392. Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise (2002)

392. Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise (2002)



I've moved on to the more expensive Cantillon Lambics that Downtown Wine and Spirits carries. I'll eventually try them all, but not at the rate I've been going. The Lou Pepe lambics are fruitier than Cantillon's other lambic offerings. There's a nice description of how the beers are produced here. I let this warm to approximately 40º F and served it in one of my New Belgium snifter style glasses. I consumed the 750 mL bottle over a period that allowed the beer to reach room temperature.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: 750 mL bottle
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a hazy deep red with a thin white fizzy head that quickly dissipates. Sparse bubbles rise up the sides of the glass to create a patchy thin ring.

Smell (4.5): Aromas of raspberries, sourness, and an intense funky wet blanket aroma.

Taste (4.5): The characteristic lambic flavors are present. There's an acidic tartness that greets the palate. It mellows into fruity raspberry flavors. The sourness reasserts itself in the finish, though not as much as some of Cantillon's other offerings. Funky lambic flavors are also present in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Lightly carbonated, light-bodied with a puckering sourness and dry finish.

Drinkability (4.0): Like most lambics, Lou Pepe Framboise is a sipping beer.

Overall (4.55): An excellent lambic. The fruitiness is much more evident in this beer than in other Cantillon beers that I've had.

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391. St. Bernardus Witbier

391. St. Bernardus Witbier



I purchased this beer last night at Downtown Wine and Spirits. I let it warm slightly and served it in my San Francisco Brewing Company pint glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Alcohol: 5.50%
Serving: 11.2 oz. bottle
Style: Witbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a very cloudy beige with an almost pink tink in the light. A fluffy white head thins down to an incredibly persistent half-inch layer that leaves lace on the glass.

Smell (4.5): Spicy and fruity. Notes of bananas, coriander, pepper, grain, citrus and alcohol.

Taste (4.5): Sweet fruitiness upfront that moves into a spicy finish with pepper, coriander, citrus and graininess.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Tingly carbonation, smooth, light-bodied with a crisp grainy finish.

Drinkability (4.5): Very refreshing, great for a hot day.

Overall (4.25): A very nice wit.

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390. Ayinger Bräu Weisse

390. Ayinger Bräu Weisse



I purchased this tonight at Downtown Wine & Spirits along with a few other bottles. I'd already made a trip to a liquor store for beer this week. However, after working in lab for 17 hours yesterday, sleeping on the couch in my advisor's office and getting up early today I figured it was worth it. I chilled this in the fridge and served it in my UFO Weizen glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Privatbrauerei Franz Inselkammer KG / Brauerei Aying
Alcohol: 5.10%
Serving: 500 mL
Style: Hefe Weizen, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy golden with a thick creamy white head that collapses to a thin quarter-inch layer.

Smell (4.0): Very yeasty with notes of bubble-gum, banana, clove and citrus. There are also grainy and spicy aromas.

Taste (3.5): Sweet upfront, with spicy cloves in the center and a citric and grainy finish.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light-bodied, moderate carbonation with a crisp finish.

Drinkability (4.0): Very refreshing, especially given the current weather.

Overall (3.75): This is a good beer, but not my favorite Hefe.

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Sundry

Today I received a bottle of Westvleteren Blonde and a bottle of Westvleteren 12 in the mail. I also got a nifty Westvleteren crate.

I also purchased tickets for David, Bennett and I to go to Cooperstown, NY on the weekend of July 14th for the Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Festival held at Brewery Ommegang. We'll probably also visit the Baseball Hall of Fame as well.

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389. Gulden Draak

389. Gulden Draak



I purchased a bottle of Gulden Draak at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm to around 55ºF and served it in one of my Ommegang chalices.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Alcohol: 10.50%
Serving: 11.2 oz
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy brown with ruby edges. A thin beige head tops the beer and quickly fades to a very persistent layer.

Smell (4.5): Sweet malts, dried fruits, dates, peppery spice, yeast and moderate alcohol.

Taste (4.0): Sweet and bready upfront with notes of dried fruit. There's a slight tartness before the spicy alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Smooth, medium-bodied, creamy, tingly-carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): The alcohol is pretty strong, but the flavors are very nice.

Overall (4.1): A nice sweet, spicy and strong dark ale.

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387-388. The Publick House

Tonight it was time for another trip to The Publick House, which I would patronize far more often if it wasn't such a trip.

387. 12th Anniversary Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale



I had this beer with our appetizer of Publick House Fries and McChouffe Garlic Mayo and Wostyntje Mustard. It also lasted through my entree, which was Veal McChouffe. The fries were excellent as were both dipping sauces. The veal was topped with a mushroom and beer sauce and was served with asparagus and a potato croquette. The food was excellent as always.

I picked this beer because of the back-story involving the name. What's the deal behind the name?

The label doesn't quite say it all -- it omits details of a two-month undercover investigation into smoking pot at weekly tasting parties and how said gatherings violated a city of Petaluma use permit --- but it says enough to convey Magee's resulting defiance and disgust.

But investigators, Magee said, were sure they were going to uncover "major dealing going on here." They later told him "no one was willing to sell it to them, but everyone was willing to give it to them for free," he said.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Alcohol: 9.90%
Serving: Draft, 10 oz.
Style: American Double IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear dark brown with hints of amber. A creamy beige head thins to a persistent layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Sweet malt aromas as well as aromas of strong resiny hops.

Taste (4.5): Sweet caramel malt flavors dominate at the front of the palate, followed by a light spiciness in the center with a resiny hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Smooth, medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (4.0): Smooth and well balanced, making this dangerously drinkable at 9.9% abv.

Overall (4.2): Very nice sweetness and mild spiciness that are balanced well by a significant bitterness. Delicious.

388. Cantillon Kriek 100% Lambic



I had a 12 oz. bottle of the Cantillon Kriek after dinner. It was served in a small Cantillon glass with an interesting shape.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: 12 oz bottle
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a hazy deep red with a fleeting pink head. Small bubbles feed a faint ring.

Smell (4.5): Sour cherries and an acidic sourness. The characteristic Cantillon funk is evident and becomes more prominent upon swirling. I poured the remaining beer with yeast into my glass when I had finished and the aroma became much funkier.

Taste (4.5): Puckeringly sour. Sweet cherry flavors briefly appear above the sourness. The finish is sour with funky almost savory flavors. Decanting the yeast moderated the sourness somewhat.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied wih a light oiliness. There is tingly carbonation evident, though it isn't strong it's much more noticable when compared to other Cantillon offerings.

Drinkability (4.0): Very tasty, though made for sipping.

Overall (4.5): Another excellent lambic from Cantillon.

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386.Victory Prima Pils

386. Victory Prima Pils



I purchased a six-pack of this last night at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let it cool down in the fridge and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Victory Brewing Company
Alcohol: 5.30%
Serving: 12 oz.
Style: German Pilsener, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a crystal clear golden with a fluffy white headthat thins to a persistent layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (3.5): Aromas of resiny hops and slightly sweet grainy malts.

Taste (3.5): Sweet toasty malt flavors followed by a nice strong balancing bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Mild carbonation, smooth and light bodied.

Drinkability (4.5): Flavorful, balanced and pleasingly bitter.

Overall (3.75): I'm not a huge fan of the style, but Prima Pils has a nice balancing bitterness that I like.

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153. Hennepin

153. Hennepin



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits and had it last night. I let it warm and served it in one of my New Belgium snifter style glasses.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brewery Ommegang
Alcohol: 7.50%
Serving: 750 mL
Style: Saison, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a lightly hazy golden with hints of amber. The clarity is good and reveals vigorous carbonation feeding a thick frothy white head. Retention is good, though the head eventually fades to a thin layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.5): The aroma reminds me of a hefe-weizen. There are notes of yeast, banana and cloves. Additionally there are aromas of grain and citrus.

Taste (4.5): Tart lemony citrus and fruity flavors upfront fade into a peppery grainy and grassy finish with a nice balancing bitterness.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Smooth, mild carbonation (considering the bubbles), light oiliness with a dry finish.

Drinkability (5.0): Well balanced refreshing and incredibly easy to drink.

Overall (4.7): This is another great Ommegang beer. Incredibly tasty and refreshing.

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385. Cantillon Vigneronne

385. Cantillon Vigneronne



I purchased this a few nights ago at Downtown Wine and Spirits. I think this was the last of the $15 Cantillon bottles that I hadn't tried. There are three $30 bottles and one $40 bottle left. I'll eventually pick them all up. Vigneronne came in a corked and capped green 750 mL bottle. The label says "Blended Lambic Beer Brewed With Italian Muscat Grapes". I let this warm to around 45ºF and served it in one of my New Belgium snifters. It was consumed over the course of an hour and a half, and by the end the beer had reached ambient temperature (~70º F). The artwork on most of Cantillon's labels is very nice; this bottle is no exception.

Beer Stats:
Year: Bottled in 2004
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: 750 mL
Style: Fruit Lambic. BJCP Style Guide.

Appearance (5.0): Pours an absolutely brilliant hazy golden color, with a wispy head that thins to a tight white ring. The carbonation seems to be somewhat higher than the other Cantillon beers that I've tried.

Smell (4.0): This beer has the smell that I've come to expect from Cantillon lambics. There is an intense sour aroma, with a funky earthy barnyard aroma that emerges upon swirling. There are also light fruity aromas, but these are masked by the other aromas.

Taste (4.5): I could pick out some very lightly sweet fruity flavors that could be grapes. The sourness begins lightly in the center and grows in intensity through the finish where it mingles with earthy hay-like flavors.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Light carbonation is more evident than in other Cantillon beers. There's a slick oiliness and a very dry finish.

Drinkability (4.0): The intense sourness means that this is a beer for sipping.

Overall (4.45): There's a very nice interplay between fruit, sourness and funk in this beer. Lambics are fast becoming one of my favorite styles.

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384. Trappist Westvleteren 8

384. Trappist Westvleteren 8



I received this back in April, along with a bottle of Westvleteren Blonde. I'd been waiting until I was in the right mood to give this a try. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in my Westvleteren Chalice.

Beer Stats:
Alcohol: 8%
Serving: 11.2 oz.
Style: Dubbel. BJCP Style Guide.

Appearance (4.5): Pours a dark brown with hints of garnet at the edges. The excellent clarity reveals vigorous carbonation. A fluffy beige head tops the beer. The head persists well eventually fading into a thin layer leaving lace behind.

Smell (4.0): Sweet candy malts dominate, with aromas of fruit and a slight spiciness. Yeasty aromas and moderate alcohol are also evident.

Taste (4.5): Sweet candy flavors upfront with dark fruits and more subtle note of yeast and spice. The finish is significantly bitter which provides a nice balance to the sweetness. Decanting the yeast into the beer at the end increases the yeast flavors and the spiciness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Not overly carbonated, smooth and medium bodied.

Drinkability (5.0): Easy to drink and delicious.

Overall (4.45): A very good and well-balanced beer.

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Beer Ratings

This is my last post until sometime next weekend. Tomorrow I'm leaving for the Meiosis Gordon Research Conference in New Hampshire.

Earlier today I was thinking about what my numerical ratings actually correspond to. So, I came up with descriptions for each half-point increment. Looking back at the beers that I've rated almost all of them fit into these categories.

4.0-5.0: Fantastic (or your favorite adjective)

4.0-4.45: Very Good

3.5-3.95: Good

3.0-3.45: Average/OK

2.5-2.95: Mediocre

2.0-2.45: Bad

1.5-1.95: Terrible

1.0-1.45: Undrinkable

Hopefully assigning qualitative descriptors to the quantitative ratings will also help me become more consistent. I would appreciate comments on these descriptors if you have them (I'm looking at you Win, David and Ward).

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383. Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout (2005)

383. Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout (2005)



I purchased this several months ago and haven't really felt up to the task of drinking and rating it until now. The bottle says "A very dark beer brewed with a ridiculous amount of barley". That "ridiculous amount of barley brings the abv of this one up to a massive 18% I let this warm to approximately 55ºF and served it in one of my New Belgium Snifters.

Beer Stats:
Alcohol: 18%
Serving: 12 oz.
Style: American Double Stout. BJCP Style Guide.

Appearance (4.5): Pours an opaque dark brown that approaches black. A dark brown one-finger head tops the beer. The head thins to a patchy layer leaving some lace. This beer has legs.

Smell (4.5): The aroma of alcohol is immediately evident, though not overpowering. Rich sweet malty aromas dominate. I detect raisins, caramel and chocolate. There are light roasted aromas as well but these are subtle. Swirling brings out more of the dried fruit aromas.

Taste (3.5): This beer is very sweet. I get hints of chocolate and caramel as well as lots of dried fruit flavors like raisins and dates. The finish has just a hint of roasted bitterness along with strong warming alcohol. I think a little more roasted character would go a long way.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Light tingly carbonation, full-bodied, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability (3.5): Of necessity this is a sipping beer.

Overall (4.0): This beer was a little too sweet for me. A little more roasted bitterness would go a long way for balance. As is this would make an excellent dessert beer.

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382. Cantillon Broucsella 1900 Grand Cru



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits tonight. I chilled it in the fridge and served it in one of my New Belgium snifters. This is the fourth Cantillon beer that I've had in the last few weeks. I've been slowly working through the Cantillon selection at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I've been sticking to the "cheaper" bottles, but I'll eventually shell out the $30 for either a LouPepe Framboise, a Lou Pepe Gueuze or maybe the $40 for a Saint Lamvinus. My next Cantillon purchase will probably be Fou' Foune, their apricot lambic. This is an Unblended Lambic. BJCP Style Guide.

Appearance (4.0): Pours a hazy golden with a thin layer of large bubbles that quickly disappear leaving only a transient thin ring.

Smell (4.0): Much like the other Cantillon lambics the nose is dominated by sour and musty earthy aromas. These are more subdued than the other Cantillon beers that I've tried. I also noticed a light fruity sweetness. A sniff directly from the bottle reminds me of grapes, but I don't catch this once decanted.

Taste (3.5): Upfront there are tart lemony and citric flavors that mingle with a light sweetness. The finish is earthy and significantly sour. The flavors are mellower than the Organic Gueuze and definitely more mellow than Rosé De Gambrinus.

Mouthfeel (3.5): No detectable carbonation, smooth and a little watery with an extremely dry finish.

Drinkability (5.0): For a lambic this is very drinkable.

Overall (3.85): This beer is enjoyable, but it doesn't stand up to the Lou Pepe Kriek or the Rosé De Gambrinus. The qualities that cause the taste score to suffer increase the score for drinkability though.

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381. Unibroue Chambly Noire

381. Unibroue Chambly Noire



I bought this at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm a little and served it in one of my Duvel tulips. Chambly Noire is a Belgian Dark Ale.

Appearance (4.5): The cork pops out very loudly. It pours an almost opaque black. Holding it to a bright light reveals a beautiful clear ruby color. It's topped with a creamy beige head with good retention.

Smell (3.5): Strong yeastiness, hints of malt and a light graininess. There's also a subtle tart fruitiness.

Taste (3.5): Sweet caramel malts, tart fruitiness, and a lightly sweet finish with hints of roasted bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light-bodied and a little watery. Prickly carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Smooth and easy to drink, but a little lacking in flavor.

Overall (3.7): This is a decent brew, but I was expecting something more flavorful.

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380. Ridgeway IPA

380. Ridgeway IPA



I got these a few nights ago at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm slightly and served it in my NERAX pint glass. Ridgeway IPA is an English IPA. BJCP Style Guide.

Appearance (4.0): Pours a copper color with good clarity. A half-inch white head tops the beer briefly before it thins to a patchy layer and then disappears completely.

Smell (3.5): Nice malt aroma, with sweet fruits and a light resiny hop aroma. I expected more hops.

Taste (3.0): Sweet fruitiness greets the palate upfront, followed by a toasty maltiness, and a moderate hop bitterness in the finish. I think this beer is really lacking in hop character to balance the sweetness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Moderate carbonation, light-bodied and slightly thin.

Drinkability (4.0): Easy drinking with pleasant flavors.

Overall (3.45): There are some nice flavors in this beer, but in the end it's too sweet for an IPA.

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379. Cantillon Organic Gueuze

379. Cantillon Organic Gueuze



Continuing on my sour beer kick I picked up a bottle of Cantillon Organic Gueuze. I lightly chilled this (50-55º F) and served it in one of my New Belgium snifters. This beer is a Gueuze. BJCP Style Guide.

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy golden, with good clarity. It's topped by a half-inch white head that fades to a persistent thin ring.

Smell (4.5): This smells a lot like the Rosé de Gambrinus that I had last night. There are characteristic sour lambic and barnyard aromas. However, upon sitting sweet fruity aromas appear, pear stands out to me.

Taste (4.5): A citric sourness greets the tongue, followed by an explosion of fruitiness in the center followed by a sour lambic finish. The sourness is mellow compared to the other Cantillon lambics that I've had. Nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light prickly carbonation, light-bodied with a very dry finish.

Drinkability (4.5): The sourness is nicely balanced making this very drinkable.

Overall (4.35): My experience with the style is limited, but I found this very enjoyable. It wasn't as sour as I had hoped, but this is probably for the best as it allows an intense fruitiness to shine through.

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378. Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus

378. Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus



I bought this tonight at Downtown Wine and Spirits because I've been in the mood for sour Lambics and Flanders Red Ales after having Lou Pepe Kriek at The Belgian Room. I cooled this to about 50ºF and served it in one of by New Belgium snifters. Rosé De Gambrinus is a Fruit Lambic. BJCP Style Guide.

Yes, there is something going on on the label (click for full size):


There's a good blog entry at Pfiff! about how lambics are made, and issues current lambic producers face.

Appearance (4.5): Pours a nice hazy rose color with amber tints. Thin wispy bubbles form upon pouring, but dissipate quickly.

Smell (4.5): Sour lambic aroma, funky wet blanket aroma, and hints of raspberries.

Taste (5.0): Light sweetness is evident upfront and in the center. Fruity flavors emerge in the center and mingle with funky earthy flavors. Wow, the finish is intensely sour. Really, really, really sour.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Low carbonation, light-bodied, smooth, and very dry in the finish.

Drinkability (4.0): I can see the sourness being way too much for some, but even if you enjoy the sourness this is a beer to sip.

Overall (4.65): A very nice, very authentic lambic. Enjoyable and well worth the $14 I paid for the bottle.

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377. Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

377. Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I chilled this and served in one of my New Belgium snifters. Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel is a fusion between Belgian Tripels and American Double IPAs. Fittingly, "Houblon" is French for "hop." Tripel BJCP Style Guide. American Double IPA BJCP Style Guide.

There's been quite a bit of anticipation and hype surrounding this beer. There's a good article about it on Beer Advocate.

Appearance (5.0): Pours a hazy brilliant golden with an enormous fluffy white head. The head is very persistent eventually collapsing into a meringue-like head. Lace coats the inside of the glass, and small bubbles rise to the surface.

Smell (4.5): Definitely smells like a Tripel. There notes of pepper, sweet fruit, and yeast, along with an alcoholic twang. The resiny and piney hop aromas are low, but present.

Taste (4.5): Very much like a Tripel upfront. There are flavors of sweet fruit, pepper and tart citrus. The finish is significantly bitter, though the hop flavors are somewhat mellow. Spicy alcohol is also detectable in the finish, with a light sweetness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Prickly carbonation, smooth and slightly oily.

Drinkability (4.0): Alcohol is evident, but not overpowering. The spiciness and sweetness of a Triple balance the hop bitterness very well.

Overall (4.5): This is an interesting fusion of styles. There are very pleasant Tripel flavors along with a nice strident bitterness.

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