It’s summer. It’s hot. And so we put away our stouts and whisky cask aged beers, and raise a glass of beer that light will almost certainly pass through.
One of the standout types of summer beer for me has long been wheat beer, which is broken down into weissbier, witbier, and the sour varieties, such as lambic, Berliner Weisse and gose. The basic translation from German or Dutch (still the unrivaled masters of this top-fermented beer) is white beer. You might also have noticed hefeweizen, which is simply an unfiltered white beer which will appear cloudy when poured.
The selection tonight is Rieder Helle Weisse, out of Austria.
It pours nicely with minimal head and decent aroma. It’s a bit cloudy, and a brilliant golden wheat colour. The flavour is smooth, with a hint of citrus and banana, and a very clean finish. Not an astounding wheat beer, but certainly a very good one.
Fremont Brewing’s Homefront IPA is a beer for a cause; a charity dedicated to US Military veterans. It’s “A full-bodied Northwest IPA brewed with oranges and aged on Louisville Slugger™ Bats”. This seems more gimmicky than tasty, but Fremont is a good local brewery, so here we go!
The beer is a delight to the nose, but it definitely does not live up to the initial promise. It’s a serviceable IPA, mind you; smooth and easy-drinking. It just falls short of the floral intensity of its aroma.
Would I drink it again? Yes, but Fremont has better beers, so it’ll be an occasional thing at best.
Father’s day treated me well this year – a shiny bottle of Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar joined my collection (Dominican rum distiller). It’s a blend of rums aged 5 to 14 years. It was given to me courtesy of some random guy at the liquor store. **My mom actually paid for it, but said random rum lover gushed over the Brugal 1888 Reserva, so I went with it.
The Brugal isn’t as dark and rich in appearance as say, Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva, but it’s still appealing to the eye. It has plenty of legs that reveal a light bodied rum – when swirled in your glass, it settles down the sides quickly and in thin lines. So, how does it taste? The Brugal Reserva offering is subtle to start, but comes on strong with cinnamon and caramel. Harshness follows with hints of vanilla. I kept waiting for the finish to……well…..finish. But the bite lingered and fluctuated between smokiness and spices, and left me wanting a smooth run for my next sip that didn’t come. You could even call it an imposter – a rum that poses as a scotch (**for the record, I love scotch). At $62+ for a bottle, I can think of a number of cheaper offerings I prefer. I’m not saying this is poor quality rum – far from it. It’s just that I wouldn’t drink this again if I’m buying. No offense mom and random liquor store guy.
Delerium Nocturnum is an 8.5% Belgian Strong Ale from the Huyghe Brewery in Belgium. It pours out a beautiful rich brown head with a nice head. It was rich enough to stand up to and even pair nicely with a Cohiba. While it is a very tasty beer, I found I liked its sister, Delerium Tremens even better. I thought Tremens was richer, sweeter, and more complex, more of what I expect in a Belgian ale. I would definitely drink it again but would take Tremens every time if given the choice!
On another note, I really need to get the proper glassware for a Belgian ale. I don’t think I have the palate to detect the difference made by glassware, it’s more for the experience. But then again, who knows…..
This is Columbus from Brouwerij ‘t IJ in Amsterdam. It is a 9% beer that is rich and complex. I tried many of the beers at Brouwerij ‘t IJ but this was by far my favorite.
I would definitely drink this again, it is so good. As far as I know though, Brouwerij ‘t IJ doesn’t export to Canada. I managed to bring 4 bottles back with me in my suitcase, I’m down to three now. I’m guarding it carefully but I want to drink it! I’m hoping that my good friends in Amsterdam will do their best to hook me up with more! (Are you listening Scotty?)
If you are ever in Amsterdam I would highly recommend going down to the Brouwerij ‘t IJ, hang out on their beer garden and try all their beers, especially the Columbus!
Today I drank this bottle of Maudite from Unibroue in Chambly, Quebec. It is wonderful, I’ve had it on tap at the Sugarbowl and it is just as good out of the bottle. I love this beer, it has that fruity, yeasty taste that I associate with a Belgian abbey ale. The cork gave me a run for my money but it was worth the work! This is an unfiltered, refermented in the bottle beer so there is still yeast in the bottom, I love that , just be aware of it when you pour this beer. I would drink this again, on tap or from the bottle.
I have long wanted to get my hands on a Trappist Westvleteren beer. Westvleteren, located in West Flanders Belgium, is the smallest and most secretive of the Trappist brewers. Not only is their beer itself scarce because of the small production, but anyone wishing to purchase beer can only buy it in limited amounts, and even then, only from the monks themselves. They sell only to individual customers who agree not to resell the beer. People have been caught and prosecuted for doing so.
I’ve long had my eye on this beer, and long worried that I’d never see it, let alone have a chance to drink it. But I have great friends, and through them my proverbial ship came in this past Christmas. Impossibly huge thanks goes out to Kevin & Cath!
I stress at this time that this beer was a gift. I didn’t buy it or sell it. I did, however, share it.
The first thing to note is the bottle. Simple. Brown. No label. The only identification is the cap.
The beer pours nicely, with beautiful colour. It’s fairly cloudy. The first big surprise was the smell. As is often the case with good beer and especially Trappist beer, the smell and the taste don’t always match up. I smelled fruit, predominantly cherry, and spice.
Tasting Westvleteren 8 was an absolute pleasure. It was so well balanced. The cherry and spice that I smelled came through, but I also picked up hints of caramel and toasted malt. There was certainly more, but I’ll admit that in the face of the Westvleteren 8 my palette is probably out of it’s depth. This beer drinks a bit sweet, but finishes dry.
I’m not sure when I’ll have my hands on another bottle of this rare and incredible beer, but you can bet that some time in the future I will drink Westvleteren 8 again. Even if it means hunting for seat sales.