Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sometimes it's good to have a back-up beer

Last night we sampled three different breweries.

From Belgium:
Biere de Miel (beer with honey) Brewed by Brasserie Dupont. Alcohol : 8% vol. this is a refermentation beer (or for those of you “not-in-the-know” beer that continues to ferment after bottling). This refermentation means that there are live yeast cells in the beer which keeps the beer fresh longer, and a very interesting, yeast-y taste. Most refermentation beers can be stored like wine for several years.
Color: the color of honey, and some great head
Taste: it tasted like honey. It wasn’t as sweet as I expected for a beer with honey added to it, but it was still rather sweet.
Musing: I really liked it. It was simple, one flavor note that was extended by the large amount of carbonation. It was a light crisp beer with no aftertaste. It was perfect for a spring evening, even if the weather was not perfect. Wish I had bought a second bottle. Blake thought it needed more hops or some cinnamon to balance the sweetness.

From Quebec:
We also have two beers from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
Aphrodisiaque (Aphrodisiac)
Cocoa and vanilla stout - 6.5% alc./vol.
oz.) Award-winning black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt.
Color: Black, dark as pitch
Taste: Very strong roasted barley flavor, smelled like a chocolate beer
Musing: I normally love dark beers and chocolate beers. This ale was so strong that I didn’t taste any of the vanilla or chocolate or even bourbon that was promised, all it tasted like to me was burnt barley. It was one beer that I will not be trying again, I actually had about 5 sips and had to dump it because it was so overpowering. Blake wouldn’t even try it.

Solstice d'hiver (Winter solstice)
Barley Wine - 9% alc./vol.
341 ml (11.5 fl.oz.)
Solstice d'hiver is brewed only once a year, at the end of the summer. It is then aged for a few months in order to attain a perfect balance in taste. Then, it is sold starting mid-December of each year, until stocks last.
Color: rich mahogany
Taste: BOOZE
Musing: I picked this one out for Blake because I didn’t think that he would like the Aphrodite. Well after I decided that Aphrodite was not very good, I took a sip of this one (the grossed out look on Blake’s face should have been enough). I couldn’t taste anything but booze. There was no beer flavor, it didn’t even taste like any barley wine we had ever tried, it was just overwhelming booze flavor. This one also went down the sink.
From the US:
Dogfish Head’s Chateau Jiahu, rice beer 10% alc./vol.
Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic village of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, has revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago. In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, Orange Blossom honey, Muscat grape, barley malt, and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with Sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging. One of Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ale’s.
Color: golden
Taste: Fruity and light with a wonderful aftertaste. Rather sweet beer that was surprisingly alcoholic for how light it tasted.
Musings: I really liked this one! Blake thought he could taste the rice and wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as I was. I have found that I really like the Ancient Ale’s from Dogfish Head on many levels. I LOVE the fact that they are using ancient recipes and working with archeologists to get these brews into the mouths and bellies of modern drinkers (an idea I wish I had had). The flavor of these beers are so unique yet familiar that it is no wonder that 9,000 years ago men and women were drinking this. I will be buying this again, but at $22 a bottle on sale it will be for a special occasion only, at least until they come out with smaller bottles like they did for Midas Touch.

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