Saturday, August 20, 2011

Unibroue - Terrible

I was perusing the beer aisle of my local Whole Foods a couple days ago and I stumbled upon two new beers that I had never seen before. Here is the first one that I saw... Terrible is a dark ale by a brewing house up in Canada. Unibroue has been around since 1990 and was founded by André Dion and Serge Racine. The website is very cool, so if you are interested, check it out at: I couldn't help but purchase this beer, it comes in a black bottle with a silver negative space logo and silver text on the bottle. This is a cork bottle and includes 750ml of darker than dark ale. I can't remember the exact price, but I bet it was right around $10-$12 for this bottle. The ABV on this is rather high as well, coming in at 10.5%. This beer is a nice dark black with a sliver of red on the sides and bottom of the glass. The head wasn't anything spectacular, but it lingered for a few minutes before dissipating. This beer smells like a Belgian Triple, with hints of citrus and a strong smell of alcohol. The first sip had flavors of sour and earthy tones that I couldn't place my hand on. This beer is anything but terrible! I am going to give this a 4/5 stars on the non-Belgian ale scale. This beer has a dark color and a very deep bodied flavor. I would recommend this for a day just like today, where it is a bit over cast and cold and you would like something flavorful and dark.

See you at the bar!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Speakeasy - Betrayal

Hey Everyone,

This evening I decided to go with a nice local brew, for my brew of choice. I was in my local Whole Foods, looking for an American brewed beer and came across this. I have had many different beers from Speakeasy in the past, so I thought that I might try this one and see what an Imperial Red made by a local brewery would taste like. This beer cost about $6 and came in a 22oz bottle. The picture on this bottle is very nice as well, with favorite 2 color, color schemes.

This beer has a nice red color and a high ABV (8.5%). This beer poured very smoothly and produced a very small head light head. This beer smells like a highly alcoholic red and tastes quite amazing for a locally brewed beer. I am going to give this 3.5/5 stars on the American Locally Brewed scale, as it is very flavorful, with a high ABV, and a rather low cost. I hope to find this on tap so I can taste the difference between bottle carbonated and force carbonated.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mikkeller - Monk's Brew

Happy Sunday Everyone! Today I was at my local Whole Foods and I was trying to find something that I haven't tried before, would probably taste pretty good, and was under $20 (as all the really expensive stuff on the top shelf is still left for me to try out). Well, this fellow was on the top shelf, but he came out at $13.99 which I guess is acceptable for a Quad. I have never tried a beer from this brewing house, but looking over their website and the 76 beers that they have launched since their founding, I am quite surprised I haven't. Mikkeller was founded in by two homebrewers and has been run exclusively by Mikkel Borg Bjergsø since 2007. Mikkeller's Bar has 20 beers on tap, mostly Mikkeller brews and some of the best brews from around the world.

This beer is very dark for a Quadruple, as you can tell from the image above, but a hint of red can be seen at the edge and bottom of the glass. This brew seems like it is lacking the carbonation of a normal Belgian beer though, as I poured it quite aggressively but it only produced a slight amount of head. The head lingered and was still very prominent when I took my first sip. This brew smells very dark as well, with subtle hints of citrus and an overwhelming smell of alcohol (like a Quad should). This brew is lighter than most Quads and Triples I have tasted, but unfortunately doesn't have a very good flavor. I am going to give this beer 2.5/5 stars, as it was more expensive than most other beers like it and and it doesn't have a very good flavor. The flavor is not sweet, but it is a tad bit sour, nothing like a lambic or a sour brew, but a hint of sour at the end of every sip.

Unfortunately this brew comes out like most of the expensive brews that I find at my local Whole Foods or Bev Mo... they have a nice label, they say all the right things on that nice label, but they just don't have the flavor or characteristics of some of the cheaper and better brews. I would recommend that you give this guy a try if you have tried everything else below $12 or you are looking for something like with a high ABV that has subtle hints of sour.

See you at the bar!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Coney Island - Human Blockhead - Imperial American Bock

Hey Everyone,

As you all know, life happens. It has been such a long time since I have tried a beer that would be worthy of a review, but the time has finally come. I couple days ago I was wasting some time before my volunteer shift at the Crucible for the Fire Circus (If you didn't see it, you really missed out) and I was trying various beers at Beer Revolution. Beer Revolution was hosting a release party for Coney Island's "Human Blockhead" an Imperial American Bock. There was this silly guy with a box on his head handing out flyers for this beer and other beers that they were releasing that day. I decided that since I was there, I might as well have a look at the beer and see if there was anything to it. I looked at the bottle in the cooler and noticed that the beer came in a 22oz bottle and was 10% ABV. I think this is the first American bock I have seen with such a high ABV. This beer was also aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels (not sure what if that is a nice brand of Bourbon Barrel or not, but its a whiskey barrel none-the-less). It contains 7 types of Malts and 5 types of Hops, which are listed on the neck of the bottle... which I think is very cool and somewhat risky, as you can purchase these malts and hops at you local brew store and try to reproduce this beer. But enough of the story and introduction, on to the review.

This beer is a lovely dark opaque amber and when pour had a slightly off-white head. The beer poured like a Belgian, so make sure that if you don't want a large head, that you pour this guy very slowly. The head stuck around for the whole first paragraph above and is still holding strong. The aroma was very alcoholic and smelled of Bourbon, with hints of the hearty malts that were used to make this brew. The flavor has a VERY strong alcoholic beginning, that is quickly chased by flavors of woods and nuts. Wow, I am used to tasting beers of higher ABV than this guy, but was not ready for the hard hits that he hands out. After a few sips, I got used to the high alcohol content and was sadly disappointed that there really isn't much to this beer. As I am used to drinking Belgian beers of high caliber, I usually expect fruity flavors to precede the alcoholic flavors, but unfortunately this beer doesn't have any extra flavors to mention. I am going to give this beer 3.5/5 stars on the American-style microbrew scale, as it is VERY high in alcohol content and the color and head are AMAZING. I am somewhat disappointed that there isn't much to this guy, but some people like simple beers. So, to wrap things up... if you are looking for something that will remind you of bourbon and is very high in ABV and not very flavorful, give Coney Island's Human Blockhead a try, this beer was made by beer drinkers for beer drinkers.

See you at the bar!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Belgian Beer Battle Royale Results

Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since my last posting, but I haven't stopped drinking beer and the results are in for the Belgian Beer Battle Royale. For those of you that didn't read my last two postings, I decided to put my three most favorite Belgian beers to the test and find out which one was my favorite Belgian beer of all time. The three Belgian beers in question are La Trappe Quadruple, Tripel Karmeliet, and Affligem Triple. As these beers are all VERY good, it was difficult to decide which one would take the prize of being my most favorite Belgian beer, but I have finally decided... my most favorite Belgian beer of all time is Affligem Triple. Affligem's Triple is a tad heavier than Tripel Karmeliet, but much more flavorful. The second place beer is La Trappe Quadruple, which is darker than both the Triple K and the Affligem, but is still very light for it's color.

So in closing, the list is as follows:
  1. Affligem's Triple
  2. La Trappe Quadruple
  3. Tripel Karmeliet
Now that I have this decided, maybe I should try and find these guys on tap somewhere and see if a re-evaluation is needed. :D

See you at the bar!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What is the Best Belgian Beer?

Hello Everyone,

As I am running out of good Belgian and Belgian-style beer, I have decided to do a championship match-up to decide which of my previously reviewed Belgian Beers will win the title of being my favorite Belgian beer of all time. The three contenders will be Affligem Triple, La Trappe Quad, and Tripel Karmeliet. As I will be drinking at least three beers next Sunday, I have decided to give my liver a little break and not do a beer review this weekend. Stay tuned though, as I will compare these three beers and choose which one of them will be my favorite Belgian beer of all time.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

La Rulles - Triple

Hello Everyone, happy Belgian Beer Sunday's. I am starting to get down to the bottom of the barrel at my local Whole Foods. Today I have a Belgian Beer by the name of La Rulles. This beer is a Belgian Triple... I haven't been excited about this beer since I purchased it, two nights ago. It was in the Belgian beer aisle, but I have gone through all the high ranking Belgian's, so I was pretty sure this brew was going to be mediocre at best. This beer poured lighter than I am used to, I had to agitate the brew to get a decent head. The color of the head was a nice white, but dissipated rather quickly. The sent of this beer is nothing special either, I could smell hints of alcohol, but that is about it. The taste of this beer is as well, nothing special, tasting like any Belgian style brew, maybe a bit lighter in flavor. I am going to give this beer 2.5/5 stars, as it is mediocre in every regard. I would not recommend purchasing this brew, unless you like the label, or you are looking for something new and you have had everything else.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Val-Dieu - Grand Cru

Happy Mother's Day everyone, the beer for today is Val-Dieu Grand Cru. This is a Belgian Abbey Ale that I picked up at my local Whole Foods, for just about $10. This has to be the darkest Belgian beer I have ever seen, a dark dark red, that I can't see through. This beer comes in at 10.5% ABV. I popped the cork on this beer and was amazed at how easily the cork was expelled from the bottle... this normally means that the beer is highly carbonated. This beer poured rather well and produced a nice white head. This beer smells of subtle hints of citrus and something sour I can't place my hand on. The first sip of this beer was very dark and alcoholic. I looked over another review of this particular brew, it states that this is a Quadrupel. They also stated that there was hints of currants in the brew, that explains the fruity sour taste.I am going to give this beer 3.75/5 stars, it is very flavorful and dark and each sip tastes better than the last. I would recommend this beer for a nice cool dry night -- like tonight. I would recommend it after dinner beer as it is very sweet and flavorful, probably a little much to have more than two pints.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Allagash - Four

Today I am going to try a dark beer from a brewing company located in here in the US, in Portland Maine. As I am partial to Belgian beers and Belgian-style beers, I decided that I would take a chance on this beer. I purchased this bottle at my local Whole Foods, for about $18... which is rather expensive for a non-import bottle of beer. This beer was produced with four different malts, four different hops, and four different types of yeast... hence the name "Four". The color of this brew is a sight to see, it is a nice dark red amber. Unfortunately the head didn't last thirty seconds, but it was a nice light white while it was there. This brew smells like the La Trappe, with small tones of fruit. The taste of this beer is more subtle than the La Trappe Quad. Very high alcohol content on this bottle though, 10% ABV, which is hidden quite well and not overbearing. I am going to give this beer 3.5/5 stars, as I am not entirely impressed and I think that the beer is not worth the steep price tag. The beer doesn't have a strange after taste and is surprisingly light for it's color, which scored it a few points on my scale. If you are curious, try it for yourself, but personally, I am recommending that you try a Belgian beer instead. The Belgian beer would probably be more flavorful and less expensive.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

F*@K You Easter Bunny!

Hello Everyone and happy Easter! I was planning on reviewing multiple beers tonight at one of my favorite Oakland bars, but unfortunately the bar was closed in observance of "Zombie Jesus Day". But fortunately I was able to find a bar that was open and was willing to serve me a nice cold glass of frothy-goodness... so here is my story.

Earlier this week I was asked to go to a bar tonight with a friend, I agreed to this outing and was thinking that I could kill two birds with one stone and review a couple beers for this blog. I told my friend that I would meet them at Cafe Biere at 7:00pm tonight... When I got to Cafe Biere, I saw a hand written sign in the door that said that the bar closed at 3:00pm tonight. Unfortunately I was forced to resign to my "plan B", which was located in Jack London Square. A nice brewery by the name of Linden St. Brewery... after driving all the way down to Jack London Square, we were surprised to find that "plan B" was also closed due to "Zombie Jesus". What the hell, do people not drink beer on Easter Sunday? Well, we had to fall back on "plan C". Plan C -- just so happened to be located in Jack London Square as well, and is a nice quaint little bar, by the name of "Chop Bar", where they have a VERY small selection of beer, but they currently have a very nice keg in that selection, a Linden St. Triple. Earlier today I was eating brunch at the Chop Bar and decided to flavor this Linden St. Triple, which weighs in at over 9% ABV. The Linden St Triple is not a traditional Belgian Triple, it is much darker and doesn't have the same stereotypical citrus flavors that are normally associated with a Belgian Triple. The Linden St Triple was smooth and didn't have an over-bearing alcoholic flavor to it, even though it touts 9.5% ABV. The Linden St. Triple is deceptive, but a good deal, you can get yourself a pint for $5 at Chop Bar in Jack London Square Oakland California. Who knows how long this keg will last. I am going to give the Linden St. Triple a 3.5/5 star rating, it's not my type of Triple (one that has nice notes of citrus and a flavorful after taste), but it is VERY nice for a "non-Belgian" Triple, give it a try and see what you think.

So the night ended with me and my friend going to the Chop Bar and kicking back a few cold ones... so even though it was "Zombie Jesus Day", we were still able to find an establishment that was willing to serve us. Thank you Chop Bar for being open and having wonderful beer on tap, even though your beer selection is comprised of four beers.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Brasserie Dupont - Moinette Brune

Hello Everyone and Happy Sunday! Today I am going to review another Belgian beer, this one is from a brewery in Belgium called "Brasserie Dupont", and I am reviewing their Brune (Brown). This beer has a nice look to it, the label is a nice blood red and the bottle that the beer comes in, is heavy and nicely shaped. The first thing that I noticed about this beer was how much it looks like a Trappist beer, but unfortunately it is not a Trappist. This beer set me back about $9 at my local Whole Foods. I am not sure if this is the norm, but this bottle was VERY carbonated. I barley had to pull on the cork and it popped off like I was pull the cork on a champagne bottle. When I poured this beer it produced so much head that I had to take a picture with the beer in that condition... the picture to the left was generated with me pouring a very modest pour. The head on this beer sticks around as well, I had to wait about 5 minutes for the head to go down enough for me to fill up my glass. The head on this beer is not quite a brilliant white, it has a small hint of yellow to it. The first whiff reminded me of Affligem's Triple, nice hints of citrus and other various spices I can't pin. The color of the beer is amazing, a nice dark amber at the top of the glass, that fades to almost a yellow at the bottom of the glass. The taste of this beer is a delight as well, the first sip was darker than I am normal for a beer this light, and included aspects of the spices that I smelt. The carbonation is not overbearing either and helps to lighten this dark beer. The ABV of this brew is 8.5% and you really can't tell by the flavor that it is that strong. I am going to give this beer a 3.5/5 stars on the Belgian Beer Scale... remember that I am biased on this scale against darker beers -- as my favorite type of Belgian beer is a "Triple" the lighter more alcoholic beers usually get higher ratings. Well, I would recommend this beer if you are new to darker Belgian beers and you would like to have something that is dark, but has a very light flavor.

See you at the bar!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale

Hello Everyone, Tonight I have a light summer Belgian beer, from "Saison Imperiale". This beer is not a trappist beer, but it is a Belgian Ale. I couldn't find a home page for the brew house, but I found many reviews regarding this light summer ale. This beer was about $9 at my local Whole Foods and was purchased on a whim when I was there to buy groceries yesterday. This summer ale has a very nice dark amber color to it and was poured with a nice frothy white head... that lasted about 5 minutes after the pour. This beer is higher on the alcohol scale than most summer ales, coming in at 8.5% ABV. There are very subtle hints of citrus in the smell, with a slight hint of the standard Belgian alcohol smell. The first sip was light, but not very flavorful, I sensed a slight after taste of spice in this beer. I am giving it 3/5 stars on the Belgian Beer scale, it is light enough for summer, but not flavorful enough to start the day off for my tastes. I would definitely crack this guy open as a second Belgian beer on a nice summer day on the patio.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Telegraph - Stock Porter

Hello Everyone and happy Sunday! As I still haven't decided which type of beer I will be focusing on for my Sunday afternoons, I will be posting which ever beer I decide to purchase and review. This week I will be reviewing a beer from a Santa Barbara brewing house called "Telegraph". I have seen this beer in my local Whole Foods and have wanted to pick it up, but have been busy sampling other beers. I thought this particular flavor would be a good juxtaposition to the Lambic that I reviewed last night. This beer has a nice dark amber color, but poured just like many other American beers pour... very lightly. As I have been drinking mostly Belgian beers over the last couple months, I forgot that I would need to pour a beer of this type vigorously to produce the desired head, so if you are sampling this beer, remember to pour away from the glass. At first sip, I tasted a small amount of what a standard porter tastes like, but was bombarded by a sour after taste. The second sip, the sour after taste was not as prominent, but still much more prominent than I would prefer. I am giving this beer 1.5/5 stars on the porter scale, but I will have to revisit this to see if the sour taste is the norm, or if I purchased a bad bottle. I honestly thought about pouring this beer out, it's that bad. This beer is somewhat pricey for a local beer as well, I purchased this for just under $9 at my local Whole Foods. So stay tuned for my next review to see if I would recommend giving this beer a sample or if I would stay clear.

See you at the bar!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Timmerman's - Strawberry Lambic

Hello everyone, hopefully everyone had a nice day out in the sun today (most of the readers I know about are in California and the weather was BEAUTIFUL today). Tonight I decided that I would get two beers, one for tonight and one for tomorrow. The beer that I decided on for tonight is a Lambic, which is a Belgian table beer infused with fruit. One of the most popular Lambic's is Timmerman's, the beers that I could find that they produce are a cherry, strawberry, and raspberry (framboise). This beer is a nice amber color, and usually comes with a white to medium yellow head. This beer is 4% ABV, which is much lower than I normally drink, but that just means that I can drink TWICE as much. Immediately after opening this beer I could smell strawberries and was bombarded by the smell when I started the pour. This jem ran me $5.99 at my local whole foods, for an 11.2 ounce bottle, so it is not the cheapest flavored beer you buy... but after you have tried one, you will never be able to go back to a wine cooler or an American fruit flavored beer again. After my first sip of a Lambic, I knew that I was spoiled beyond belief. I took my first sip of this beer and was pleasantly surprised at the light strawberry flavor. I am giving this 3.5/5 stars on my Lambic beer scale, I do prefer the Framboise, but the strawberry is better than the cherry. If you are looking for a light flavorful fruity beer, then pick up one of these at your local bottle shop or specialty grocery store, it is well worth the $6-8 you will pay for it. I personally would recommend starting the night of with one of these and then moving into a Triple, as this will get you loosened up and ready for the %10-12 ABV most Belgian Triple's have to offer.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The LAST Belgian Beer Sunday's - Westvleteren - 12

Hello Everyone and welcome to the last Trappist Belgian Beer Sunday! Today I had the pleasure of tasting one of the rarest Belgian beers in the United States, Westvleteren 12. Westvleteren is the only Belgian Trappist beer that is not available commercially, so to get your hands on this beer, you either have to go to the Abbey, or purchase a bottle off Ebay. Last time I wrote that I was going to go to Beer Revolution (a VERY nice bar in Jack London Square [Oakland]) and share a bottle of this brew with a nice female bartender... well due to complications, we were unable to meet on Wednesday. However, we were able to meet today and crack open a bottle of this brew. The younger bartender's name is Rebecca, and she is the owner of Beer Revolution. She was kind enough to call her husband and have him bring us this bottle from their house. Unfortunately I tried this beer after I had the other beer I am reviewing today, so I didn't remember to take a picture of this beer, but I will post one later, when I review this beer for the second time. Well here it is, the review of the last Trappist Belgian beer and by-far the most difficult to get.

This beer comes from the Abbey in un-labeled bottles, so this was no exception. The way you can tell which version you are getting is by the bottle cap. The bottle cap on this one was a nice gold with a black circle around the edge (which tells us that it is the 12 and has a ABV of about 10%). This beer had a gorgeous thick white head, that lingered for about two to three minutes after the pour. Most people that purchase this beer and bring it back from Belgium let it sit around for a while, they think that this beer grows better tasting with age. The first smell I took of this beer, I could smell carmel, and what I would think a nice aged beer would smell like... I had a friend taste-testing with me today (Mark), and he said that it smelled like a nice aged cheese (or an attic :p). After seeing the dark color of this beer and taking a nice whiff of the aroma, I was ready for something that was going to be heavy... but this beer is actually a lot lighter than it would seem. The first sip tasted of hints of caramel and did not have the alcoholic Belgian beer aftertaste. After smelling this beer many times and taking many sips, I was amazed at how light it tasted and how light it was on my lips and my tongue, there was no lingering after taste. After about five or six sips, I started to taste more caramel and citrus, but the flavors are very difficult to detect and taste. I am going to give this beer 4/5 stars, It is unfortunately less flavorful than I would have thought it would be and it is VERY difficult to acquire. However, I would definitely recommend picking one up if you are in Belgium, or you would like to spend $40+ on Ebay, this is one of the lightest tasting and darkest Belgian beers I have ever had. I prefer a flavorful citrus Belgian beer, but I could see people enjoying this beer for it's color and it's light flavor.

If you are looking for a nice selection of beers and good food, check out Beer Revolution in Jack London Square, very nice selection and tending staff. Thank you again Rebecca for the beer, it was very nice of you to help me out in acquiring this beer. :D

See you at the bar!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Duvel - Belgian Golden Ale

I think after I complete my Belgian Trappist beer review series, I will start a new series called "Stout Sundays". But today I have another Belgian beer, this is a rather popular one called "Duvel". The first time I tried this beer was at a Belgian Beer House in Melbourne Australia. Duvel by itself is not a Belgian Trappist beer, but in 1963 Duvel Moortgat started to produce Maredsous.

This beer is a very light yellow, and poured exactly like you would expect a quality Belgian beer to pour. The head lasted about two minutes and was a very pale white. Duvel smells of citrus and it is actually very nice to watch the bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass to the top, in a nice steady stream. My first sip of this beer was bitter and had no lingering flavor. My second sip reminded me that I enjoy deep dark and flavorful beers because each sip is a delight... however I like a nice light beer for my third or fourth or fifth beer. There is a time and a place for every type of beer, I think the best time and place for Duvel would be a nice hot summer day, one where you can't handle something heavy, but you still would like to sit on the patio and have a beer with your pipe or cigarette.

I purchased this bottle of Duvel at my local Whole Foods for $8.49 on sale this afternoon. I personally would purchase a nice Hefeweizen instead of this beer on a nice hot summer day, but if I was in the mood for something different and still VERY light, I might consider a Duvel. This beer has a surprisingly high alcohol content for its color and body, 8.5% ABV. The Duvel website is also a surprise, its contemporary design and flash intro would normally be seen on a clothing website or a band website... check it out if you are interested:

I forgot to give a star rating for this beer... I give this beer 3/5 stars, as it is light, but has a very high alcohol content -- so it packs a punch.

See you at the bar!

Possible Westvleteren - 12

Today I went for an adventure, to try and find the last Belgian Trappist beer I am missing to complete my Belgian Trappist beer reviews "Westvleteren". I have searched for this beer online and in the Whole Foods near my home, to no avail. I have also tried the local Bevmo and I tried the Trappist Bar in Oakland, again no success. The last place I could think of to try was "Beer Revolution" (also located in Oakland).

After looking through the cooler for a good fifteen minutes, I decided that I would ask the bar tending staff to see if they had any ideas of where I might find this beer. I spoke with a nice woman bar tender that I have seen there many times before, she told me that I would be unable to find "Westvleteren" at her bar or any other bar that she could think of in the area. She also told me that the only way that she knows that people get this beer is to go to the Trappist and purchase a case of it. After speaking with her for a while and telling her how much this beer meant to me, she said that she has a Westvleteren 12 in her fridge at home and that she will share it with me on Wednesday night. So on Wednesday night I will go to Beer Revolution and share one of the rarest Belgian beers. I will write a nice review Wednesday or Thursday.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chimay - Grand Reserve

I am getting closer and closer to completing my Belgian Trappist Beer review run, at the moment I have two beers left to review. Today's beer of choice was going to be my last review, but unfortunately I was unable to find the other Trappist beer, so I settled for this. One of the most popular Trappist beers in my part of the country, Chimay -- it can be found at most nice bars in my area in the bottle or on tap and it can also be found in most grocery stores. I purchased this bottle for $9.45 at my local Whole Foods, you can find it at most grocery stores for right around $10 for a bottle. I decided to go with the Grand Reserve, as it is the darkest and I have been in a dark beer mood over the last few weeks... I think it might have to do with the fact that spring is almost over and summer is right around the corner, and it is much more pleasurable to drink darker beers when it is cooler outside. This beer had a nice printed cork and poured very smoothly from the bottle. After pouring this beer somewhat aggressively (to produce a nice large head), I was greeted with a nice white thick head, that lasted for about five minutes. The color was a nice dark cloudy reddish brown, and surprisingly the head was still not fully dissipated even after letting the beer sit for a good ten minutes to settle. The smell at first whiff was the standard alcoholic Belgian beer smell that I have come to enjoy and expect, I couldn't detect any scents of citrus or nuts during my second and third smells. The first sip was thicker than I expected and unfortunately didn't produce any taste of citrus, just a mild and lingering flavor. I am going to give this beer 2.5/5 stars, the presentation factors are raising this beer grade by at least one star, as the color is amazing and the head lingers for a very long time. But unfortunately I drink beer for the taste and this beer is very mild in flavor. If you are new to Belgian beers or are trying to convince a friend to try one, this might be a good starter, it doesn't have the strong alcoholic flavor that most Belgian beers have, and the flavor is very mild. I will have to review the other types of Chimay to see if they offer a better tasting brew.

See you at the bar! :D

Brewery Adventures - Saint Patricks Day - Beer Bus Tour

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining about eight others on a bus tour through Marin county. The tour cost just about $100 and was worth every cent. We started the tour at 9:30am when the bus picked us up from Fort Mason. The tour guides (Amy and Colleen) brought beer to enjoy on the way to the Breweries, they provided one free beer for everyone on the bus -- but we played a game of beer trivia which allowed participants to win extra beers.

The first brewery that we visited was Bear Republic in Healdsburg. At Bear Republic we tried many different types of beers, from the creators of Racer 5, which is a rather popular in Northern California. As Racer 5 is a very popular beer up here where I live, I neglected to not try it and just partake of the new beers that Bear Republic had to offer. We tried many different beers, but two were better than the rest... The "Carburetor", which is one of their seasonal and experimental beers, so I couldn't find any statistics on their website. If you make it out to the brewery try the "Carburetor", it was dark and flavorful. We also tried "Red Rocket" which is a Deep Copper Red Ale with an ABV of 6.8%. The Red Rocket was my second favorite, and was also dark and flavorful.

The second stop on the tour was "Dean Biersch's HopMonk Tavern in Sebastopol". Where we tried a few different beers and eat lunch. Earlier on the bus we had to choose our lunch, off a menu that included many different options -- one of which was a vegetarian option. I noticed that there was a burger and a Portabello Mushroom burger, unfortunately the mushroom burger is the vegetarian option, but it was very good none-the-less.

The third stop was the Lagunitas brewery, the best stop on the tour. We tried about 5 different types of beers, my favorite was one called "Eyeball". Eyeball was dark and flavorful, which appears to be the choice of the day. After the tasting we took a tour of the brewery, which was cool and informative. Then we were driven back to Fort Mason and arrived at about 4:30pm.

Well Long story short, the tour was AWESOME! Anyone that would like to spend the day drinking beer and not have to worry about driving, then this bus tour is for you. You can check out available bus tours at

See you at the bar!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

St Bernardus ABT 12

Unfortunately I have been ill for the last few days and I am completely clogged up with mucus. I am still doing a review, despite the fact the death is knocking on my door. However, I don't believe it is fair to the beer that I would rate while in this condition -- so I am doing a mock review today. I unfortunately will have to try the same beer again at a later date to see if today's results are accurate or were affected by my condition.

For today's beer I have a NON Trappist Abbey Belgian beer called St Bernardus ABT 12. I paid just under $9 at my local Whole Foods for this beer in a 750ml bottle. This bottle poured very smoothly and produced a nice white head, that lasted about 2 minutes. This beer is dark in color and has a very distinctly fruity smell (with subtle hints of caramel). The first sip of this beer had accents of citrus, caramel, and the normal Alcoholic Belgian Beer taste I LOVE. This beer doesn't disappoint, it is one of my favorite abbey ales to-date, and I am awarding it 4/5 stars on the Belgian Beer scale. For those of you out there, that are not familiar with my beer rating scale, a VERY small amount of beers (Usually only one or two) can take the 5/5 stars, then usually a large portion will warrant 2 to 4 stars, based upon my opinion... and finally one or two beers (THAT I HATE) will warrant the 1/5 star rating.

So lets sum up, this is a dark Belgian Beer. Its light it has a wonderful flavor, with hints of citrus and caramel. The bottle is very affordable for its quality and quantity. If you like, try this beer with some chocolate, this will reset your palette and allow you to enjoy more of the flavor.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Achel - Extra

Hello Everyone,

Again its Belgian Beer Sunday, today I have another trappist beer "Achel". The Whole Foods only had the "Extra" and the "Blonde". so I went with the extra (as I usually need more flavor than a blonde). I purchased this 750ml bottle of beer for $15.49 (which I think is much more expensive than you should have to pay for one beer).

This beer is very dark, the darkest trappist beer I have seen by far. It poured very heavily and unfortunately the head didn't last one minute. This beer has a hint of cinnamon in the smell of it, but its flavor is dark and very alcoholic. I am giving this beer 2/5 stars, it's flavor is not very appealing. Many different types of flavor hit you all at once, right after you take your first sip. Then you are bombarded by a very alcoholic flavor that lingers until your next sip. As this beer is the most expensive beer I have ever purchased and I actually dry heaved a little after my first sip, I would not recommend purchasing this beer, unless you have tried everything else and this guy is on sale. One more trappist beer to go, I bet it will be much better than this guy.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Affligem Tripel

This week I have yet another Trappist Beer from Belgium, called Affligem. I am getting closer and closer to finishing off the list of Trappist Beers, I only have a couple left and then I will have to resort to drinking Belgian-Style ales or other types of beer... I think that if I get to the point where I am only left with cheap American Beers and Mexican Beers, I will just start over! This Trappist has a very nice (Flash driven) website, check it out at:
I decided to go with their Tripel, I prefer most Tripels to most Dubbel. The dubbels are usually darker (which I do like), but also usually less flavorful (which I definitely do not like). Unfortunately at the moment the "Jobs" section of the abbey's website is empty, but I will be checking periodically to see if they have a Q&A opening. :D

Now for the review... This beer is a little darker then most Belgian Tripels, and poured very nicely. The head of the beer unfortunately didn't last very long (about 3 minutes), but the color was a nice beautiful white. This beer has a wonderful citrus smell and the first sip threw me off guard, the combination of citrus and the normal Belgian alcoholic flavor, makes this a wonderful sweet beer. I am giving this 4/5 stars, I will have to try this side by side with Tripel Karmeliet, this is definitely a contender for the best tasting tripel of all time. Unfortunately the last time I had the Tripel Karmeliet from the Trappist down the street, I was not as impressed as I usually am... but to defend the leader, it might have been a bad keg or dirty lines that made the beer taste less flavorful and sweet. I got this guy at a definite bargain, I paid $8.45 at the local Whole Foods (Which makes it the cheapest by volume Trappist Beer I have purchased from them) for a 750ml bottle.

See you at the bar! :D

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Rochefort 10

Well, this week has gone by so quickly that it seems like just yesterday I was writing another Belgian Beer Sundays review. Today's Belgian Beer of choice is another Trappist beer, Rochefort 10, the most alcoholic of the Rochefort beers. They offer a 6,8, and 10, the alcohol by volume measurements are 7.5%, 9.2%, and 11.3%. Each grade is slightly darker than the last, 10 being the darkest of them all. Let me give you guys some details about the Rochefort Brewery:

Founded in 1595 in Rochefort Belgium, produces about 18,000 hl's of beer per year. Here is a link to the official website of the Abbey:

Here is a picture of the official glass of the Abbey.

Now for the review:

This Belgian Beer was picked up at my local Whole Foods, for $5.45 for a 12oz bottle. This beer pours very well, but the head didn't last but one to two minutes. This beer has a very potent smell, with a pronounced alcoholic smell that lingers for quite a while. This beer has a wonderful flavor that starts off with the flavor or nuts and fruit. The reviews I read for this beer said that they tasted figs in this beer, but in my opinion its flavor is much more smokey than fruit. As with most Belgian Beers there is a very distinct alcoholic flavor at the end, that sticks around for quite-a-while. I will give this 4/5 stars, this is by far the best Trappist Belgian Beer I have had, but it is not the best Belgian Beer I have had, so it doesn't warrant a whole five stars. I had the Rochefort 8 at the Trappist (A nice Belgian Bar in Oakland CA), it wasn't nearly as good as this one. I wish that they sold this in 750ml, I would purchase this beer more often if it came in a larger bottle.

Well, have a good long weekend as tomorrow is Presidents Day and most of us have the day off. Maybe you can take this chance to get to the bar and have a beer.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

La Trappe - Quadrupel

Hello Everyone, its Belgian Beer Sunday's again and I have a good one today. This weeks choice is "La Trappe", another Belgian Trappist Beer, produced under the supervision of Trappist Monks. This time I decided to go with a Quadrupel, which I didn't even know existed till I saw it on the shelf earlier today. This beer is the strongest beer that La Trappe produces and its aged an extra long time in Oak Barrels.

This beer has a beautiful amber color and a sweet dark aroma. It pours very well and retains a nice white head for a few minutes. The first sip was flavorful with hints of fruit and ended with a nice alcoholic bitter taste at the end. I give this nice lad 4/5 stars when it comes to Belgian Beers. The price was the same as any other Belgian Trappist Beer, weighing in at about $10.50 for the 350ml bottle you see in the picture. Not at all heavy and very easy to drink, you wouldn't need to have this guy with chocolate, but it might help to reset your palette, so you can taste the fruity undertones over and over again. Next week I am going to break away from Belgian Trappist Beers and try something a tad bit more main stream, stay tuned.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

La Chouffe - Mc Chouffe

La Chouffe is a Belgian-style ale brewing company was opened in 1970 by two brother in-laws, on a very small budget (roughly 5,000 Euros). The first batch of commercially available La Chouffe was created in August of 1982 and was about 49 liters in size.

Mc Chouffe is an un-filtered dark ale that is re-fermented in both the bottle and the Keg. This beer is very dark (as you can tell from the image), but has a very subtle flavor. I give this beer 3/5 stars (as I usually prefer lighter belgian beers). This beer has subtle flavors of fruit and a distinct alcohol flavor toward the end. I would think this would be a good after diner beer, as it is sweet and full of fruit flavor.

This beer I received from a friend, whom I helped with her car, but you can find it at Whole Foods for just about $10.

See you at the bar!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Triple Karmeliet

Triple Karmeliet is one of my favorite Belgian Beers I have tried. I purchased a bottle of this beer at Whole Foods for about $12 for a 750ml bottle. The head of this beer poured very smoothly, but didn't last very long at all (about 2 minutes). This beer is 8.4% ABV and has a nice sweet lingering taste. I am giving this beer 4.5/5 stars, as the bottled version is not as good as the draft version.

I was first introduced to this beer last February (2010) at the best Belgian Beer Bar in Oakland, "The Trappist". I was invited to "The Trappist" by a friend of mine, who knew I enjoyed beer. Before that night I hadn't had any Belgian beer, but since then I have loved Belgian beer and have been to "The Trappist" many times. If you enjoy Belgian Beer I would definitely recommend that you try this beer and visit "The Trappist".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Westmalle - Triple

Happy Belgian Beer Sundays!

Today I am trying a real Trappist Belgian Beer, Westmalle's Triple. Westmalle is a Trappist beer that is produced by Belgian monks. This bottle runs about $11.50 at my local Whole Foods, it is 750ml in size and fills just over two pint glasses. This beer poured very well and produced a nice white foamy head, that lasted about five minutes.

Westmalle Triple has a very alcoholic flavor, a first smell you wouldn't assume this much of an alcoholic flavor, but after your first sip, you will notice it. There are subtle hints of citrus and after the third of forth sip you get used to the alcoholic flavor of this beer and it goes down very smoothly. I give this beer 3/5 stars on my current Belgian beer scale. It is entirely possible that the Belgian beers I have tried in the past are all the best ones, but I will see and adjust ratings, when I have sampled more Belgian beers.

See you at the bar!

Friday, January 14, 2011


I will be on vacation this Sunday and will not be around for "Belgian Beer Sunday's". Don't worry, I have something special planned for next Sunday... I purchased a Trappist beer called "Westmalle", the triple version of their beer. If you have been down the Belgian Beer isle at your local grocery store or Bev'mo, you have probably seen that certain breweries advertise "Belgian-style" or "Trappist-style", there are many imitators, but only a few real Trappists.

In the world there are 171 Trappist Monasteries, out of those 171 only 7 produce beer (6 in Belgium and 1 in the Netherlands). Like Irish and Bourbon Whiskey, authentic Trappist beer must be made in the supervision of these monasteries. The 6 Trappist Monasteries that produce beer are: Brouwerij de Koningshoeven; Bières de Chimay; Brouwerij der Trappisten van Westmalle; Brasserie d'Orval; Brasserie de Rochefort; Brouwerij Westvleteren; and Brouwerij der Sint-Benedictusabdij de Achelse Kluis; I have listed the above monasteries in rank of annual production volumes.

These are the following conditions that must be met to list that a beer is an authentic Trappist beer:
  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey, by or under control of Trappist monks.
  • The brewery, the choices of brewing, and the commercial orientations must obviously depend on the monastic community.
  • The economic purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit.

So next Sunday (1/23/11) I will crack open one of the finest Belgian beers in the world, tune in next time to see what I think of this Belgian beer and how it ranks up to the other "Belgian-style" beers I have had.

See you at the bar! :D

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Maredsous - Double 8 and Triple 10

This is my second installment of Belgian Beer Sundays, so I thought I would try something new... I was eating brunch at one of my favorite restaurants (Luka's Taproom) that serves brunch in Downtown Oakland, I noticed that they had a few Belgian Beers on tap. They had Chimay Red (which I have had on many occasions), Maredsous 8 (which I tried for the first time today), St. Bernardus 12 (which I have never tried). I didn't feel like something very alcoholic, so I went with the Maredsous 8, which is a Belgian Dubble. For those interested in pronouncing the belgian beer titles correctly, Maredsous is pronounced "Ma-red-sue".

As I have said before I am not very fond of Belgian Dubbles, but this one was actually very nice. It wasn't very heavy like most dubbles, and it had subtle hints of caramel and chocolate. It was a tad bit more alcoholic than I was expecting (8% ABV) and I could definitely taste the alcohol in every sip. I haven't really had many Belgian Dubbles, but I think this is the best one I have tasted so far. As I didn't write this review while I was drinking this beer, I figured that I would purchase another Maredsous. Here is a nice photo of the special glass that this nice dark Belgian came in and in the background is the Luka's Taproom Bar.

I purchased Maredsous Triple 10 for just about $10 for a bottle at Whole Foods (which is about average for a nice Belgian triple or Double). The cork on this beer had a nice printed picture of ivy and roses (I didn't mention it earlier, but I was disappointed that the Kwak that I tried didn't have anything printed on the cork). This beer pours very nicely and had a nice head of foam without pouring vigorously. The head was a very nice white and lingered for about 5 minutes after the initial pour. This beer is a tad bit darker than most triples I have tried. There are subtle hints of citrus when you take a nice whiff and various spices when you take a swig. I would have to give this beer 3/5 stars when it comes to Belgian Triples. This beer has a good distinct lingering flavor that lasts through the whole bottle. If you are a Belgian Beer fan (I personally prefer Triples), give this beer a try, its not as flavorful as some other Triples, but its nice orange color, citrus smell and body, are worth a taste.

As always, if anyone has any suggestions, post a comment, I would be happy to review your suggestions.

See you at the bar!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stone - Lucky Bastard

From the moment I saw this beer in the store this evening, I knew it was taking me home tonight. One of my favorite beers of all time is brewed by a San Diego brewing company called Stone and found at the following URL. Stone produces a beer called "Arragont Bastard Ale", it is very dark and flavorful and usually doesn't take more than one to get me a nice buzz going (as the beer is in a 22oz bottle and is 7.2% ABV). I can remember more than a few parties taking this guy as my wing man and most of them ended with me having a nice heavy hang over the next day. I prefer this title to the "Arrogant Bastard" title, as I used to always say that someone was a "Lucky Bastard" when he beat me at either cards, dominoes, or video games. :D

I usually put the "Arrogant Bastard" in the freezer to make it extra cold when I open it (the higher alcohol percentage makes it much more resistant to freezing)... so if you like you beer cold, pop this guy in the freezer for about 30 minutes prior to opening. This bad boy is a higher alcohol content than "Arrogant Bastard", weighing in at 8.5% ABV. You can still smell that this beer is aged in oak barrels and the color has a subtle red hint to it. Unfortunately the head didn't last but about 2 minutes, but was a nice color to begin with (as you can see in the photo). This beer is not as heavy or as thick as "Arrogant Bastard" and has a stronger alcohol flavor to it. I give this beer 3.5/5 stars when it comes to dark Stone beers. This is a special edition bastard ale and mind you it is not as good as the original, but it is damn close. If you like Stone beers and would like something different, give this guy a try, he is good and will probably get you more trashed than a standard bastard, but not nearly as quickly as a Double Bastard.

Happy Drinking! :D

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bosteels - Pauvel Kwak

I am somewhat new to drinking Belgian beers, I was introduced to them by a friend in early February of 2010. I have probably tasted about ten different Belgian beers over this year and the flavor of each one differs drastically. As I haven't had much experience with Belgian beers, I am not going to rate this beer on a "star scale"... So here is my review of this beer, it is not one of my favorites, but it is still very good (all-be-it expensive).

This Pauvel Kwak is dark and has flavors of citrus and vanilla. Pauvel Kwak is not listed as a "dubble", but it has all the characteristics of a dubble. The head on this beer doesn't last as long as some of the triple's I have had, but it does last as long as most of the dubbles I have had. Pauvel Kwak has mild flavors of hops, but the taste does not linger. This beer is somewhat sweater than most dubbles I have tried, so if you enjoy a beer after (or during) dessert, than this might be one to try. I purchased a 75 cl. bottle of Pauvel Kwak at the Lake Merritt Whole Foods for just over $10, this bottle comes with a cork, so you can cork the bottle and get multiple glasses out of this bottle, but it doesn't last to long, so keep it corked in the fridge and drink it quickly. As I become more familiar with Belgian beers I will update this posting with a star rating... my estimated rating is 2.5/5 stars, lets see how close I get. :D

I am thinking about making this a weekly update, so stay tuned and I should have another Belgian Beer review for you next Sunday.