Beer #189 Val-Dieu Grand Cru

Val-Dieu Grand Cru

Name: Grand Cru

Style: Quadruple

Brewery:  Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu   website

Country: Belgium

Region: Aubel

ABV: 10.5% abv

How served:  750ml corked and caged bottle poured into an Abbeye de Leffe chalice.

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: Steamed salmon with onion garlic pan roasted potatoes.  Yummy!!!

Tasted on:  Monday January 30, 2012

Notes:  Cork read best by 03/2009.  So this bottle is about 5 years old.

This beer poured an opaque deep brownish black with a 2 finger light brown head which dissipated quickly leaving a thin lacing on my glass.

The nose was mixed with caramel, raisins (plus other un-named dark fruits) cotton candy and faint chocolate.

The taste was slightly sweet with dark fruits like raisins & figs; caramel and brown sugar with hints of chocolate and toffee finishing more on the dryer side.

The body was of a light to medium body & extremely creamy and smooth with minimal carbonation; it was as if this beer had come from hand drawn cask.

The drinkability was amazingly smooth and easy to drink for a 10.5%abv brew; it drank like a 5-6%er.

Overall, is one of the better Quadruples in the marketplace  Find it, drink it, enjoy it…then compare it to the best rated Quads you’ve had and you’ll see for yourself why I feel this under the radar and under hyped  brew is so damn good!!!!!!

On the Label:  This authentic Abbey Ale is based on the recipe perfected centuries ago by the monks of Abbey Val-Dieu.

From their website:  Un petit bout d’histoire ?

The abbey of Val-Dieu was built 1216 by Cistercian monks. They were looking for a lone valley with a stream for agricultural and brewing activities, a haven of peace full of nature. Cistercian orders are well-known abroad for their brewing skills. The monks of this abbey made no exception to this rule.

Because of the numerous hazards encountered by the abbey over time (fire, destruction, expulsion of the monks during the Napoleonic revolution), monks have not always been able to brew. That explains why their beer production remained limited to the local level.

Fortunately, since 1997, the farm has discovered the typical roar of the brewery again. The only difference with the past is that beers are nowadays brewed by a layman. Moreover, the beers of Val-Dieu are brewed in the former agricultural exploitation.

Reinstalled 1997 in the abbey itself, the brewery took inspiration from the receipts formerly used by the brewers-monks of Val-Dieu to make this tradition last. Of course, those receipts had to be adapted to the raw materials and techniques of today.

Nowadays, our beers are real abbey beers, of high fermentation, not pasteurized, simple, without seasoning and brewed according to the old infusion method.

That is why the small stamp opposite can be found on the labels of our beers. This stamp proves the veracity of our products. To know more about it, go and visit the belgian brewers’ confederation.

Tradition, however, does not only apply to our beers. The “pays d’Aubel” is full of products that are emblems of the culinary tradition of the region. In the surrounding orchards, apples are growing which will be used to produce cider and “sirop de Liège“. The livestock which grazes in the green patures will offer you delicious delicatessen. Those are all reasons why you should visit the beautiful “pays d’Aubel” and discover its marvels.

Bon Beer Voyage Presents:

Bon Beer Voyage Presents:

The Ultimate Beer Connoisseur & Foodie Dining Experience!

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Bon Beer Voyage Invite You to Join us in Tampa, Florida for a 4 Course Gourmet Beer Paired Dinner

February 10, 2012 7:00 PM

2011 Bon Beer Voyage Dinner at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse

This dinner is part of our 3rd Annual Tampa Beer Safari Weekend Tour. For those of you who cannot join us for the whole tour, we have opened up a limited number of seats for this dinner and look forward to seeing you there!


 First Course

Mission Bay Sea Scallop

Truffled popcorn, bacon cream sauce, arugula salad

Paired with:

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace, Farmhouse Ale, Brooklyn, New York

Second Course

Malheur Spring Salad

Julienned Pears and Gala apples, tossed in Orange Sriracha vinaigrette,

finished with candied walnuts and grape tomatoes

Paired with:

Malheur 10, Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV, Belgium

Third Course


5-spiced spaetzle, Szechuan peppercorn demi

Paired with:

Cigar City Maduro, American Brown Ale, Tampa, FL

Fourth Course

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Russian imperial ganache, raspberry port crème anglaise

Paired with:

Samuel Smith, Russian Imperial Stout, Tadcaster, England

$76.50 per person includes tax & gratuity

Limited Seating – Reserve Today!

Beer #188 Harpoon Island Creek Oyster Stout (100 Barrel Series #30)

Harpoon Island Creek Oyster Stout (100 Barrel Series #30)

Name: Island Creek Oyster Stout (100 Barrel Series #30)

Style:  English Oyster Stout

Brewery:  Harpoon Brewery website

Country: USA

Region: Boston, Massachusetts

ABV: 5.5% abv

How served:  22 oz gold foiled capped bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens glass.

My Overall Opinion: Very Good

I paired this beer with: Grilled salmon with quinoa cooked with this Island Creek Oyster Stout mushrooms and onions

Tasted on:  Monday  January 23, 2012


The beer poured a dark brown with a 2 finger light brown head.

The nose was full of chocolate, coffee, smoke and vanilla.      

The taste started off slightly sweet with chocolate, then the sweetness tailed off when the roasted coffee notes kicked in to balance it out and finished with a dry bitterness.

The body was of a smooth and creamy with a medium full body.

The drinkability was very good.

On the Label:  Session 30

This smooth stout is brewed with freshly harvested Island Creek Oysters.  The roasted notes of the stout blend beautifully with the mineral flavors of the oysters.   Limited Edition- Small Batch.

From their website:

The 100 Barrel Series celebrates the brewing talents and creativity of Harpoon Brewers. From experimental styles to interpretations of old favorites, 100 Barrel Series beer is a limited batch and a personal expression of the art of brewing. Every couple of months a different Harpoon brewer will spend a few late nights in the brewery, brewing test batches on the pilot system. This leads to the final recipe and, of course, a special, unique beer. You will find that brewer’s signature on each bottle of beer from their batch. So if you like the beer, you’ll know who to thank.


Brew Date: 1/21/10

Packaging Date: 2/5/10

The idea for the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series Island Creek Oyster Stout came after years of enjoying locally harvested oysters over freshly brewed pints of beer with our friends from Island Creek. Stouts have long been paired with oysters, though seldom brewed with them. This is our take on the age-old tradition.

Brewed by Harpoon brewer Katie Tame, using Island Creek oyster farmer Skip Bennett’s revered Duxbury Bay oysters, this beer has a rich body and smooth mouthfeel derived in part from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate rye malts. The roasted malt notes blend beautifully with the briny, mineral flavors of the Island Creek oysters. An addition of hops adds some bitterness to balance the malt sweetness. This, the 30th installment of the Harpoon 100 Barrel Series, is best enjoyed with a plate full of Island Creek Oysters.

We hope beer and oyster lovers have as much fun drinking it as we had brewing it.


This beer was brewed by Katie Tame, Harpoon brewer

AVAILABLE FROM   February 2010 to ….


Style: Oyster Stout

Original Gravity: 15

Alcohol by Volume: (ABV) 5.5%

IBU’S: 35

Beer # 187 Goose Island Matilda

Goose Island Matilda

Name: Matilda

Style:  Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Brewery:  Goose Island website

Country: USA

Region: Chicago, Illinois

ABV: 7.0% abv

How served:  22 oz capped bottle poured into a Malheur glass.

My Overall Opinion: Good

I paired this beer with: Giants vs 49er’s NFC Championship Game & leftover Ruth’s Chris Rib-eye steak and a potato knish.

Tasted on:  Sunday  January 22, 2012

Notes:  Bottle 11/16/09

The beer poured a hazy orangey golden color with a 1 finger head which dissipated rather quickly leaving a mild lacing on the glass.

The nose was sweet and malty / bready with some Belgian yeast notes and a hint of orange and spices.     

The taste was slightly sweet of bread crust, malt and orange.  There was a slight musty flavor in the background with some spiciness and not much tartness from the Brettanomyces.  The beer finished dry.

The body was of a medium body with a low level of carbonation and very little effect from the alcohol.

The drinkability was decent for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

On the Label:  2009.

Pale Ale Re-Fermented with Brettanomyces.  7% Alcohol  By Volume, 650 ml – 1 Pint 6 Fl OZ.  Develops in the Bottle For Up To 5 Years. Contains Live Yeast.  Sediment May Form.

From their website:

Brewer’s Notes:

Wild in character, with a slightly fruity aroma and a spicy yeast flavor that is as unique as it is satisfying – Matilda is an intriguing choice for beer and wine lovers alike. Dry and quenching, it’s the perfect accompaniment at the dining table or for casually socializing at the bar.

Recipe Information:

Style: Belgian Style Pale Ale
Alcohol by Volume: 7%
International Bitterness Units: 32
Color: Golden Sunrise
Hops: Styrian, Saaz
Malts: 2-Row, Caramel

Serving Suggestions:

Preferred Glass: Wide Mouth Glass

Food Pairings: Matilda pairs with many foods. Its spicy yeast flavors complement fresh mussels and contrast rich pork belly.

Cheese Pairings: Camembert, Washed Rind Cheeses
Cellaring Notes: Develops in the bottle for up to 5 years


Year Round
Bottles: 4pks, 650mL
Draft: 1/6 & 1/2bbl

Great American Beer Festival Recognition:

Judging Category: Belgian and French Style Ale
2005: Gold Medal

World Beer Cup Recognition:

Judging Category: Belgian and French Style Ale
2008: Silver Medal
2006: Silver Medal

World Beer Championships Recognition:

Judging Category: Belgian Style Amber Ale
2011: Gold Medal

Complete Awards List

Beer Drinker Reviews:

Beer Advocate
Rate Beer

Beer # 186 Epic Sour Apple Saison

Epic Sour Apple Saison

Name: Sour Apple Saison

Style:  Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Brewery:  Epic Brewing Co website

Country: USA

Region: Salt Lake City, Utah

ABV: 7.8% abv

How served:  22 oz capped bottle poured into a 3 Fonteinen glass.

My Overall Opinion: Good 

I paired this beer with: Ravens vs Patriots AFC Championship Game & Snyder’’s Pretzels

Tasted on:  Sunday  January 22, 2012


The beer poured a light & cloudy straw color with a large 3 finger billowing head with medium to large sized bubbles.   The beer left a nice lacing on the glass.     

The nose was of faint sour apples and some earthy undertones.

The taste started off with mildly sour green apples  and yeasty.  Midway through I picked up some of the cloves and coriander.  It finished crisp and dry

The body was light to medium body with the feel of champagne from all the carbonation.

The drinkability was very good and this would be a good substitute for champagne at brunch time.

Overall I rated this beer as Good, But I was torn between Good & Very Good and in the end I gave it a “Good” as it was more one dimensional.  However YOU might think otherwise, so if you can Try it Yourself because it might end up being Very…..!!!

On the Label:  Exponential Series. Bottled Conditioned. Release #6

You are holding something special – one of only 1,800 bottles released and numbers.  Intrigued?  Visit to explore this limited brew’s precise details.

From their website:  Sour-Apple Saison

Sweet, yet dry and tart, apples spiced with coriander, grains of paradise, anise, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. There is no wrong way to enjoy this Saison Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale!

Sour Apple Saison-Style Ale Release #6   Brewed on June 6, 2011. Packaged July 7, 2011.

This is a gorgeous saison, it has a nice mild sourness with a slight kick of apple and cinnamon. It has a very dry finish from the classic Saison yeast that gives it a little earthy, peppery and spiciness.

The Malts

Weyermann Pilsner is the base malt on this beer followed by Briess Flaked Oats and Muntons Wheat Malt.

The Hops/Spices

Saaz, Tettnang, ground Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Anise Seed, Grains of Paradise, and Coriander.

ABV 7.8%

Beer #185 The Brewer’s Art Resurrection Ale

The Brewer's Art Resurrection Ale

Name: Resurrection Ale

Style:  Dubbel

Brewery:  The Brewer’s Art website

Country: USA

Region: Baltimore, Maryland

ABV: 7.0% abv

How served:  750ml caged and cork bottle poured into a Grottenbier chalice.

My Overall Opinion: Very Good 

I paired this beer with: My old stand by—Lemon chicken in a bag from Pubix!

Tasted on:  Thursday  January 12, 2012


The beer poured a reddish brown with a 1 finger  tan head  leaving a fine lacing on the glass.    

 The nose of this beer was mildly sweet with caramel, candi sugar and Christmas spices, as well as fried dark fruits.  

The taste started with strong candi sugar, caramel and spices like you would find in a Belgian Christmas beer. Midway through I picked up some notes of dark dried fruits and crust from bread.  All of this without being overly sweet.

The body was of a medium body with mild to moderate carbonation, with a mild warmth from the alcohol.

The drinkability was very good and overall it was one of the better “American” examples of a Belgian dubbel, however I have had many a Belgian dubbel I would much rather have.

On the Label:  A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this beer will go to local programs that help people get back on their feet.

Brewed and bottled: Royersford, Pennsylvania.

Best by 07/02/11

From their website:  Resurrection:
During the fermentation of the first batch of this  Abbey-style ale, the yeast «died» and was
«resurrected» by brewer Chris Cashell. Made with five types of barley malt and lots of sugar, this beer is quite flavorful, without being too sweet.  7%abv

2012 Tampa Bay Weekend Beer Safari:

Tampa Bay Weekend Beer Safari:

2 Nights, 5 Breweries, 2 Gourmet Beer Paired Dinners, Beer Paired Lunch and much more… Hurry Limited Space Still Available! 

 It’s Back and It’s Better than Ever!
The 2012 Tampa Beer Safari-Register Today!

Bon Beer Voyage invites all craft beer lovers to a weekend of great beer, great food and a great time!

This year’s Tampa Beer Safari will begin on
Friday evening, February 10th and will run through Sunday morning, February 12th, 2012.

 We’ve added some new things to make this tour the best yet but we’re still keeping our price at
only $475 per person double occupancy!
(limited single occupancy rooms available for $625 pp)
So Book Now to Join Us in Tampa and…

  • Sleep Like a Baby for 2 Nights with Lodging (double occ.) at Homewood Suites (yes, you deserve the suite life!)

  • Start the day out right with hot breakfast each morning!

  • Taste Florida’s Latest and Greatest at its freshest when we visit Local Breweries Including Saint Somewhere, Cigar City, Dunedin Brew Pub, Seventh Sun and Peg’s Cantina!

  • Get a chance to view some local Manatees enjoying Florida’s warm winter!

  • Savor an outstanding lunch (with beer- of course!) at the delicious Dunedin Brewery

  • Learn from the pros during our Private Brewery Tours!

  • Visit Tarpon Springs & Gulfport and be transported back to old Florida in these unique waterfront towns.

  • Peer into the shadows and mysteries of Florida’s “Sunshine City” on a spirited ghost tour of St. Petersburg!

  • Enjoy the culinary delights of 2 Incredible Gourmet Beer-Paired dinners at Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar & The Melting Pot!

  • All Taxes on included hotels, meals and transportation.

  • And as always, there will be Some Other Beery Cool Stuff.

Brewery Visits

Cigar City Brewery

Cigar City Brewing

Do we really need to introduce these guys? CCB was founded by beer columnist and Tampa native Joey Redner in the summer of 2007. Since its inception CCB has been guided by Joey’s passion for both great beer and the city of his birth. 

Joey Redner at Cigar City with Bon Beer Voyage

With the creative input and expertise of Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup award winning brewer Wayne Wambles, Cigar City Brewing endeavors to make world class ales and lagers which celebrate the rich heritage and traditions that make Tampa one of the world’s most unique cities. With this goal in mind Cigar City Brewing incorporates local ingredients in the brewing process and always considers, during recipe creation, the local foods CCB beers are likely to be paired with. The result of this dedication is handcrafted beer that imparts a sense of place and pairs as well with gourmet cheeses as hearty Cuban sandwiches.

Saint Somewhere Brewing Company

Saint Somewhere

Saint Somewhere is a small batch brewery, located in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which specializes in traditionally brewed, hand-crafted Belgian-style ales. All of their ales are bottle-conditioned and unfiltered and receive a dose of Brettanomyces at bottling. Despite the homage to Belgium by the strict use of Belgian malt & wheat and whole noble hops, Bob Sylvester, owner and brewer, adds a little bit of Florida by open fermentation as well as by using old Florida advertising art on his labels. The stuff inside the bottles is as much art as the labels. 

Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

And of course, the name Saint Somewhere comes from a Jimmy Buffett song, so let’s be real, Belgian may be at the heart of it, but this beer has Florida soul!

Dunedin Brewery

Dunedin Brewery

Fermenting since 1996 and still going strong, Dunedin Brewery, located on the west coast of Florida in the Scottish heritage town of Dunedin handcrafts all of their ales for your enjoyment from their Piper’s Pale Ale to their Apricot Wheat.

Dunedin Brewery

They also have a great menu including the most awesome Pacific Coast Fish Tacos you will find east of Baja! With great atmosphere, great food and 9 ales brewed year round as well as 5 or more seasonal offerings throughout the year, this is our kind of lunch stop!

Peg’s Cantina

Peg’s Cantina

Peg’s, a bungalow turned into a restaurant and nano-brewery is located in the waterfront town of Gulfport, Florida.

Doug Dozark, who is working full-time assisting brewmaster Wayne Wambles at Cigar City, is the brewer at Peg’s and is in charge of creating Peg’s GOOD (Gulfport Original on Draft) beers. He makes them on site in small batches, so it is fresh, clean and delicious. The type of beer varies, but there is usually an IPA and one

Peg's Cantina

other draught available. Doug’s beer is not only considered GOOD because of the acronym- apparently others here in Florida think its good stuff, too! He entered 3 beers in the “Best Florida Beer Championship” and took home 3 medals. He earned two gold medals for his Square Dancing Cody and Gulfport Centennial Stout—and a bronze for his experimental Berliner Weiss.

Doug brews different beers all year and he always has a couple on tap. Peg’s also carries about 50-60 bottled beers. We look forward to spending some time with Doug and checking out his nano-brewery!

7venth (Seventh) Sun Brewing

Seventh Sun Brewing

Be the first among your crowd to visit the latest of Florida’s West Coast Breweries!   Meet the people behind the beer (owners Justin Strange & Devon Kreps), check out their setup and taste their tempting brews, which are a mix of Belgian style ales, sour beers and a variety of IPA’s.  They have brewed at both Sweetwater Brewing Company and Cigar City Brewing.   


Beer Paired Dinner Venues:

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Stylish, contemporary dining is the hallmark of Fleming’s. The menu features the finest in prime beef, augmented by a tempting variety of chops, seafood, chicken, generous salads, inventive side orders and indulgent desserts. We have the good fortune of having a 4 course beer paired dinner created especially for our Beer Safari by the chef at Flemings, who, as luck would have it, is a beer enthusiast himself! Our specially prepared and paired dinner at this award winning steakhouse will be an experience you won’t soon forget.

The Melting Pot

We will be topping off Saturday night with a truly brewnique dining event as we enjoy a 4 course beer-paired fondue dinner at The Melting Pot in St. Petersburg. If you haven’t enjoyed the fondue experience before, you are in for a real treat. From the cheese fondue appetizer, which is actually made with beer, to the sinfully rich and delicious chocolate fondue dessert, every course is carefully matched with the perfect beer to balance each unique flavor. Your taste buds will thank you for this simply sublime experience.

Space is Limited! Don’t Get Sold Out!
Reserve today by clicking below
The rate is $475pp double occupancy
(please note: there are a limited number of single occupancy rooms
available for $625pp call soon!) 

Click here to Join Us in Tampa, Florida!  

See you in February! Cheers!

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