suggested retail price of $39.99 and is sold at most liquor stores with a wide and varied range of bourbons. The 2009 edition of Birthday Bourbon is bottled at 97 proof, to correspond with the year it was distilled, 1997.
A pictoral ode to beauty, skill and craftmanship at a Mets home game.
While on a recent trip to the Brooklyn Brewery for their tour, I tried their newest creation, the Japanese inspired Sorachi Ace. Made from the hops of the same name, this unfiltered Saison / Farmhouse Ale chimes in a 6.5 ABV% and is meant to be drank during the summer. It has a light but opaque color due to it’s unfiltered nature. This means you can drink as much as you like without getting a hangover. It has a very unique lemony zest bold and refreshing flavor with an aroma so strong, you can smell it in other dimensions! This is a must try for beer advocates.
My Dad’s favorite beer growing up was “DAB” (short for Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei) and to my young taste buds, I couldn’t see the appeal of this bitter German lager. Then when I realized my father of German descent had the same initials as the beer, it all became clear. Dortmunder was first crafted in the 19th century as a coal and steel miner’s beer in along the River Ruhr in Germany. With 5 ABV%, this brightly colored Golden lager is a corner stone of biergardens all over the world. The taste is sharp and bitter, yet it finishes clean. DAB hold sis flavor whether served ice cold or room temperature like when you get to the bottom half of a giant mug.
One of my fave qualities to look for in a beer is a brew that has been unfiltered. That means they leave all the yeast and nutrients in the beer, giving it an opaque and often cloudy look. I recently came upon the “Hazed and Infused” dry-hopped ale from the Boulder Beer Co (Colorado’s first microbrewery) and decided to a sip or 20!) It’s unfiltered and made with centennial and crystal hops. With a 4.9 ABV%, this tasty ale starts bitter but finishes clean with some distinct sharp fruit tastes. A true winner for a unique and tasty craft brew.
Not one to enjoy fruit beers, I was very intrigued when I heard about the 21st Amendment’s Brewery “Hell or High Watermelon Wheat.” Each batch is made with 400 lbs of pressed watermelon. That is my fave Jolly Rancher candy and I love wheat beers, so why not!
At 5.5 ABV%, the beer is sharp first at first and finishes off more like a champagne. There’s a definite taste of Watermelon but in a seltzer like carbonation.
Can’t say I was a huge fan but it certainly is unique.