It took me quite a while to get into Belgian beers. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them – more that I just didn’t know them. I was so accustomed to drinking regular, American ale styles like Pale Ale, IPA, Brown Ale, Stout, etc. that I wasn’t accustomed to leaving my regular comfort zone with my beer choices.
Sometime in the last decade or so, however, I realized this limitation and forced myself to start branching out and start drinking a wider variety of beer styles, including Belgians; and I’m so glad I did. Now, Belgian beers are some of my favorites to enjoy. There are a wide variety of Belgian styles to choose from as well, with a wide range of flavors and aromas from musty, hay-like farmhouse ales, to the citrus, clove or bubblegummy aromas and flavors in many Saisons, Belgian Pales or Belgian Golden ales and more.
Pour, Pour, Pour – The Beers
(Sung to the tune of Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds)
♫ To everything – pour, pour, pour
There is a season – pour, pour, pour
And a time for every craft beer under heaven ♫
Right now it’s Winter beer season. And I couldn’t be happier with this year’s lineup of great Winter beers. There is just so much wonderfully dark, rich, woody, bourbony, delicious goodness out there with the likes of Hoppy Holidays & Hoppy The Woodsman (Schooner Exact Brewing), Winter Bock (Silver City Brewing), Creepy Monkey Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brown (North Sound Brewing), The Abyss (Deschutes Brewing), Bindlestiff (Naked City Brewing), Jolly Roger Christmas Ale (Maritime Pacific Brewing), Bifrost Ale (Elysian Brewing), Bourbon Barrel Abominable Ale (Fremont Brewing) and many, many more. For anyone who is a fan of these darker, often barrel-aged, complex and delicious Winter delights, this is a great time of year to be a beer drinker.
There are some great events coming up soon at Brouwer’s Cafe. Things get rolling tonight with Ninkasi Brewing Company at 6:00PM with, “Wait, I thought you guys just made IPA’s?” Here is some information on the brews from Brouwer’s Cafe’s website:
Ancient Aleiens-Deep mahogany hued and fermented with an Alt yeast strain, it has a clean toasted malt profile that finishes with a bright citrus and floral hop presence. This beer was conditioned on 80 pounds of Chocolate Nibs (from Theo Chocolates in Seattle) with the addition of Guatemalan Coffee (from Water Avenue Coffee in Portland). Ancient Aleiens has a deep dark cocoa taste up front that warms into a sweet coffee expression, finishing with a fruity hop aroma. Smooth toasted malt flavor balances the rich cocoa bitterness. It has the brown hue of iced coffee with a tan head. The coffee sweetens the beer in the middle, lending to nutty, caramel, and chocolate coffee flavors.
Hops: Nugget, Summit, Amarillo and Crystal.
2013 ReNEWale: E.S.B. – ReNEWale Extra Special Bitter has smooth caramel malt notes upfront and fruity esters contributed by the yeast. Kent Goldings and Northern Brewer Hops add a deep earthy and grassy hop flavor and aroma.
Hops: Nugget, Northern Brewer and East Kent Goldings
Sasquatch Legacy Wheatwine– A Wheat Wine is a Barley Wine strength beer that is made with a large amount of wheat in its grist. Wheat Wines are typically smoother than their Barley Wine cousins with the wheat exhibiting toasted, bready, and Bock-like malty richness. The Falconer’s Flight hops used for bittering are balanced with the earthy and grassy Willamette and Brewer’s Gold Hops. Elegant, full-bodied maltiness with a balanced finish, this is a big beer with a little bite!
Hops: Falconers Flight, Brewers Gold and Willamette
Also pouring will be Allies win the War, and ImperiAle Stout.
I don’t always make it up to this festival, but the few times I have, I’ve had a great time. And talk about strange! Here is a brief description of the festival from the official website:
“The first great event of the Barrel Age is scheduled for January 25-27, 2013, and will be known as Strange Brewfest 9. At this celebration, humans and aliens alike will enjoy the heightened spirituality and the exploratory endeavors of our new age. Harmony will be achieved utilizing other worldly ingredients to create amazing craft brews. A musical odessey will accompany the beginning of the next 5,125 years of enlightenment, and you are all invited!”