Last night, the creators of Beer Blotter joined forces to learn about Belgium culture, learn the Dutch language and most importantly learn about Belgium beers (with the help of Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium).
Basically each week until our trip, we plan on getting together and sampling Belgium beers, eating Belgium foods and becoming more familiar with the arts, cultures and languages that we will encounter. Wij zijn Beer Blotter. Wij zijn van Amerika. Wij zouden van een bier houden. Thats all we have thus far. We are Beer Blotter. We are from America. We would like a beer.
Last night, we embarked on a journey of four Belgium beers, one Tripel, two Trappist and a sour pale. For your viewing pleasure, I bring you:
Brouwerij Bosteels, Tripel Karmeliet: This beer smells like a Pilsner, is light in color, tastes grainy at first (it is brewed with three different grains after all) and finishes with a sweet, berry flavor. All in all, this beer is not very complex and lacks character. However, kudos to the history of the Tripel Karmeliet as it is brewed from the same original 1679 recipe.
Petrus, Aged Pale: Let us just say, WOW. This beer is sour, sweet and does actually have some hop presence, although barely detectable. Michael Jackson named this beer “aged pale” back in 2001 when the beer was first released. In his book, he states that the brewers we concerned that “pale” meant weak and “aged” meant stale. This beer is quite the opposite and named appropriately. The pale characteristics are reminiscent in the smell, the color and body of the beer while the aged portion provides the sour qualities and complexity of flavors. This beer comes highly recommended!
Orval, Trappist Ale: One of the six trappist breweries in Belgium, this ale is not constrained by a style and goes above and beyond expectation. Brewed in Abbey Orval, this Trappist Ale is the only beer produced and is perfection. Orval is a very dry (like so dry you need to sip on water), yet rich beer. As time passes during your enjoyment, the flavors develop, open up and thats when you know its a damn good beer. The commercial description reads: In contrast to all the others, the Orval Trappist brewery makes only one beer for the general public. It has an intensely aromatic and dry character. Between the first and second fermentations there is also an additional dry-hopping process. Through this the beer acquires its pronounced hoppy aroma and extra dry taste.
Trappistes Rochefort, 8 or “Green Cap”: Another Trappist brewery from Belgium, Rochefort, makes three beers, 6, 8 and 10. This beer truly knocked our socks off, but lets start with the commercial description: Deep brown color; the flavor is vigorous and complex, with firm body to support the strength. The aroma has elusive notes of fresh fruit, spice, leather and figs. Vigorous is right! The smell is all consuming and utterly complex. Smells sweet almost like soda, candy apples, maple syrup and cherries with hints of a roaring fire. The “datey” flavor is very prevalent even through all of the joining flavors. This beer is like a perfectly composed melody with a bitter, coffee quality to finish. Please, do yourself a favor and get this beer because you can and why the hell wouldn’t you?
Next week Beer Blotter will have four more Belgium beauties, some mussels and frites and will hopefully learn another Dutch phrase or two. If you have any recommendations on which Belgium beers we should try and/or some Belgium food recipes, please leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your input is valued and needed!