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!