This is not a blog of breaking news, but I couldn't avoid this -- particularly as people are phoning me about it!
The newswires here in Belgium are buzzing with information that Westvleteren is in talks with the Colruyt supermarket chain to distribute its famously delicious and equally famously difficult to find beer. Apparently the abbey needs repairs, so the monks may break with their long tradition of single-point distribution.
For those who read Flemish or can put up with a machine translation, there's more here and here.
If Colruyt can land a deal, it would be brilliant. I don't believe the romantic notion that Westvleteren's rarity somehow makes it taste better. As long as the abbey's production methods remain the same, wider availability is only to be welcomed.
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast
And it could hardly get geekier than Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast. After sampling the wonderful Mikkeller Monk's Elixer, and having read so much about Breakfast, I'm expecting great things here.
Let me just note, however: I am not actually drinking this beer at breakfast. It's just after a late lunch, actually.
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast pours a rich "inner darkness" black, with a thin tan foam like the crema on cup of espresso. This is logical enough, as this oatmeal stout is made with coffee.
The taste is deeply burnt malt and hop-and-coffee bitterness, loaded with the flavours of baked raisins -- the kind you find at the edges of a raisin bun, where they've blackened against the tray in the oven. The lingering bitterness means this sipping beer lasts a long time. It's cold coffee left in a cup and rediscovered in the late morning, mixed with scalded molasses and 86% cocoa chocolate.
Wonderful stuff. Life is good.
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Den Herberg Bruin
After that last disapppointment, I think it's only fair to give something else a try. So, off to a new tasting of another beer I've never heard of before: Den Herberg Bruin.
It pours a fantastic butterscotch colour, particularly after you add the significant amount of yeasty mungness from the bottom of the bottle.
The taste is creamy and mildly malty, low on hop. It's a tremendously smooth caramel delight, actually. It's hard to imagine a more velvety beer.
Despite the lighter colour and the relatively low alcohol level (5.5%), this beer is actually not very far in taste from dark Trappist fair.
In short: moreish.
Opening the bottle, I got an instant whiff of cherry. Unmissable, in fact. And then, it's there in the taste, too: a bit of a cherry soda or even cough syrup. This is somewhat odd for something that's not a lambic.
Actually, it's all a bit too overpowering. Not really for me, I'm afraid.
But still, it's a nice afternoon on the sun-trap terrace, and that label looks great.
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