This Week in Beer

Friday, January 27, 2006

It's Friday. It's Beer:30 in the afternoon. It's time to drink.

1) La Brasserie d'Achouffe La Chouffe. Apparently, a "chouffe" is a legendary little gnome that brews beer in the forests of Belgium. I will attest, this is magical stuff. Smells of caramel, honey, apple and peach. That same delicious, champage-like fruit up front, followed by malty mellowness and that characteristic Belgian spiciness. Perfect Belgian artisinal. 9/10.

2) Brasserie d'Orval Orval Trappist Ale. I seems to be on a theme so far of beers brewed by monks. Many Belgian beers are brewed by monks in monasteries, from as recently as the 1950s to as early as the 1500s. This is a fine specimen of a Belgian...looks like grapefruit juice with a huge frothy head. Grapefruit tartness with a black pepper spiciness. Creamy on the palate. Just more damn perfection. 9/10.

3) Abbaye Notre Dame do Scourmont Chimay Cinq Cent. More monks, more beer. Monks are apparently patient enough, what with all that prayin', that they have time to brew amazing beers. This alone; the fact that Belgian monastery-brewed beers are so friggin' good, is absolute evidence of the existence of God. Incontrovertible. 9/10.

4) Ommegang Hennepin. I am stopping just shy of calling this an "orgasm in a bottle" because that could totally be misconstrued to be something like that scene in American Pie with the beer I will instead just say: Oh. My. God. This is a farmhouse saison-style beer. It's an all-American brew from Cooperstown, based on the Belgian farmhouse-style brews. Thick, fluffy head, light, hazy golden body. Honey, pepper and grain on the nose. Lemon, tart, honey, biscuits up front, followed by that lovely, mellow clove taste. The spiciness lingers, and finishes with a dry, nutty taste. Belgians prefer this to even some of their own. 9/10.

5) Bell's Brewery Special Double Cream Stout. Okay, so sometimes names get a little long, sort of like Spanish Imperial Royalty names. Pitch black beer with a coffee-colored head. Sticky lace, smells of sweetened coffee and cinnamon rolls. Thick, creamy mouthfeel with molasses, raisins, coffee and toffee. Gets a bit prickly as it gets warmer, but gets that Bell's oxidization. 7/10.

6) Dragonmead Altbier. Dragonmead is brewing one beer per category for each category in the World Beer Competition. Overachievers. This altbier is a nice dark brown, and is...extremelyt well-balanced. Perfect carmelized sugar, malty sweetness, almost no hops presence. Light carbonation makes this creamy and infinitely enjoyable. This, my friends, is an all-night session beer. It just sits with you, beer after beer. 8/10.

7) Founders Brewing Company Devil Dancer. I love Founders' balanced. This is a great specimen of an American Double IPA. The aroma is just unrelenting hops; resinous, abundant, and in-your-face. They added huge malts, too, to try and tame this hop monster, but they lie in the background crying. Creamy mouthfeel, not at all watery. Not for the weak. Drink it with Indian food ordered extra-hot in an authentic restaurant, and this beer will tame it. 9/10 if you're a hop-head. You wimp.

8) Bell's Brewery Java Stout. The aroma here is just lovely; like fresh coffee from that really good cafe on the corner. Not that generic Starbuck crap, but coffee from that crazy dude who really understands coffee on a spiritual level. The coffee dominates the taste as well, but I also noted blackberry or currants. There is a good amout of bitterness, however it seems to come from both the coffee and the hops. 8/10.

9) Founders Brewing Company Black Rye. Actually softer nose than you'd think; dark rye bread, not much coffee at all. Interesting citrus twang on top of spicey hops, which blend nicely with that rye taste. Ahint of chocolate underneath makes this a truly complex but surprisingly light beer. Not as thick as I'd have guessed. Very drinkable. 8/10.

10) Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Steam. A true American classic, and the beginning of the microbrew revolution. No other brewery in the world brews this kind of beer, so savor and love this, you patriotic, upright citizens. Clean smell, slight sulfur notes and maybe....bubblegum? Heavy carbonation with a complex, raw feel to it. Grain and hops tannin with nicely roasted malt sugariness, with fruitiness. Hops are bitter, but do not at all overshadow the malt sugar. Soft on the palate with a dry finish. Great all-around beer, and one that I use to introduce macro-lager drinkers to the world of micros. 8/10.

I am thrilled silly with the selections in my fridge this week; hope you get the chance to try some.


WestEnder 5:21 PM  

We have a 10-letter limit on our beer in the U.S. of A. you America-hating sonofabitch.

Seriously, though... are these selections available in multiples or only as single bottles?

Smitty 6:11 PM  

America-hating?!? I pointed out quite strongly that Hennepin, an American beer, is preferred by Belgians over some of their own! America rules!!

Though I do understand your're being outrageous statement deserves an indignant reply!

All joking aside, the Belgians usually come in individual 22-oz. bombers, corked-and-wired, not capped. Founders stuff is normally 12-oz bottles and usually comes in 4-packs and all the others are 12-oz in 6-ers.

Interested in some? I can make some arrangements, if you wish.

Anonymous,  9:34 AM  

Drinking and Politics:


grandpaboy 11:42 PM  

Thanks for the recommendations.

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