467-488. Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

David and I went to Beer Advocate's Return of the Belgian Beer Fest last night at the Cyclorama. This is the first BA fest that I've been to since they revamped the format. All pours are now two ounces, but tastings are unlimited rather than ticket based. While larger pours would have been nice, overall the changes are an improvement.

Food was provided by Sunset Grill and Tap. We had dinner before hand, but I saw grilled sausages with peppers and onions, moules frites, and pretzels. Waffle Haus was serving their always delicious waffles. We had two during the course of the evening.

We arrived at around 6 and stayed around as long as possible, getting beer from the booths that were still pouring. Quite a few people were dressed up in Halloween costumes, these were two of the most visible:



The cover to the fest guide was cool:



We talked to a few people. One woman was curious about my notes, we got a recommendation from a fest volunteer (Kastaar), and we got a great tip from another note taker about a single bottle of De Dolle Stille Nacht Reserva 2000 that was opened at 9 PM.

Rather than taking detailed notes on each beer I wrote a short paragraph about each. I've been pretty general in my notes, listing general characteristics more than specifics. There are several reasons for this including, speed of taking notes, lingering congestion from a cold, and the small sample sizes.


467. Dogfish Head Pangaea


Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pangea is brewed with an ingredient from every continent. It pours a hazy golden with a foamy head. The aroma is malty and a little spicy. The flavor is mild and sweet with caramel notes. Smooth and light bodied with moderate carbonation. Pangea was pleasant enough, but nothing phenomenal.


468. Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.
Year: 2004
Alcohol: 8.50%
Serving: Tap(?)
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Beer Advocate lists this as a Tripel, but when I asked what style it was teh guy said it was a Saison/Bière de Garde hybrid. Pours a hazy, pale golden. The aroma is sweet and fruity with a touch of mellow hops. The flavor is lightly fruity with a funky, hoppy finish. Light-bodied with high carbonation.


469. Allagash Curieux

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Alcohol: 9.50%
Serving: Tap
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Curieux is Allagash's Bourbon aged tripel. It pours a hazy golden. With aromas of fruit and bourbon. The beer is lightly fruity with spicy bourbon and vanilla flavors. Light-bodied with moderate carbonation.


470. Brooklyn BLAST!

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Tap
Style: American Double IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy golden with a strong aroma of citrusy hops. Fruity and citrusy upfront, but fades into a strong hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is oily with strong carbonation. Good stuff.


471. Bornem Dubbel

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Dubbel, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy brown with a thick beige head. The nose is heavy on caramel and dark fruits. The palate is sweet and malty with notes of raisins, pepper and a light bitterness. Very high carbonation.


472. Girardin Gueuze 1882 Black Label

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Girardin
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Gueuze, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy peach color, with a strong sour aroma and accompanying funkiness. The flavors are dominated by sourness, with notes of fruity cherries. Light-bodied, low carbonation with a dry finish. Very good.


473. Abbaye Des Rocs Grand Cru

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs s.a.
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy, light brown with a beige head. The nose is peppery with light fruity notes, maltiness and subtle hops. The flavors are sweet and fruity with evident honey, and a peppery finish. Light-bodied with low carbonation.


474. Matilda

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Goose Island
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy golden with a fluffy, off-white head that leaves thick lace. The nose is fruity and citrusy with the charcteristic Brettanomyces aroma. Lightly fruity with a nice Brett finish. Light to medium-bodied, low carbonation. This was one of my favorites from the fest.


475. Demolition 1800 Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Goose Island
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a lightly hazy golden with a foamy head. The aroma is fruity with a honey-like character. The flavors are fruity and malty with light pepper and bitterness. Medium-bodied, low carbonation.


476. La Gnomette Part II

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie d'Achouffe
Serving: Tap
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

This is the Brooklyn Blast recipe brewed at Brasserie d' Achouffe with Belgian yeast. Pours a very cloudy straw color, leaving massive lace. The nose is dominated by characteristic Belgian yeast fruitiness, with underlying citric hops. Flavors of banana and tart fruit that fade into a muted hop bitterness. Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.


477. Drie Fonteinen Schaerbeekse Kriek

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Fonteinen
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Fruit Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy red with a thin wispy head. The aroma is sour cherries with a light funkiness. Sour cherries are evident upfront, but fade into a sour funky finish. Light-bodied with low carbonation.


478. Calabaza Blanca

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Alcohol: 4.80%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Witbier, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a lightly hazy pale golden. The aroma is fruity and peppery. Sour and tart fruitiness is evident upfront, this fades into a peppery spice wiyh a light bitterness in the finish. Light-bodied with moderate carbonation.


479. La Seigneuriale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Unibroue
Alcohol:7.50 %
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy light-brown/amber. The aroma is light and fruity with peppery alcohol. The flavor is light fruit, a sour tartness, graininess, peppery spice and a light lingering bitterness. Medium-bodied with moderate to high carbonation.


480. Luciérnaga

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Alcohol: 6.50%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy amber/golden. The aroma is tart and fruity with a hint of funky Brettanomyces. The flavors are tart and fruity with a finish that is lightly bitter hops and Brett funkiness. Light to medium-bodied with tingly carbonation.


481. Slaapmutske Triple Nightcap

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Slaapmutske
Alcohol: 8.10%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

How can you not try a beer with "Nightcap" in the name? Pours a cloudy pale straw color. The aroma is fruity. The flavor is fruity and tart with pepper and alcoholic spice in the finish. Medium-bodied, low carbonation. David says "Pleasant, I'd like to be in a room with it."


482. Sixpoint Grand Crüe

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Sixpoint Craft Ales
Alcohol: 12.40%
Serving: ?
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy, light brown. The nose is dominated by caramel and dark fruit with light hops evident. The flavors are much the same, caramel and dark fruit with a light hop bitterness in the finish. Medium to full-bodied, low carbonation


483. Kastaar

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij De Block bvba
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy, pale straw. The aroma is predominantly sour apple, as is the flavor with a nice crisp finish. Light-bodied with high carbonation.


484. Ned Flanders

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Milly's Tavern
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Flanders Red Ale, BJCP Style Guide

David was skeptical based on the name, but this turned out to be a good choice. Pours a hazy-brown. The aroma is sweet with a light tartness. The flavors are predominantly sour cherries with a little bit of funkiness. Light bodied with moderate carbonation.


485. Merry Monks' Ale

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 9.30%
Serving: ?
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a lightly hazy golden. The aroma is very strong bananas. Bananas dominate the flavors as well, however there is peppery and alcoholic spice in the finish. Medium-bodied with low to moderate carbonation.


486. Lindemans Gueuze Cuvée René

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij Lindemans
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Gueuze, BJCP Style Guide

Pours a hazy straw color. The aroma is light, but there is the sour lambic aroma with a bit of Brett. Sour and tart in the palate, definites notes of sour apples and possibly a bit of citrus. Light bodied, low carbonation with a dry finish.


487. Napoleon's Waterloo

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Milly's Tavern
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: American Wild Ale

Pours a light amber/golden. The aroma is tart with a bit of Brett funkiness and hoppiness. The flavors are the same, tart and fruity with characteristic Brett flavors. Light-bodied with moderate carbonation.

488. De Dolle Stille Nacht Reserva 2000

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers
Year: 2000
Alcohol: 12.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Thanks to a fellow fest attendee for the great tip on this one. Pours a clear, light amber. The aromas are very vinuous, with strong caramel and alcoholic spice. Very port-like in the nose, very nice. Upfront the flavors are a blend of caramel, sweet fruitiness which are eclipsed by the alcoholic spiciness in the finish. Low carbonation, medium to full-bodied. Very very good stuff.

Other Beers:
I also had samples of Ommegeddon, Chimay Red, Harpoon 100 Barrel Saison and Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel. I'm sure I had some others that I'd had before, but my memory is failing me.

Top Five:
Of the new beers that I tried the top five in the order I tried them are: Girardin Gueuze 1882 Black Label, Matilda, Luciérnaga, Napoleon's Waterloo and De Dolle Stille Nacht Reserva 2000.

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Lack of Updates

I probably won't update my blog this week. I drank way too much bad wine at the CCR retreat this weekend. Saturday morning I woke up feeling like I should never drink again. I'll be going to the Beer Advocate Belgian Beer Fest on Saturday so expect an update about that.

466. Chateau Jiahu

466. Chateau Jiahu



I purchased this a month or so ago at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I served it in my Westvleteren Chalice at around 50ºF.

This is another "molecular archaeology" beer like Midas Touch. The bottle says:
9000 year old Chateau Jiahu stands apart as the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world. Its recreation is based on painstaking excavation by Chinese archaeologists of Jiahuin the Yellow River basin, state-of-the-art microanalysis of pottery residues by American laboratories, and the inspired "Neolithic" brewing of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Chateau Jiahu, then as now, opens a window into the world of our ancestors.
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 9.50%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Herbed/Spiced Beer, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a cloudy, pale-straw color. It's topped by a thin, fluffy, white head that thins to a persistent film.

Smell (4.0): Sweet and fruity: honey, grapes and a sharp graininess.

Taste (3.5): Sweet with a tart grape fruitiness that fades into a honey sweetness toward the finish. The finish is peppery and spicy with warming alcohol and almost undetectable bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Smooth, creamy and medium to full-bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): A little too sweet with high, but concealed alcohol.

Overall (3.75): An interesting beer. It's pretty good, and reminds me a little of a dessert wine.

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465. La Chouffe

465. La Chouffe



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits last week along with several other beers. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my Duvel tulip glasses.

According to the bottle:
La Chouffe is brewed by the Artisans of the 21st Century at La Brasserie D'Achouffe deep in the heart of Belgium's Ardennes mountains. The legend of gnomes (chouffes) who once brewed in this mysterious region provides the inspiration for this eccentric bottle conditioned, double fermented ale.

This Belgian micro brewery crafts La Chouffe with local Ardennes' spring water, top fermenting yeast, Pilsner malts and English Golding and Saaz hop and coriander for spice. Double fermentation produces natural carbonation and a small yeast deposit (lees) on the bottom of the bottle.

Enjoy the golden color, dense white head and sweet-spicy flavor of La Chouffe. Serve cool between 50-55ºF and pour carefully into a wide-mouthed La Chouffe glass to enjoy the full flavors and aromas of this ale from Belgium's most eccentric brewery.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brasserie d'Achouffe
Alcohol: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a hazy golden with a dense, fluffy, white head that's fed by vigorous carbonation. The head slowly fades to a thin layer leaving massive lace.

Smell (4.0): The nose is predominantly peppery with some alcoholic spice. There are notes of grain, lemon, banana and yeast.

Taste (4.5): Tingly carbonation domiantes upfront. The center is fruity with notes of banana, apple and citrus. The finish is a blend of peppery and alcoholic spice, powdery yeast, and a light bitterness, all over a lingering fruity sweetness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Highly carbonated, light to medium-bodied with a smooth texture.

Drinkability (4.0): Refreshing, but spicy with high alcohol.

Overall (4.3): A very good Belgian Strong Pale Ale. It has the nice mix of fruitiness and spiciness that I like in the style.

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464. Weihenstephaner Korbinian

464. Weihenstephaner Korbinian



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits last week and had it last night. It was served in my NERAX pint at 50ºF.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Brauerei Weihenstephan
Alcohol: 7.40%
Serving: Bottle, 500 mL.
Style: Doppelbock, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear ruby-brown with a fluffy beige head that thins to a patchy film.

Smell (5.0): Malty with notes of caramel and fruit: dates, raisins and tart cherries. There's lightly smoky and faint chocolate aromas as well. As the beer warms a faint alcoholic spice becomes evident.

Taste (4.5): Malty, but not overly sweet: caramel, toffee, raisins and dates. The finish is lightly smoky and roasted.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Thick and full-bodied, with light carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

Drinkability (4.5): Well hidden alcohol with nice malty sweetness that never becomes cloying.

Overall (4.55): An excellent doppelbock, very flavorful and well crafted.

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463. Salvation

463. Salvation



I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits tonight and served it at around 45ºF in one of my Duvel Tulips.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Avery Breweing Company
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.0): Pours a cloudy, peach-golden color, with a thin white head that fades to a patchy layer before disappearing completely.

Smell (3.5): The aroma is very fruity, with notes of banana and sour apple. There are also hints of yeast, grain and a light alcoholic spice.

Taste (3.5): Peppery upfront with a phenolic clove presence. The center is sweet and malty with banana and sour apple notes. The finish is clean with a light graininess and a light hop bitterness. There are a lot of flavors, but overall they never mesh well.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium-bodied, high carbonation, with a mildly dry finish.

Drinkability (3.5): Easy to drink, but high in alcohol and a little lacking in flavor.

Overall (3.4): I think this is a pretty average Belgian Strong Pale. It did improve as it warmed though.

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462. Freak Out Ale

462. Freak Out Ale



I got this at Downtown Wine & Spirits a week or two ago. I served it in my NERAX pint glass at around 45º F.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Alcohol: 7.30%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz,
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy golden-copper with a one-finger white head that clings to the sides of the glass leaving heavy lace as it thins to a persistent film.

Smell (4.5): Mild toasty malts and peppery spice. There are strong aromas of hops: citrus, resin and grapefruit.

Taste (4.5): Toasty and sweet malts upfront. The malty sweetness carries through to a tart grapefruity hop bitterness in the finish, with a bit of spiciness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied, low to moderate-carbonation, with an oily slickness.

Drinkability (4.5): Very tasty and easy to drink.

Overall (4.35): A very good American IPA, the hop bitterness is strong and isn't overpowered by malty sweetness.

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461. Samuel Adams Scotch Ale

461. Samuel Adams Scotch Ale



This is another beer that I fished out of the cooler at the CCR beer hour, like the Sam Adams Black Lager that I had last week. Lately the beer selection had been more varied, like last week they had purchased a Sam Adams mixed 12-pack or two. This is a huge improvement over the summer selection (Corona, Amstel, Heineken, Bud Light, Sam Summer and/or Sam Adams Boston Lager). I had a Sam Adams Octoberfest and a slice of pizza at beer hour and took a bottle of the Scotch Ale home with me. I served this at around 45º F in one of my Duvel Tulip glasses.

The bottle says:
This is a brew for adventurous ale drinkers: an ale with four special malts, including a rare peat-smoked malt used in scotch whiskies. This unique malt gives Scotch Ale a subtle smoky flavor and deep amber hue. This is a big, malty brew with a long smooth finish. Cheers!
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Boston Beer Company
Alcohol: 5.40%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear reddish-brown with a fluffy, beige head that thins to a persistent film leaving heavy lace on the glass.

Smell (4.0): Caramel malts, dark fruit and a nice smoky aroma.

Taste (4.0): Sweet caramel malts, tart fruitiness and a subdued smokiness, with low hop bitterness. The smoke does a nice job of providing an interesting balance to the malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied with subdued carbonation.

Drinkability (4.5): Tasty and very drinkable. It doesn't hurt that the beer is only 5.4% abv.

Overall (4.05): A very tasty Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. I really liked the smokiness.

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460. Maximus

460. Maximus



I purchased this at Downtown Wine a & Spirits last week. I let this warm to around 50º F and served it in one of my Duvel tulips.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Alcohol: 7.5%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American Double IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a clear, reddish copper with a sudsy, beige head that thins to a persistent film, coating the inside of the glass.

Smell (3.5): A mix of sugary caramel and resiny, floral hops.

Taste (3.5): Toasty and sweet malts are evident upfront, but remain present throughout. There are hints of raw sugar, but little of the caramel that I noticed in the aroma. The finish is significantly bitter with resiny and citrusy hop flavors. There's also a peppery and alcoholic spiciness in the finish.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium-bodied, tingly carbonation, with a slick oiliness.

Drinkability (3.5): Very hoppy with evident alcohol.

Overall (3.7): A decent Double IPA. It's definitely very hoppy, which I sometimes find to be overpowered by malts in DIPAs. Not the best, but good nonetheless.

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459. Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze

459. Drie Fonteinen Oude Gueuze



This was purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits last week. I chilled it and served it in my New Belgium glass. I apologize for the crappy camera phone picture. The bottle said it was bottled on 28 February 2004.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Drie Fonteinen
Year: 2004
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Gueuze, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours a lightly hazy, deep golden-orange. It's topped by a thick, fluffy, effervescent, beige head that thins to a persistent quarter-inch layer that's lent an orange tint from the beer below. This beer coats the glass in patchy lace.

Smell (4.5): There are fruity notes of sour apples; a dry, acidic tartness; and funky undertones that become stronger upon swirling.

Taste (4.5): Tart and acidic upfront, withe definite flavors of sour apples. The acidic tartness is maintained through to the finish, which is dryly acidic with funky and woody flavors. There's a subtle underlying sweetness throughout.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Light-bodied, with fizzy carbonation and a very nice dry finish.

Drinkability (4.5): The sourness is present, but is never overpowering. The dry finish is quite refreshing.

Overall (4.65): An excellent Gueuze. It's sour and funky but has a nice underlying sweetness.

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