Saturday, 18 December 2010

Back to Taras Boulba

As I approach my 300th beer tasting on this blog, it seems a good time to review my list of top ten Belgian beers. I’ve made a few changes to it here and there over the years, of course, but there still seems to be something unbalanced about it.

One thing that needs correcting is that some beers I enjoy quite regularly -- what some call “session beers” -- have taken a back seat to some rarely quaffed brews. But should something great be overlooked in a “best of” list just because it is relatively easy to find? Has familiarity numbed my sense of quality?

Perhaps the best example of this is Taras Boulba. I suppose I could have chosen another of the excellent beers for the Brasserie de la Senne, like Zinnebier or Stouterik, but Taras Boulba is the one that reaches out to me. I drink it quite often -- maybe so often that I’ve taken it for granted. But ever since I attended a tasting at which Yvan de Baets, the inspirational master brewer at De la Senne, introduced this beer, I’ve realised I really need to give it the credit it’s due.

Taras Boulba has got massive hop, with a bit of grassiness and a faint note of grapefruit pith. There’s a dryness in there that makes you want to take another sip. And as Taras Boulba has a fairly low alcohol level for a Belgian ale, 4.5%, you don’t have to think twice before doing so. I particularly like it on tap.

So, Taras Boulba has now joined my official top ten Belgian beers, and I think there may be a few other shake-ups to that list in the coming months.

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