Beer #137 Alpine Captain Stout

Alpine Captain Stout

Name:  Captain Stout

Style: American Stout.

Brewery: Alpine Beer Company  website.

Country:  USA

Region:  Alpine, California

ABV: 6.0% Abv

How served: 22oz capped bomber poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.           

My Overall Opinion: Good.

I paired this beer with: nothing

Tasted on:  Wednesday August 18th, 2010. 

Note:  This beer pours a very dark brownish black with a thin fluffy dark tan head.  The head dissipated rapidly leaving only a minimal lacing on the glass.   The nose is roasted malts & strong coffee.  The initial taste is of coffee followed by sweet roasted malts then mildly bitter chocolate.  The mouthfeel is of a mild to medium smooth texture with carbonation on the low side.  This beer had a nice drinkability factor and was quite pleasant overall.

On the Label:  Captain Stout will take charge of your tastebuds with its rich flavor.  Leading the crew is the big, roasty malt character that has hints of chocolate and coffee which balanced the smooth velvety finish.  The thick creamy head lasts and lasts, leaving lace in your glass as your beer disappears.  This beer pairs well with food.  Enjoy it with dinner or even with a rich vanilla-bean ice cream dessert so… Drink Alpine Ale or Go To Bed!

From their website:  A Chocolate Oatmeal Dry Stout
The Captain is leader of a fire crew. This beer takes charge of your taste buds with its rich flavor. Roasty malt character that has hints of chocolate and coffee which balances the smooth, velvety finish. The thick, creamy head lasts and lasts, leaving lace in your glass as your beer disappears. This beer pairs well with food. Great with dinner or as breakfast or even with a rich vanilla-bean ice cream. 1.060 OG 31 IBU 6%ABV

Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation!

Beer #136 Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Aged In Trousseau Barrels)


Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Aged In Trousseau Barrels)

Name:  Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Aged In Trousseau Barrels)  TR5

Style: Bière de Garde on Beer Advocate & is listed as a Sour Ale on Rate Beer but it tastes more like a Flemish Red to me.

Brewery: BFM Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnes website.

Country:  Switzerland

Region:  Saignelégier

ABV: 11.0% Abv

How served: 375ml capped bottle poured into my Oerbier glass.          

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: Grilled Tilapia which has been brushed with olive oil, splashed with lime jucie & sprinkled with pepper & salt.  It was served with a watermelon gestapo and a butter squash.  This pairing was excellent.

Tasted on:  Monday August 16th, 2010. 

Note:  This is a Very Limited Edition. This is batch TR5, which was Brewed in May 2008 and Bottled in January 2009. 

This beer pours a brownish red with a minimal white head on an aggressive pour.  There is no lacing in the glass and the head dissipated rapidly.   If you try to look through the glass you can’t, but at an angle you have a clear “rim” around the glass.  The nose is of sour cherries, oak and a mild bit of funkiness.  The taste is of refreshing mild sour cherries, oak, hints of vanilla, some mild acidic vinegar and a bit of sweetness; this could be mistaken for a fine wine.  The mouthfeel is light & refreshing with no carbonation, as no carbonation is needed in this beer nor was intended to be in this beer (as it was bottled without prise de mousse). This is an extremely drinkable beer, no hint of the 11% abv, I could drink this all night long.  I have Batch TR3 hidden away and will try that one in about 2 years.

On the Label: Ale Matured in Trousseau Oak Barrels (single cask in a Trousseau barrel from Arbois, France). Hand bottled, without prise de mousse in January ’09.  This Grand Cru’s complexity will increase with age.  11% alc/vol.   Ingredients: Swiss Mountains’ spring water, barley, malts, sugar, hop, yeast.  Tasting temperature about 60°F.  Barrique No 5, Brewed in May 2008.

From their website:  L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien is an antique beer, a strong sour ale with 11% vol., brewed in honour of the ol’ brewery cat who has been sanctified upon its decease. This Cuvee, luminous amber in colour, matures for months in oak barrels that previously contained wine or other spirits. It is the oak barrels that give this beer the manifold complex aromas. On the palate the brew reminds one of fruity red wines with a pronounced acidity. (note this is for the “base beer”, not this Grand Cru).

 Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation! 

Bon Beer Voyage’s Belgian Beercation Starts in 70 Days!

Our Belgium Private Canal Beercation starts in 70 Days! 

As we explore Bruges, Gent, Antwerp, Mechelen and Brussels we will be visiting the following: In de Vrede (Westvletern); De Dolle Brouwers; Gruut; Bosteels; Malheur; Cafe Trappisten (Westmalle); Duvel and Cantillon Brewery as well as many other sites. 

Below are excerpts from Bon Beer Voyage’s August Newsletter which features Cantillon Brewery.   Enjoy and we hope to see you in the future on a Bon Beer Voyage.

Tours for Belgian and Craft Beer Enthusiasts

August 2010 Newsletter

888-U-Go-Beer (888-846-2337)


Things are really brewing here at BBV!  We’ve set a date for our Tampa 2011 trip, done some fine tuning on the Belgium trip, set up a tentative itinerary for Italy and are soon heading out to preview our Ireland trip!

Can you believe the Belgian Barge Beercation is just over 2 months away? Can’t stand to be left out? Well good news is there are still a few cabins available for only $2239 per person (double occupancy)! 

Are you getting the latest info on our trips and other great beer news?  Become a fan on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out our this blog, our website and newsletters for up to date trip info and specials!

This month’s newsletter features another of the unique breweries that we will be visiting on our Belgium trip- Cantillon Brewery in Brussels, world famous for their Gueuze.

We hope you enjoy this months newsletter. 


Ruth & Mike

Brewery Insider  

 Previews of Breweries We Visit on our Bon Beer Voyage Tours


 Cantillon Brewery, Brussels, Belgium

This month we take a closer look at a very unique brewery that is sure to be one of the highlights of our Belgian Beercation, the Cantillon Brewery, located in Brussels, Belgium.  Cantillon was founded in 1900 by the Van Roy-Cantillon family. 

The building, which dates back to 1874 was previously a warehouse. In 1900  Paul Cantillon, the son of a brewer, opened the facility as a Gueuze blending facility. It did not begin brewing its own concoctions until the end of 1937.  Master Brewer Jean-Pierre Van Roy took over the Cantillon family brewery when his father-in-law gave him an ultimatum. Cantillon told Van Roy that that if he didn’t take it over, he would close.  Jean-Pierre obviously rose to the occasion. Today, with Jean Van Roy (son of Jean-Pierre) as the brewer,Cantillon is one of only two lambic breweries still in operation that produces nothing but authentic, unsweetened, ufiltered, unpasteurized lambic and is currently the only active brewery in Brussels which is open to the public.

The brewery produces Gueuze (now close your eyes real quick and tell me how to spell that again?), Lambic, Faro and Kriek in the same tradition that it has for over 100 years. 

Lambic is a beer which is spontaneously fermented.  This means that instead of having yeast added to it, it takes advantage of the wild yeast in the air.  The particular area in Belgium in which Cantillon is located is very well known for its particular strains of wild yeast.  The building has numerous small holes in it, allowing the yeast to enter. 

When visiting, in my opinion the coolest part(no pun intended) is the cooling tun in the attic.  This is a huge open topped copper pan where the wort is not only cooled, but gains all the natural yeasts that are floating around in the air; it’s kind of like when we used to do those experiments in science class with petri dishes!

The cooled wort is then put in old oak or chestnut barrels where it ferments for 1-3 years before it is blended, then rebottled immediately so the second fermentation can take place creating the gueuze.  Alteratively, fruit is added to create Kriek(cherries) or Framboise(raspberries)  as well as a unique grape lambic. 

For the most part, Gueuze is made up of a blend of lambics of different ages.  Cantillon mixes theirs fom their own lambics, while some other breweries wil mix lambics from varying breweries.

Kriek is made from the Schaarbeek variety of cherries steeped in lambic, pits and all.  It dissoves and ferments for 4-5 months during which time the pits dissolve  as well, imparting some nuttiness to the flavor along with the cherry.  The Framboise is lambic steeped with raspberries (as well as a small amount of cherries).  The Framboise only takes about 3 months to be ready to go.

The brewery appears as old as it really is! There are, of course, dust and cobwebs; this is because the building purposely has the holes in it to welcome the wild yeast that makes their mouth watering products possible.  They have not changed much over the years, since they feel that this helps to ensure the authenticity and quality of their beer.

Interestingly enough, 68% of Cantillon’s beer is currently exported.  It seems America and Japan are keeping them in business!  Apparantly the trend toward a taste for sweeter beverages, such as Coca Cola, has left the sour gueuze unpopular locally.  Fortunately for us, there remains and continues to grow a sour loving, specialty seeking, beer enthusiast contingent who for now, help Cantillon remain viable and a must see mecca for people like us!

As one web reviewer so eloquently commented: “It is the center of the gueuze universe”!  We agree- and are looking forward to sharing this historic brewery with all of you that are joining us in October!

If you would like to join us when we visit Canillon in October   

click here to book this trip.


Belgian Canal Cruise Beercation

October 23-30, 2010

  Less than 71 Days Left  

Until the Belgian Barge Beercation!  

Have you reserved your space yet?


Limited Space Still Available!


Don’t Miss The Opportunity to…

Try These and Endless Other Great Beers!


 See These Awesome Sights!  

  Experience These Unique Bathrooms  🙂   


Enjoy…Unique regional brews in some of the most historic and best beer-stocked pubs. 

Experience…the historical and fascinating cities, including Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent & Brussels with guided tours as well as free time to explore on your own. 

Visit…Beer Lovers Meccas, such as Westvleteren, Westmalle and Cantillon! 

Savor…Cuisine a la biere!  (That’s the fancy french term for food cooked in beer!)

Relax…it’s your vacation! No driving! No figuring out where to eat or how to get from one place to the next!  Unpack only once on our incredibly comfortable private passenger barge and get ready for the beercation of a lifetime!   

  Only $2239 per person, double occupancy

 Reserve Your Space Today While there is still Availability!

Don’t Miss the Boat!

  • Quality accommodations on our own exclusive passenger barge
  • Experienced, English speaking tour leaders and guides
  • Ground transportation throughout the tour
  • Sightseeing, private guided tours, special activities and events
  • All taxes on included hotels, meals and transportation

 Exclusive Bon Beer Voyage Benefits…

  • Tour insurance coverage to cover tour cancellation or interruption (for medical reasons), lost luggage, accidental death, medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, or unavoidable flight delays. Please note: many personal health insurance plans don’t cover their participants while they are traveling out of the country.  
  • Our Barge Trips are limited to a maximum of 22 guests, making it feel more like traveling with a group of friends and allowing us a more comfortable, personalized tour experience.

Call Today!

1-888-U-Go-Beer (888-846-2337)

Or go to our website:  to reserve now.

Space is Limited!


Beer Safari News

 Great News! We’re heading back to Tampa for More Tours, Tastings and Fun!

More Great News – We’ve scheduled this year’s

 Tampa Beer Safari Weekend over

President’s Day Weekend!

February 18-20, 2011,

This could be a really nice Valentine’s gift to give the beer lover in your life! ! And if you have the time to make it a real holiday weekend, we can even help you arrange for additional nights before or after the tour at the hotel at  special BBV rates.  Details coming soon…watch your emails and our Facebook page for up to the date  info and be the first to register – space will be limited!  

See pics from 2010 Tampa Beer Safari on Mike’s blog, The Beer Stocked Refrigerator 

You can  email us if you would like to pre-register for any of our trips.

 We hope you enjoyed this month’s newsletter. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions regarding any of our trips or for custom tour information. 

We can be reached at 1-888-U-Go-Beer or at 


Ruth & Mike

Bon Beer Voyage 

Visit Our Website             Become our Fan on Facebook             Follow Our Beer Blog

Join Our Mailing List!

Be the first to know when a new trip is brewing!

Beer # 135 Firestone Walker Union Jack India Pale Ale

Firestone Walker Union Jack India Pale Ale

Name:  Union Jack India Pale Ale

Style: IPA

Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co.  website.

Country:  USA

Region:  Paso Robles, California

ABV: 7.5% Abv

How served: 22oz bomber poured into the Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.         

My Overall Opinion: Very Good. 

I paired this beer with: Grilled chicken and grilled asparagus.

Tasted on:  Tuesday August 10th, 2010. 

Note:  This beer poured the color of a rich iced tea with a 2 finger head.  The head dissipated rapidly, leaving only a minimal lacing on the glass. You get hit in the nose 1st with floral and citrusy hops and then a bit of sweet malt.  The taste is of grapefruit rinds and citrus fruits followed by a burst of malt sweetness.  This beer is on the verge of tasting like a Double IPA.   The mouthfeel is of a medium body and has a good balance between the bitterness of the hops and the sweetness of the malt.  As far as drinkability goes, this is a very good IPA , but tries to act like a Double IPA with the 7.5%abv, which makes it not the beer or IPA of choice that you would want to be drinking all night long.

From their website:  The newest member of the Firestone family, Union Jack is the aggressive IPA that you’ve been searching for. Citrus, pineapple, and a full chewy malt profile finish clean on your palate. Over 70 IBUs and 7.5% alcohol by volume, Union Jack won’t have any problem competing with the big India Pale Ales. A beer true to its origins; deeply hopped and bolstered for a long voyage.


2009 Australian International Beer Awards Gold Medal

2008 European Beer Star Award Gold Medal

2008 GABF Gold Medal

2008 World Beer Cup Silver Medal – American Strong IPA


American IPA.  Alcohol By Volume- 7.5% .  Color – 8L (Pale) .  IBU- 72 (High)


100% Stainless Steel Fermentation


Premium Two-Row (Metcalf & Kendall varieties),  Munich,  Cara Pils  &  Simpson’s Light Crystal

HOPS: (4 lbs/BBL),  Bittering – Warrior, Simcoe;  Late Kettle – Cascade, Centennial

Dry Hops – Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Simcoe


California (limited) in 6 pack & draft (13.3g/5.2g)

 Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation!

Beer #134 Westvleteren 12

Westvleteren 12

Name:  Trappist Westvleteren 12

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Brewery: Brouwerij Westvleteren (Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren) website

Country:  Belgium

Region:  Westvleteren

ABV: 10.2% Abv

How served: 330ml capped bottle poured into a vintage Abbij St. Sixtus goblet.         

My Overall Opinion: Amazing. 

I paired this beer with: Calissons d’Aix

Tasted on:  Monday August 9th, 2010. 

Note:  The Cap is stamped with a 19/09/10 date, meaning this beer will be 3 years old this September 19th.  I let it warm to 50° before I opened the bottle.  This bottle opened with a “hiss” and poured a deep dark cloudy brown with a one finger tan head on a slow easy pour.  The head leaves a nice thin lace on the glass.  The nose was sweet with hints of dried fruit (raisins/plums), licorice, chocolate and bit of alcohol .   The taste is of caramel, dried raisins, prunes, vanilla, sweet candy (is that licorice again) and a hint of cherries. The mouthfeel is of medium creamy feel with a nice pleasant warmth from the 10.2% abv.   This is a very drinkable brew and I’m going to be heading to my fridge for an encore.

Westvleteren 12 cap dated 19 09 10

On the Label:  What label?

From their website:  All images remain property of the Abbey of Saint Sixt and cannot be reproduced.

In De Vrede, the café at Brouwerij Westvleteren will be the 1st place we visit on our Belgium Beer Barge Tour in October 2010.  Here will taste not only a fresh 12 & 8 but also the Blonde.  What a great way to start vacation.  If you want to join us, check out . 

 Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation!

%d bloggers like this: