Impromptu Tasting of 19 Beers.

Saturday night started out as 3 couples (my wife & I, my neighbor and another couple) who planned a mellow evening of grilling steak and drinking only a few beers.  Well it turned out to become an impromptu tasting in which we had the opportunity to taste 13 different beers style from the 19 beers we went through that evening.   

After 19 beers & 24 glasses

Here are almost all the bottles and all of the glassware 6 people went through on the evening.  Having all those beers made cleaning the glasses a little easier.

 The Aperitif Beers:   

 

Cigar City Jai Alai

Beer #1:  Jai Alai

Brewery: Cigar City Brewing.  Tampa, Florida

Style: I.P.A.

ABV: 7.5% 

21st Amendment Hell of High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Beer #2:  Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer

Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery.   San Francisco, California

Style: American Wheat/Fruit                                

ABV: 4.9% 

Rodenbach Vin de Céréale

Beer #3: Vin de Céréale.  2004 bottle #7392

 Brewery: Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.  Roeselare Belgium (Brouwerij Palm NV)

Style: Flanders Red Ale

ABV: 10.0% 

Goose Island Sofie 2009

Beer #4:  Sofie

Brewery: Goose Island.  Chicago, Illinois

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

ABV: 6.5% 

Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast

Beer #5:  Beer Geek Breakfast

Brewery: Mikkeller. København, Denmark (Brewed at Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norway)

Style: Oatmeal Stout w/ Coffee

ABV: 7.5%  

Kern River Just Outstanding IPA

Beer #6:  Just Outstanding IPA

Brewery: Kern River Brewing Company.  Kernville, California

Style: I.P.A.

ABV: 6.8%  

Pisgah Baptista

Beer #7:  Pisgah Baptista

Brewery: Pisgah Brewing Co.  Black Mountain, North Carolina

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 11.5%

 Dinner drinks:

Beers #8 & #9 were paired with grilled Filet Mignon, grilled asparagus and corn on the cob.

Ølfabrikken Abbey Ale Special Reserve

Beer #8:  Abbey Ale Special Reserve

Brewery: Ølfabrikken   Roskilde, Denmark

Style: Dubbel

ABV: 8.5% 

AleSmith 2009 Decadence

Beer #9:  Decadence 2009 Anniversary Ale

Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Company.  San Diego, California

Style: Dunkel Weizenbock

ABV: 9.0%

 Pre Dessert Beers: 

 
 
 

Good Karma Tripel version 5, 6 and 9

Vertical Tasting of Good Karma Tripel Version #5, #6 & #9

(IMHO Version #6 was the better of the three. It is an outstanding example of the classic Belgian Tripel)

 Beer #10:  Tripel #5 (made with Westmalle yeast) 

Brewery: Good Karma Brewing.  Boca Raton, Florida

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.0 %  

 

Beer #11:  Tripel #6 (made with LaChouffe yeast,  sold as Ardennes yeast)

Brewery: Good Karma Brewing.  Boca Raton, Florida

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.0 %  

 

Beer #12:  Tripel #9   (made with Uniboue yeast)

Brewery: Good Karma Brewing.  Boca Raton, Florida

Style: Tripel

ABV: 9.0 %  

 The Dessert Beers, Part 1:

Beer #13 & #14 are paired with chocolate cover strawberries

Southern Tier Crème Brûleé Stout

Beer #13: Crème Brûleé Stout

Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company.  Lakewood, New York

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.2% 

Consecration in the glass with Supplication, Crème Brûleé, Older Viscosity & Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Beer #14:  Older Viscosity

Brewery: Port Brewing Company / Pizza Port.  San Marcos, California 

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 12.10%

 The Palate Cleanser:  

Beer #15:  Supplication

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company.  Santa Rosa, California

Style:  American Wild Ale

ABV: 7.0%

The Dessert Beers, Part 2:

Beer #16 was paired with a chocolate lava cake.

 

 Beer #16:  Beer Geek Brunch Weasel

Brewery:  Mikkeller. København, Denmark (Brewed at Nøgne Ø, Grimstad, Norway)

Style: Imperial Oatmeal Stout w/ Vietnamese ca phe chon coffee

ABV: 10.9%

 The Digestif Beers: 

 
 
 

De Dolle Stille Nacht

Beer #17:  Stille Nacht

Brewery: De Dolle Brouwers.  Esen, Belgium

Style: Belgium Strong Dark Ale

ABV: 12.0%

 

Beer #18: Consecration

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company.  Santa Rosa, California

Style:  American Wild Ale

ABV: 10.0%

De Proefbrouwerij Boerinneken

 Beer #19:  Boerinneken

Brewery: De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot).  Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 9.5%

 My Favorite Brew of the Day:

Vin de Céréale. 

 My Least Favorite Brew of the Day:

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Ale

 
 
 
 
 

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Summer Beer Tasting: 21 different styles in 26 Beers

My friend Stu returned from California with a nice haul of “West Coast” beers not available in S. Florida.   His philosophy is that good beer is meant to be shared, so he invited a small handful of friends to his backyard for a great beer tasting on Saturday.  

The Beer "Waiting Room"

Above is what I called the Beer “Waiting Room”.  This is a photo before more beer was added as guests arrived. 

I have listed the beers in the Order we drank them.  Our method of picking our next beer was very random.  We would just go to the beer “Waiting Room” stick in our hand and pull out a beer, most of the time not knowing what we were going to pull out.  It actually worked out quite well this way, as you will see the styles did vary and kept palate fatigue at bay.  We were able to taste 21 different beers style from the 26 beers we had.

Stu and the cheese spread as he finished pouring our 1st brew.

   
 
Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale

Beer #1:   Maduro Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Brown Ale

 Brewery: Cigar City Brewing.  Tampa, Florida

Style: Brown Ale

ABV: 5.5%

Breckenridge IPA Small Batch 471

Beer #2:  Breckenridge IPA Small Batch 471

Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery & Pub.  Breckenridge, Colorado

Style: Imperial IPA

ABV: 9.2% 

Fort Collins Maibock Zum Leben!

Beer #3:  Maibock Zum Leben!

Brewery: Fort Collins Brewery.  Fort Collins, Colorado

Style: Maibock

ABV: 6.3%  

Flying Fish Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA

Beer #4:  Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA

Brewery: Flying Fish Brewing Company.  Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Style: Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.2%

Cascade Apricot Ale (2009)

Beer #5:  Cascade Apricot Ale (2009)

Brewery: Cascade Brewing / Raccoon Lodge and Brewpub.  Portland, Oregon

Style: Lambic

ABV: 9.0% 

Dark Horse Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock

Beer #6:  Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock

Brewery: Dark Horse Brewing Company.  Marshall, Michigan

Style: Doppelbock

ABV: 7.5% 

Hoppin’ Frog D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer Double Imperial Stout

Beer #7:  D.O.R.I.S. the Destroyer Double Imperial Stout

Brewery: Hoppin’ Frog Brewery. Akron, Ohio

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 10.5% 

Marin Brewing Point Reyes Porter

Beer #8:  Point Reyes Porter

Brewery: Marin Brewing Company.  Larkspur, California

Style: American Porter

ABV: 6.0% 

Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA

Beer #9:  Hop Henge Experimental IPA

Brewery: Deschutes Brewery. Bend, Oregon

Style: Imperial IPA

ABV: 8.75%  

Three Floyds Robert the Bruce

Beer #10:  Robert the Bruce

Brewery: Three Floyds Brewing Co. Munster, Indiana

Style: Scottish Ale

ABV: 6.5 % 

Boulevard Dark Truth Stout (Smokestack Series)

Beer #11:  Dark Truth Stout (Smokestack Series)

Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Company.  Kansas City, Missouri

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.7% 

Stone Sawyer’s Triple

Beer #12:  Sawyer’s Triple

Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.  Escondido, California

Style: Tripel

ABV: 7.6%  

Birrificio Italiano Scires

Beer #13:  Scires

Brewery: Birrificio Italiano.   Lurago Marinone, Italy

Style: Fruit (Cherries)

ABV: 7.5% 

Port Brewing Wipeout IPA

Beer #14:  Wipeout IPA

Brewery: Port Brewing Company / Pizza Port.  San Marcos, California 

Style: I.P.A.

ABV: 7.0% 

Old World Dark Knight Porter

Beer #15:  Dark Knight Porter

Brewery: Old World Brewery Inc.  Phoenix, Arizona

Style:  English Porter

ABV: 6.5%  

Black Lightning Porter

Beer #16:  Black Lightning Porter

Brewery: Lightning Brewery.  Poway, California

Style: Baltic Porter

ABV: 8.5%   

The Beer "Waiting Room" at halftime

After 16 beers it looks like we have more beer waiting than when we started!!!!  

Stu chilling out

 Looks like Stu is enjoying the tasting so far. 

 

Ballast Point Big Eye IPA

 Beer #17:  Big Eye IPA

Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company.  San Diego, California

Style: I.P.A.

ABV: 7.0 % 

Homebrew: Habanero pepper something or another

Beer #18:  Homebrew (Habanero pepper something or another)

Brewery: Jason’s

Style: Hot pepper

ABV: ??%  

Southampton Saison Deluxe (looks like the bottle got a little banged up)

Beer #19:  Saison Deluxe

Brewery: Southampton Publick House.  Southampton, New York

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

ABV: 7.4%  

Boulevard Collaboration No. 1 Imperial Pilsner (Smokestack Series)

Beer #20: Collaboration No. 1 Imperial Pilsner (Smokestack Series) 

Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Company.  Kansas City, Missouri

Style: Imperial Pilsner

ABV: 8.0%  

Rogue John John Ale #21 (Dead Guy Ale Aged in Dead Guy Whiskey Barrels) #22 (Pale Ale Brewed with Juniper Berries and aged in Spruce Gin Barrels)

Beer #21: John John Ale (Dead Guy Ale Aged in Dead Guy Whiskey Barrels)

Brewery: Rogue Brewery / Brewer’s on the Bay.  Newport, Oregon

Style: Mailbock

ABV: 6.4%

Beer #22: John John Ale (Pale Ale Brewed with Juniper Berries and aged in Spruce Gin Barrels)

Brewery: Rogue Brewery / Brewer’s on the Bay.  Newport, Oregon

Style: Pale Ale

ABV: 5.2%   

The Lost Abbey Judgment Day

Beer #23:  Judgment Day

Brewery: The Lost Abbey.  San Marcos, California

Style: Quadrupel

ABV: 10.5% 

 

Cigar City Gruit Humidor Series batch 02

Beer #24:  Gruit 2010 Humidor Series batch 02

Brewery: Cigar City Brewing.  Tampa, Florida

Style: Gruit

ABV: 5.5%  

Southern Tier Crème Brûleé Stout

Beer #25: Crème Brûleé Stout

Brewery: Southern Tier Brewing Company.  Lakewood, New York

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.2%  

Rogue ÜberFest Pilsner

Beer #26:  ÜberFest Pilsner

Brewery: Rogue Brewery / Brewer’s on the Bay.  Newport, Oregon

Style: German Pilsner

ABV: 5.2%Hope you enjoyed these great tasting pics

 

My favorite brews of the day (in no particular order):

Exit 16 Wild Rice Double IPA

Cascade Apricot Ale (2009)

Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock

Hop Henge Experimental IPA

Dark Truth Stout (Smokestack Series)

 Point Reyes Porter

My least favorite brews of the day (in no particular order):

Crème Brûleé Stout (Only because I do not like butterscotch) Everyone else loved it.

Gruit 2010 Humidor Series batch 02

Sawyer’s Triple

 

Here are some of the beers we did not get around to tasting:  Which is good news as Stu says he will have another BIG tasting soon to finish these and many more!!!!!!!!!

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary, Imperial Helles Bock

SKA Brewing Modus Hoperandi IPA 

Cascade The Vine, Northwest Style Sour Ale

Allagash Musette   

Terrapin Side Project Volume 11 Boom ShakaLager  

AleSmith X   

AleSmith Anvil   

Lagunitas Lucky 13    

Cigar City 110K + OT Batch #3 (The Other West Coast IPA)

Cigar City Hunahpu’s   

Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager  

Thirez EXTRA Farmhouse Ale   

Hebrew R.I.P.A on RYE   

Schlafly Reserve Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout 2008   

Plus many others, including some home brews (see below for pictures of the beer which missed the cut)

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Beer # 127 Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold

Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold

 Name:  Xtra Gold

Style:  Tripel

Brewery: Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. website 

Country:  USA

Region: Pleasantville, New York

ABV: 10.0% Abv

How served: 750 ml bottle poured into a Rochefort goblet.         

My Overall Opinion: Very Good. 

I paired this beer with: Chipotle and cherry marinated wild salmon which was grilled.  This was a very nice pairing as this fish with its woodsy flavor match up with the sweetness & mild bitterness of this brew.

Tasted on:  Friday June 18th, 2010. 

Note:  The beer poured with a nice 2 finger head which dissipated rapidly and left a thin lacing on the glass.  The nose was floral and citrusy leaning more towards orange.  The taste started with the expected sweetness from a Belgian style triple with the citrus and spice notes.  You get a mild piney bitterness which help balance the sweetness of this ale from those “American hops”.  The mouthfeel was dry, thin and refreshing with a nice level of carbonation in this extremely drinkable brew.  Be careful as it is 10%abv, which you will not notice until you are done with the bottle.

Captain Lawrence Xtra Gold in tulip

Captain Lawrence suggested drinking this out of a goblet.  I did, but since I always enjoy my triples in tulips, I had my second glass out of a La Chouffe tulip.  I thought the presentation & the nose where superior when it was in the tulip glass.  The taste, maybe it was more psychological, also tasted much better in the tulip.   I say go with a TULIP GLASS instead.

Now which one looks better to you?

The one on the left in the LaChouffe Tulip or the top photo in the Rochefort Chalise?

I would say the Tulip, would you agree?  Now the better looking glass is up to debate, but I’m talking about the look of this beer.

 

 

 

On the Label:  GOLD MEDAL XTR

A GOLD “AMERICAN – BELGO  STYLE ALE”  GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL 2008.  You are probably looking at this label saying to yourself; “American Tripel?”  Well I figured since we brewed this beer in the great State of New York, and we are using a copious amount of American grown hops to give this beer both its hoppy flavor and aromas, technically it can’t be called a Belgian style.  You hold in your hands my tribute to the great Belgian brewers, but brewed with a healthy dose of good old American Amarillo hops.  Straight from the Captain’s cellar to yours, so hope you enjoy.  Cheers, Scott Vaccaro 

On their Website: This beer is the result of the marriage between two very distinct beer styles; the Belgian Tripel & American IPA. We have taken the best qualities from both styles and allowed them to shine through. The fruity and spicy notes from the imported Belgian yeast strain & the pungent flavors and aromas of the American grown Amarillo hops flow seamlessly together to create this flavorful ale.  Straight from the Captain’s cellar to yours, we hope you enjoy.

SENSORY PROFILE: Enjoy in a goblet or wine glass. Tropical fruit and honey are the two biggest aromas coming from this lively brew. While the hop bitterness is not as powerful as an IPA, the hop flavor melds nicely with the fruity flavors created by the imported Belgian yeast strain used.

FOOD PAIRING: This beer goes great with roasted vegetables, fish and rotisserie chicken. And it can be used as a aperitif before dinner with shrimp cocktail.

Hops: Simcoe, Cascade, Amarillo
Malts: Belgian Pilsner Malt.
IBU: 33
ABV: 10%
OG: 19
Type of Glass: Goblet

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Beer # 79 St. Bernardus Tripel

 

St. Bernardus Tripel

Name: St. Bernardus Tripel

Style:  Tripel

Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernard  website

Country: Belgium

Region:  Watou

ABV: 8.0% Abv

How served: 330ml capped bottle poured into St. Bernardus chalice.       

My Overall Opinion: Amazing. 

I paired this beer with: 2nd beer of the night & used to erase some of the Chapeau Winter Gueuze off my palate.   

Tasted on:  Monday February 22, 2010. 

Note: This is one of my favorite Triples, & I rated this beer for the style.  If you like the Tripel style and haven’t tried this one yet, what are you waiting for?

BTW this did not cleanse my palate from the Chapeau Winter Gueuze, maybe I need something hoppy.  Ok then I’ll try something hoppy next.

From their website: This beer, with high fermentation, has a pale amber colour and a flowery, fruity taste with a harmonious balance between sweet and sour (8% alcohol content).
This beer has a thick and vivid froth and strikes by its balanced taste with a delicate bitterness.

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Beer Travels in Belgium Part 4 (Gent)

This is the 4th installment of our Beery Adventures in Belgium.  We visited Bruges, Gent, Mechelen, Antwerp & Brussels over 7 days, meeting with vendors for our beer travel company, BonBeerVoyage.com.  During our whirlwind week, we were able to visit over 50 beer related places and tasted over 50 different beers.

With Bruges behind us, we are now going to focus on Gent.  During our 2 nights and 1 day in Gent we visited 9 bars, discovered a new brewery and tasted 13 different beers.

De Dulle Griet at night

De Dulle Griet bar

 

Our 1st visit was to De Dulle Griet (50 Vrijdagmarkt).   De Dulle Griet is a cool, quirky bar which you will find on the square called Friday Market (Vrijdagmarkt in Dutch).   The bar is named after a very famous medieval supergun from Gent.  You can see this large red canon on display just outside the Friday Market on the canal front.  Dulle Griet has over 250 beers to choose from,  including their famous “The Max” which is Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels poured into a Kwak Yard Glass.

Ceiling Shoe Basket in De Dulle Griet

 As you may know, these glasses are not cheap, so in order to deter sticky fingered visitors from making them into souvenirs, patrons ordering “The Max” must take off one of their shoes as collateral.  The shoes is then put into a basket and hoisted to the ceiling by a pulley system.  When the glass is returned, so is the shoe! This bar can get crowded, so as a courtesy to your fellow imbibers, if you plan to have a Kwak, wear your odor eaters, please! 

Malheur 12 at De Dulle Griet

Ruth starts off her night with a Rochefort 10

After searching the packed pub both upstairs and down and not finding a seat in the house, Ruth & I were fortunate enough to be invited by another couple, on a holiday from Holland, to share the next available table.   I started my night off with a Malheur 12, which is a Quadruple and 12% abv from Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV .  Ruth started with a  Rochefort 10, also a Quadruple at 11.3% abv from  Brasserie de Rochefort (Abbaye de Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy).   After we finished our Quadruples, we said goodbye to our new Dutch friends and left to check out one more pub before heading off to dinner.

Den Trollekelder

As we walked to Café Den Trollekelder (17 Bij Sint-Jacobs) we heard what sounded like a jazz band practicing nearby.  So as I went to check out Den Trollekelder, Ruth went to track down where the great music was coming from. 

Den Trollekelder's troll window

Den Trollekelder's troll window

The 1st thing I saw upon approaching Den Trollekelder were all the trolls in the window.  The 2nd thing I noticed was the beer list hanging in the window, at a quick glance it appeared they had about 150 beers.  Great list, now to find a seat.  As I entered I noticed how empty the place looked.   I walked through the 2 levels and the only person I saw was the bartender.   I thought this was strange, given the fact of how crowded Dulle Griet had been and how good the beer menu looked.    I headed back out the door to find Ruth who hadn’t appeared in this troll den yet.

Trefpunt

I saw her standing next door in front of Trefpunt (18 Bij Sint-Jacobs) talking to an elder man with a small plaid shopping cart.   The stranger my wife was chatting it up with was Coen, a local artist and poet.   He apparently carries all his poetry in that shopping cart.  He confirmed that the jazz band we heard would be playing shortly in Trefpunt, which is a music and theater café.   We went in & found a couple of seats at the bar near the stage.    They have a small beer list of 6 beers on tap and 18 bottled.  We both managed to find a something to our liking.

Mike & Ruth toast with an Orval & Rochefort 8 in Trefpunt

Ruth stayed with Rochefort and this time ordered a Rochefort 8, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, 9.2% abv from  Brasserie de Rochefort. I matched her Trappist with an Orval, a Belgian Pale Ale.  It is 6.90% abv and brewed by Brasserie d’Orval S.A.  

Coen and Ruth got into a conversation about everything from the French Poetry to Bob Dylan. This was followed by her attempt at interpreting his Flemish reading of one of his poems, (the Rocheforts obviously somehow endowed her with translating superpowers).  By the time the band started to play we were starving so after the first set we headed out in search of dinner.  

Aba Jour

Board welcoming you into Aba Jour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went to the beer enthusiasts’ restaurant Aba-Jour (20 Oudburg) which serves Italian & Belgian fair.   Aba-Jour had 6 beers on tap, 55 bottled plus 10 specials on their menu board including Vin de Céréale and Stille Nacht 2003.

Rochefort 6 in Aba Jour

Drie Founteine Oude Geuze in Aba Jour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we waited to be seated for dinner, we sat at the bar and Ruth went for a Rochefort trifecta and ordered the Rochefort 6, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 7.5% Abv from  Brasserie de Rochefort.   I went with Drie Founteine Oude Geuze,  a 6.0% abv which is a Gueuze from Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen

Cantillon's Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio in Aba Jour

With my spaghetti dinner I stayed in the Gueuze family and ordered Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio,  a 5.0% Gueuze from Brasserie Cantillon.

 

Ruth holding a haiku by Coen

Above is a Haiku, written that evening for us by Coen (Coenraed de Waele ) with one of the 7 or so pens he had in his jacket pocket for such occasions.  (For those of you not familiar with Haiku, it is a Japanese form of poetry written in 3 lines, the 1st line has 5 syllables, the second line has 7 syllables and the 3rd line has 5 syllables.) This is what it says.

 Hear close harmony.

Some Americans in town.

My mind runs open.

                        By Coenraed de Waele

 The next morning and early afternoon we spent touring around Gent.  During our rounds we came across 2 beer bars, which were unfortunately closed at that time of the day.  

 

Het Verdronken Land

The 1st one was Het Verdronken Land (57 Steendam) which is a tapasbar.   They have about 50 beers on their list and is only a short walk N.E. from Den Trollekelder.

 
 
 
 

Delirium Café

Delirium Café entrance

The 2nd beer bar which was closed was Delirium Café , (2 Klein Turkije).   The Delirium’s entrance would lead you to their basement bar.  This is the sister bar of the famous Delirium Café in Brussels, but is has nowhere near the 2000 beers you will find in Brussels.  It does, however, have an impressive 150 beers on its menu.      

Gruut in the Christmas Market

While we walked thru the Christmas Market we came upon a booth promoting a new brewery in town named Gruut.   We had a sample of their Belgian Amber Ale which is, as the name says an Amber Ale at 6.6% abv.  We found the beer, the way it was made and the beer glass all very interesting, so we inquired about the Brewery.  Once we found out it was about a half mile away, we headed off to see…

Gruut Gentse Stadsbrouwerij

Entrance to Gruut

Gruut Gentse Stadsbrouwerij (10 Grote Huidevettershoek) is a Hop-less brewery.  The head brewer a female.   They currently make 4 beers, a Wit Beer 5%abv; a Blond 5.5% abv; an Amber Ale 6.6% abv and a Bruin 8% which at the time was in production but not bottled yet.  

Gruut's Amber, Blond & Wit bottles

Gruut is the name of a medieval mixture of spices and herbs used to make beer instead of using hops.  Gruut was also the name of the local currency in the middle ages which was used to pay the taxes on the amount of Gruut used.  

 

Gruut

Gruut

Gruut

Here at Gruut they use modern equipment and brewing techniques in the old-fashioned tradition.

The bar/brewery/tasting room is very modern and nice.  And it’s worth the visit just to see the restrooms…

Gruut's Mens room

Gruut's Blond & Wit with some snacks

With a snack of hard cheese and salami, Ruth enjoyed the Belgium Wit Beer and while I had their Belgium Blond.

 

‘t Gouden Mandeke entrance

A peek inside ‘t Gouden Mandeke

A peek inside Gouden Mandeke

The walk back into town from Gruut made us thirsty so we stopped off at ‘t Gouden Mandeke (9 Pensmarkt) for a beer.   This was a quaint bar with baskets hanging along the beams of the ceiling.  They were very crowded and there was no place to sit, not even at the bar.  A quick peek at the beer menu revealed that they had about 50 beers, a good selection, but nothing we couldn’t find elsewhere in town. With a thought of a later return visit, we headed off to find a place where we could sit and enjoy a beer.  

‘t Galgenhuisje

We walked to the end of the block to ‘t Galgenhuisje (5 Groentenmarkt).  This is the smallest bar in Gent.  The location was where they used to hang people, hence its name “the Gallows House”.  They had 4 beers on tap and 14 bottled beers.   They made up for the small beer list with a great atmosphere.   Amazingly enough, a couple was leaving as we arrived so we were able to grab one of the few tables that fit into this doll house sized pub.

Ruth & Mike toast in ‘t Galgenhuisje with a Westmalle Triple & Gentse Tripel

I had the Gentse Tripel, which is an 8.0% abv Tripel from the Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.  Ruth drank a Westmalle triple, which is a 9.50% abv Tripel from Brouwerij Westmalle (Adbij der Trappisten van Westmalle).   We meet a great couple sitting at the table next to us.  After a while of chatting across our tables, we invited them to join us at our table, which made for an easier conversation.  And opened up a table for another group!

‘t Galgenhuisje with our new friends

She is a native of Gent and he is also a native from Gent, but he now lives in Canada a few months out of the year.   We enjoyed their company so much that after we finished our drinks here the four of us walked across the street to…

 
 
Het Waterhuis Aan De Bierkant

Het Waterhuis Aan De Bierkant  (9 Groentenmarkt).  Waterhuis is wonderful bar, if the weather is nice you can grab some grub and a beer outside while enjoying the canal view and people watching.  Inside it is a two story bar with a casual atmosphere.   They have an excellent beer menu; that night they had 16 beers on tap and over 150 bottled.   

I drank a Oud Beersel Oude Gueze Vieille , a 6% abv Gueuze which is brewed by Brouwerij Oud Beersel,  Ruth had the N’ice Chouffe, which is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% abv.  This is a Christmas beer made from by the Brasserie d’Achouffe which was van ‘t vat (from the tap). 

Oud Beersel Oude Gueze Vieille

N’ice Chouffe

 

Waterhuis cheers with friends

Our new friends and drinking companions treated us to a round.  We look forward to sharing a few with them when we return to Gent during our Belgium Beer Barge Tour in October!

It was then off to dinner after consulting with the locals.  We ate at a restaurant called Coeur d’Artichaut (6 Onderbergen). It had a kind of modern sparse décor, high ceilings, black and white.  Great atmosphere, great food, great end to a great day!  All while having the proper glassware for my Duvel too!

Gent at night:

Gent at night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beer Travels in Belgium Part 2

This is the 2nd in the series of our review of our recent trip to Belgium.  We visited Bruges, Gent, Mechelen, Antwerp & Brussels over 7 days, meeting with vendors for our beer tour company BonBeerVoyage.com.  During our whirlwind week, we were able to visit over 50 beer related places and tried over 50 beers. 

This entry focuses on our 2nd day of the trip, while we were in Bruges.  On this day we visited 1 bottle shop, 5 bars, 1 brewery & finished the night off dining in an award winning restaurant known for their cuisine a la bière.

Bruges has many bottle shops to buy beer & beer related glassware, today we visited The Bottle Shop (Wollestraat 13).

The Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop

The Bottle Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bottle Shop has a very large selection of beers to choose from and a very good assortment of glassware.  Above I have shown only 3 of the many walls of beer.   If you do buy here, they do a great job of packing up your beer/glassware safely, which is key if you plan on packing it in your checked in luggage. 

On Breidelstraat, the street connecting the Burg & the Grote Market, there is a very small alley way (De Garre) which leads to 2 bars.  You can very easily walk right by if you’re not paying attention.  You’ll spot what looks like a doorway and has the word Cookie’s written on the glass pane above the alley entrance.

Alley to de Garre

Chalkboard for Garre and Cookies

          In the very back of this alleyway is Cookie’s (2 De Garre).  If you are in the mood for tapas, hot or cold, stop in for a bite and maybe even a beer.  The beer menu is very limited, they had 4 beers on tap (Jupiler, Keizer Karel Blond, Brugse Zot Blond & Brugse Zot Bruin & 8 bottle beers, nothing which you can’t find back in the USA, Duvel, Tripel Karmeliet, Orval, Chimay blue, Westmalle dubbel & tripel and Rochefort 10, all bottles were 3.50 euro except for Rochefort which was 4.80 & the Mystic Kriek at 2.30.

Character in Staminee De Garre

The gem in this alley is Staminee De Garre (1 De Garre).  It is a little bar, with a very nice atmosphere and 135 bottled beers.  If you’re lucky, you might run into the guy in the top hat (above), who was whistling songs.  If it is crowded downstairs, head up the narrow staircase to a larger room upstairs.  If you’re only going to have 1 beer, the beer to try here is the House Tripel, which is brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge.  It is a Tripel and 8% abv and you will not be disappointed!  They serve your beer with a small plate of cheese.

@ The Pub

@ The Pub menu

The closest bar to the Belfry (Belfort) Tower is @ The Pub (4 Hallenstraat).  They have a nice selection of about 100 beers. See menu above. In @ the Pub you have 2 seating areas inside- as you enter to the left is the bar area and to the right is a lounge area.  If the weather is nice you can sit outside and enjoy your beer as well.

Eetcafe Leopold

Leopold beer / liquor menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eetcafe Leopold (26 ‘t Zand) is located across from the tourist information office.  Besides having 8 different types of Croque’s, which are very tasty, they have a fairly nice beer list of about 40 bottles.

3 Tripels & a Bruin

Shown above are 4 of them, Kasteel Bruin, Kasteel Tripel, Westmalle Triple & Tripel Karmeliet.   The notices written (in Dutch, French & German respectively) on the cigar sign translate to: smoke is deadly, smoke kills & smoke is deadly. 

De Halve Maan entrance

2 beers available at De Halve Maan

Brouwerij De Halve Mann / Brouwerij Straffe Hendrik (26 Walplein).  This is the only brewery within Bruges.  It is less than a half mile walk from the train station.  They give a guided tour of the brewery and museum which last about 45 minutes and cost 5.50 euros.  It is a very entertaining tour and in the museum you will see among other things a huge collection of old metal beer cans and vintage beer glasses.  The tour is well worth the price of admission, plus it includes a tasting of Bruges Zot.

Straffe Hendrik Tripel

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brugse Zot, was poured from the tap.  It is a Belgium Pale Ale and is 6.0%abv.

Straffe Hendrik Brugs Tripel Bier, is a 9% abv Tripel.

't Brugs Beertje

't Brugs Beertje

‘t Brugs Beertje (5 Kemelstraat) is just 250 yards from the Grote Market off Steenstraat.  It is my favorite bar in Bruges.  Not only do they have a fantastic beer menu, but the service is great and it is a wonderful place to meet and mingle with locals and other beer enthusiasts.  We only had time to stop by and say hello to Daisy, the owner and have 1 beer, which was Gouden Carolus Noël.  This is a Belgium Strong Dark Ale of 10.5% abv and is brewed by Brouwerij Het Anker

Den Dyver Gold Award 2009

For dinner we went to Den Dyver  (5 Dijver) which is known for its cuisine a la bière.  They received the 2009 Gold Medal Beer & Gastronomy Award from Bierpassie, Ambiance Magazine & Maxwell Williams.   At Den Dyver you have the choice of ordering a la carte or choosing from their 3, 4 or 5 course menus.  The 3, 4 or 5 course meals can be paired with either beer or wine and are actually cooked in the paired beer.   My wife had the 3 course meal & beer pairing & I went for the 4 course.

hopped up champagne & house pale ale

We started off with an aperitif, mine was the House Pale Ale, unknown abv & brewer.  Ruth had the house aperitif, which was a hopped up champagne.

Blanche de Hainaut Biologique

Struise Rosse

            For appetizers, I had the swordfish steak with an anchovy crust which was paired with Blanche de Hainaut Biologique, a Witbier  with a5.5% abv.  This was brewed by Brasserie Dupont sprl.  Ruth had the duck confit which was paired with Struise Rosse, vintage 2007, 6.0% abv.  This is a Belgian Pale Ale brewed by De Struise Brouwers.  Both were perfect pairings.

Westmalle toast

For the main course we both had the duck paired with the Westmalle Tripel, which is a Tripel with a 9.5% abv.  This is brewed by Adbij der Trappsten van Westmalle (Brouwerij Westmalle).  The Westmalle was a good match for the duck.

Het Kapittel Pater & Bink Winterkoninkske

For dessert, my wife had an assortment of cheese which was paired with Het Kapittel Pater brewed by Brouwerij Van Eccke, it is a Belgian Dark Ale,6.00 % abv.  As usual, the beer was a great pairing for the cheese-and Ruth wondered “Why did we ever waste time pairing wine with cheese in the past?”

I had a pear strudel with Fourme d’ ambert, a French cheese which was paired with Bink Winterkoninkske, Belgium Dark Strong Ale with an 8.3%abv made by Brouwerij Kerkomj. This was an incredible combination, probably the highlight of the evening.

To end the evening of beer and food bliss I had a fig cake with almond cream.

The service was excellent. The son of the owner is the beer/wine sommelier, and presented each beverage with an explanation and a proper pour.  There were separate waiters and bus people, so we were very well taken care of.  The atmosphere is upscale yet relaxed. We are looking forward to returning with our tour group in October.

Coming up next in this series we will finish our time in Bruges by visits to 3 more bottle shops, 3 more beer bars, a gourmet chocolate shop and a cigar shop which serves beer in its backroom bar. Then we’ll head off to Gent.

Beer #9 Slaapmutske Triple Nightcap

Slappmutske Triple Nightcap

Name: Triple Nightcap

Style: Tripel

Brewery: Brouwerij Slaapmutske website

Country: Belgium

Region: Melle

ABV: 8.1%

How served: 750ml corked  bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass.

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.  

I paired this beer with: A Gyro platter.

Tasted on: Tuesday October 27, 2009

Note: “With a name like Slaapmutske it has to be good!”  Brewed & bottled by De Proef Brouwerij for Brouwerij Slaapmutske.  This tripel is a lot drier than the typical Belgian tripel, so it would be perfect for those who don’t like “sweeter” Belgian beers. (sorry about the quality of the picture today, only had my cell phone around)

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