Monday, 27 August 2012

Return to Beer, Belgian style!

Last night was a reintroduction to beer, after a few weeks off as explained in a short post yesterday. And also an intense introduction to Belgian beer, in preparation for a visit to Bruges in a few days.

Started the evening off away from Belgium, with a new beer from BrewDog. Thought it would be good to refamiliarise myself with:

145: Dead Pony Club, BrewDog, 3.8%
Strong hoppy, lemony smells. A slightly amber colour. Tastes gorgeous. Been a while since having a beer, but what a cracker to come back on. Full of hoppy flavour. A light bitterness. Not strong. Really nice reintroduction. Tastes hoppy lemon, grassy and with malty flavours coming through too.

Next up, start of the Belgian lesson.

146: Blue (2012), Chimay, 9%
Smells herby and spicy. Dark amber colour.  Apparently you can age this beer. Tastes a bit rum-y, and there is a slightly sweet caramel taste. Not especially bitter nor hoppy. Raisiny boozy. Because we served it chilled from the fridge, Mr Ticker advised me to drink it slow and let it warm up. As it did I felt that the spice mellowed and the raisiny flavours became more prominent. A really nice start, a new sort of beer for me but with lots of familiar overtones. Looking forward to more!

147: Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio (2011), Cantillon, 5%
Clear, flat looking. Smells cider like and slightly vinegary. Not looking forward to this. I had been prewarned that this was a sour beer, and took the first sip with a feeling of uncertain trepidation. Tastes sour. Vile, to be perfectly honest. I'm not a fan of sour anyway. Grapefruits and tangy sweets, well, I can perfectly happily swanny through life avoiding these. With the Gueuze, I just couldn't get past the sour to begin thinking about flavours. Just made my face crinkle into a small puckered wrinklefest.

So, should I try other lambics and not let myself be put off or just accept that it is not a style for me and save my pennies for beers I'm going to enjoy? Simon James @Gueuzel via twitter has given some advice to lambic/gueuze newbies, and I think that I will have to have another go, persist, and maybe, just maybe, I might come around to the idea.

A short beery evening for a change, but an enjoyable one at that. Looking forward to delving deeper into Belgium over the next few weeks.


  1. Well done for starting with an authentic gueuze like Cantillon. Whatever you do, don't be tempted by some of the mass-produced stuff like Belle Vue, which is over-sweet and filtered.

    I admit that if you don't really like sour-tasting things then gueuze will probably always be a challenge. That said Cantillon is probably the sourest of the readily available gueuzes. You could give Boon a try, their Marriage Parfait is extraodrinarily complex.

    Good luck on the journey!

    1. Thank you for your comment. Funnily enough I have the Marriage Parfait in the fridge as well as the Kreik version. How should the beers be served temperature wise?

    2. I try not to be too prescriptive about serving temperature, I would say: whatever you like best... Traditionalists would probably serve it at cellar temperature but I often drink it straight from the fridge.

      One thing you shouldn't compromise on though: it MUST be drunk from a champagne flute!