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Archive for the ‘Belgian’ tag

Westvleteren 12 (XII) – Brouwerij Westvleteren [Sint-Sixtusabdij van Westvleteren] (2012)

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BLC Says:
Westvleteren 12. What really can be said about this beer? The beer is made by one of only eight Trappist breweries in the world (more on those soon). It seems to be one of if not the most sought after beer in the world. How did it come to posses such a large and wide spread reputation? The beer is brewed by monks at the abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren and is only available a majority of the time via an archaic call in and pick up system. So if you want to try a bottle, how the monks intend, one must phone in a reservation and drive a car to the abby in Vleteren, Belgium. Adding to the mystery of Westvleteren 12 is how it is bottled. It is sold in crates, real wooden crates of 24 bottles, with the words “Trappist Wesvletern” branded upon them. The brew comes in a simple brown bottle with no labeling at all. The only indication of what is inside is a cap which contains all of the necessary legal information the monks must provide. Recently the beer caused a mini frenzy when it was released here in the United States. For release it had to be labeled and a minimalist Westvleteren XII was added to the front of the bottles which were sold in six packs with two glasses. These sold out instantly and rapidly appeared on eBay for resale (these were all just as rapidly taken down). News outlets even picked this up and ran stories on the beer and the rush to get it. This beer seems to be one that is consistently sought after and is often held in high regard across the beer world (especially on the inter-web). Currently this beer holds the top spot on RateBeers Top 50 and is in the top 6 on Beeradvocate’s Top 100 list. With such a high regard being built and the beer being produced in such limited hard to acquire quantities it almost seems to be a “beer holy grail” for many. Is this truly one of the “greatest” beers in the world or has Westvleteren (nicknamed “Westy 12”) earned its reputation through its rarity and internet buzz? If this was available easily in your local beer shop or bar would you make it a staple or is this beer a paper tiger? keep reading...

Written by A+K

January 9th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Fantôme de Noël – Brasserie Fantôme (No Bottling Date)

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BLC Says:
Brasserie Fantôme Fantôme de Noël is the Christmas saison from this Belgian brewery. It comes in a 750 ml bottle that is capped and corked with interesting label artwork featuring a ghost drinking a beer, Christmas tree and ornaments. We give them credit for getting more than one holiday involved and having their ghostly mascot drinking out of a tulip-like glass.

This saison emerges from the bottle bearing a hazy rust hue with mild visible carbonation. The foamy head is a cream white color and lasts for good amount of time. Eventually the head does settle into a light cap with clumpy lacing, but the brew easily comes alive after each sip or swirl. The aroma is a mingling of sweet, tart and funk along with some hay and a base of crisp malt. There is an underlying fruity, bright quality with a bit of Belgian yeast making an appearance as well. Fantôme de Nöel tastes tart and slightly lactic with refreshing fruit (apple and pear) in the background. Tiny tingling carbonation zips across the tongue and this brew feels light with a bit of weight to it. Notes of hay and malt echo in the finish. For a 10% abv beer this has surprisingly little alcohol presence in it and seems like it would be extremely easy to overindulge in. We suggest being careful or the Fantôme of drinking past may sneak up on you. keep reading...

Written by A+K

January 7th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Saison Dupont (Vielle Provision) – Brasserie Dupont (2012)

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BLC Says
Brasserie Dupont Saison Dupont (still labeled as Vielle Provision here in the USA) is considered the standard of this refreshing Belgian farmhouse style. Saison (season in French) originally referred to refreshing ales brewed by farmers to be consumed during the summer. These beers started out around 3% abv but modern interpretations hover closer to 5-6% range. Saison Dupont is 6.5% and most current American saisons copy the yeast used by the Dupont brewery because it ferments better at warmer temperatures. Saison Dupont is popular all over the world and we have had the pleasure of tasting it in several countries including Belgium. This review is of a 2012 bottle purchased and enjoyed locally. We had our bottle of Saison Dupont on New Year’s Eve so this was the first beer enjoyed by BLC in the 2013. keep reading...

Written by A+K

January 5th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Beer Loves Company 12 Days of Christmas (in 6 Days)!

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12 days

Well, that’s it everyone. Santa came and went, the ball dropped and here we sit in 2013 with no major holidays on the horizon. Early January is really nothing to sing or carol about. It is kind of a cold, wintery, downer…or so we thought. Turns out the 12 Days of Christmas actually begin AFTER Christmas and go right through January 6 or 7 (depending on which version you follow). The Christmas carol which gave birth to this tradition was first published in England in 1780, though it is believed to have originated in France years prior (’tis the Saison anyone?). Here at BLC, we are improvising a bit and starting on January 3, one of the more uneventful days of the year. Oh, and we will be replacing the “true love gifts” (which are essentially all birds) with delicious craft beers. Two per day, to be exact. Think of it as 12 Days of Christmas with tasty liquid treats replacing the (insane) gifts of birds condensed and presented in the usual, cheerful BLC manner. So check back tomorrow for the beginning of our “Twelve Beers of Christmas (in Six Days)”. It will be a wonderful mix of seasonal and rarer brews we have been enjoying over the holidays. Here is a sneak peek at one of the brews that will be featured.
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Written by A+K

January 2nd, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Cantillon Cuvée St-Gilloise – Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon (2011)

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Cantillon Cuvee Saint Gilloise

BLC Says:
We were lucky enough to come across a bottle of Cantillon Cuvée St-Gilloise at Pizzeria Paradisio while visiting Washington, DC. The bottle was priced at $40 for a 750 ml bottle, which we decided was worth the splurge since the last time we had seen a Cantillon beer we were actually at the brewery in Brussles. Look for a post on that visit coming soon but in the meantime, let’s talk about this beer.

Cantillon Cuvée St-Gilloise is an oak aged, dry-hopped version of the Belgian brewery’s unblended 2-year-aged lambic (being spontaneously fermented). This beer was dry-hopped with noble German Hallertau hops and was bottled in November 2011 with the beer inside being brewed in 2009. FInding a Cantillon bottle was interesting but this brew itself is a slight oddity as unblended lambic beers are rarely served on their own. Traditionally many lambic vintages are blended for a brewery’s gueuze. Yet another odd note is Cuvée St-Gilloise was originally brewed as Cuvée Des Champions in honor of brewmaster and blender Jean Van Roy’s hometown soccer club, Brussels’ Union St. Gilles, winning the Division III championship in 2004. Unfortunately St. Gilles’ performance has been in decline since, and he can no longer dedicate the beer to “Champions” adjusting the name of the brew to Cuvée St-Gilloise. Hey at least the club still has a beer brewed in their honor! keep reading...

Written by A+K

December 20th, 2012 at 3:21 am