Goose Island Sofie

You’ve been applying to jobs for months now.  No one has gotten back to you, and if they have, it’s not good news.  You’re frustrated, you’re blaming our president, your congress person, and terrorists.  But is that really the problem?  There is one thing that you can control that will make you look 80 times more appealing to prospective employers.  Put your name is script.  It worked for Sofie.

Goose Island, out of Chicago, brings us their wonderfully crafted Belgian ale, with an exquisite name.  Correction, with an exquisite font.  Goose Island has been all the rage in New England after they were finally able to distribute here, however very few people know that they are actually owned by Anheuser Busch (which is the reason why we now see it in all 50 states).  Now, before you think I’ve sold out, I’d like to let you know that their flagship Chicago brewery will still produce all their beer worth drinking: Sofie, Matilda, Bourbon County, and essentially everything produced in bombers.  Anheuser Busch will ramp of the production of all their brews sold in 6 packs or 12 packs (Honker, Harvest, Summertime, 312, etc…).  With the guilt of supporting the big guys behind us… at least most of our guilt, we can finally do those numbers.

Appearance: The brew poured a light gold color and your local weatherman would describe this as mostly cloudy.  It’s a very pretty beer.  I like how Goose Island allowed this beer to be unfiltered. It actually left a little sediment attached to the side of the glass when I was finished.  The head of the beer was a crisp white color and did not last long at all.  As I drank, no lacing was left on the glass.

Smell:  Lemon tartness right off the bat.  Some clove, and yeast are in there too.  Rich citrus smell as well – tart raspberries and under-ripe plums.  Finishes with a cotton-candy sugary smell.  Good God this smells amazing.  Lemon oil is in there too, no hops or malt.  As the head subsided, the smell got sweeter and sweeter like a sugar laced sour candy.  Finishes with a little funky smell too, like rubber gloves.  Very intriguing.

Taste:  It tastes as elegant as the script on the label.  Soft and comforting like your second grade teacher walking you through the process of writing the perfectly shaped cursive ‘f’ – the most elegant of all lower case letters.  You get the presence of coriander – the first thing that hits followed by a big yeasty flavor right in the middle of your tongue, which then submits to a bitter and slightly sour finish.  The finish is almost that of a dry white wine with some granny smith apples… yummy!  One of the first things I noticed was that this brew was very drinkable.  At first, the flavors seem a little odd, but they do mesh pretty well together as you continue to drink all of those 22 ounces.

Sofie brings you a gift of 6.5% ABV, but she’s not nearly as in your face as you may think.  The softness of the alcohol coaxes you into just the right and relaxed state of mind; you listlessly throw up your legs on a fall afternoon and stick one hand behind your head as you are fixated on that saffron hued leaf softly swaying to a perfect landing on a lush wet lawn.  Too poetic?  This beer really has a calming effect – all your cares go out the window.  I’d reserve this brew for a Friday, or take it with you on vacation.  This brew brings a little bit more to the table than a traditional Belgian might with a more complex flavor profile.

Overall, I’d have to give Sofie an A-.  It has the “minus” attached to it mainly because it just didn’t blow me away, however I’m grading this one a little tough.  It was incredibly satisfying and for the Belgians that I’ve tried (that haven’t been aged), this is a winner, and may very well be top 3.  If you see Sofie, pick her up.  She’ll treat you right, even if her dad (Anheuser Busch) is a giant Richard.  She’s still in her teenage years ready to rebel.

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New England Brewing Neighbor of the Beast

So keeping in theme with devious beers, I am proud to bring you New England Brewing’s offering, Neighbor of the Beast, with the appropriate house number of 668 right on the bottle.  These guys have all their bases covered.  Neighbor of the Beast is a Belgian style brew… so with that being said, I’m assuming that it’s Germany that takes on the role of Satin here.  I mean, France is certainly not badass enough to pull of that role and the Dutch are just too nice.  So for the third time in the last 100 years, Germany’s wrath strikes again.  UN sanctions?  Anywho, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this beer after loving Ghandi Bot and Sea Hag, so I was hopeful Neighbor of the Beast would follow in their footsteps.  Did it?  Let’s do the numbers:

Appearance:  Golden brown, and can see straight through.  Nice foamy head that sticks around for quite awhile.  Lacing looked as pretty as lingerie at Victoria’s Secret.

Smell:  Bananas is the first thing you get when you stick your nose in.  Yeast is in there, as well as some suntan lotion… seriously.  Weird to describe, but that’s what I smell.  The slightest bit of hops makes its way towards the end.

Taste:  The Banana taste is also one of the first things that I noticed when the beer hit the tongue.  Some spiciness is in there,  mix between coriander and liquorish.  I can definitely taste the alcohol in the beer, but I’d say it makes its presence known on the finish.  It lingers in the back of your throat.  I also get a little of that metaly taste that targets the sides of your tongue.  It could be mistaken of bitterness (which it sort of is I guess…) but it’s not terribly pleasant and it’s not the “hoppy” kind of bitterness. 

You can definitely tell that it is a Belgian style beer, but the fact that it’s so transparent is somewhat disappointing.  I like my Belgians to have a little funk and a little yeast floating inside of them, however to its credit, Neighbor of the Beast does not taste overly yeasty.  You can taste that it does try to be an upper echelon craft because of its many flavors and ingredients, but I’m not sure if the meld harmoniously together.

Overall, I’d say this beer is more like purgatory than it is hell or heaven.  It just sort of exists.  Nothing about the beer blows me away, but at the same time, it’s certainly not awful either.  I spent 4 dollars on a single can, which isn’t a whole lot, but if you were to get a 4 pack of this, you’d be paying 12 bucks.  I know New England brewing makes one hell of an IPA with its Sea Hag, and from what I have tasted, one of the best double IPAs in the country with Gandhi Bot, but with Neighbor of the Beast, it just falls short from the insane expectations I have for this brewery.  I’m also thinking that maybe the bitterness of the hops disguises the the aluminumy taste the can may give off, but then again I could be dreaming that up.  Neighbor of the beast gets a final grade of a B.  When you consider it’s price and flavor, its nothing more than your average Joe who’s pictured on the side of the can.  I do give points for creativity on name and design, but as mom always said, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Russian River Damnation

“Damn you Urkel  Damn you to hell.”  That could have been the first time I had ever heard a swear on prime time television.  I was a young lad watching Family Matters, which came on right after Full House, but before Step by Step on ABC’s Friday night sitcom lineup, TGIF.  My favorite brother and I had our eyes glued to the 13 inch Magnavox in the den.  I don’t remember this, and it may or may not have happened, but I imaged we would have looked at each other in shock… “WAIT A MINUTE!! …They… they can’t do that!”  That same feeling of shock and awe, that I experienced as a 9 year-old kid, that Bush 43 used to cripple Iraq, and that I felt when a bully condemned Urkel to hell came back to me when I had the opportunity to get another beer from Russian River, appropriately called Damnation.

Again, finding such a rarity was something I couldn’t pass up on.  And what better name could you give to a beer while engaging in sinful activity?  As soon as the cork popped, I had the urge to use the Lord’s name in vain, covet my neighbor’s possessions, and steal the pumpkin that’s sitting on our apartment’s stairs.  Weird.  One thing I rebelled against was this beer telling me not to drink it in a pint glass… feel like this was a devilish trick.  I hope drinking it wouldn’t make me bear false witness… what’s the worse that can happen?  Let’s do the numbers.

Appearance:  Darker than Redemption, it’s a pretty, dark gold color with it’s visibility being poor, but then again it is a Belgian style ale with that being typical.  The head was an off white that lasted longer than Redemption’s, but still went a way relatively quick.  The beer left moderate lacing as I was chugging away.

Smell:  Up front, it smells similar to RR’s Redemption Ale with the yeasty citrusy smells coming through.  However, Damnation has a little wild side to it:  I definitely got more white wine notes out of this brew than their Redemption Blonde.  Yeasty, with a bit more of a lemon scent too.  Also got a bit more of a hoppy smell out of Damnation.  Overall, it pretty much was what I expected after having Redemption.

Taste:  Yowzah… more piney and bitter than I was expecting.  This beer has jumped from the depths of a firey inferno to kick you in the mouth with hellacious flavor.  You certainly taste more hops in Damnation than you do in Redemption, and the body of the beer is much fuller than Redemption.  It seems strange, but you even have that burny feeling in the back of your throat after you finish a sip.  Perhaps it’s the higher ABV causing that — 7.75% (would have been more appropriate if it were 6.66%).  It’ll put hair on your chest… or at least on your face (probably a creepy looking soul patch and thin mustache satin himself would be proud of).  You get the yeasty taste of a Belgian — it’s not overpowering, and it does gets drowned out by bitterness pretty quickly.  The brew also tastes more malty than any Belgian I’ve ever had and it’s also a little syrupy too.  I noticed that when I took my first sip, but after half the brew was gone, I got used to it.  I would almost call it a hybrid between a yeasty Belgian and an east coast IPA.

Even though the flavors were more aggressive in Damnation than Redemption, it was still very drinkable.  Redemption is more of a manly beer that is satisfying after one pour.  You only need one of these to feel a little devilish (in other words, with it’s ABV and big flavor, it hits you after a little more than 12 ounces).  Redemption tasted great but was a little subdued, and is better for the social gathering where you may be drinking a few.  Another difference between Redemption and Damnation was that this brew was more carbonated than I expected, but that could be in part because it’s bottle fermented, and maybe this son of a bitch got more priming sugar than his fallen angles?  We’ll go with that… it did not take away from the beer, but it’s simply an observation.

All things considered, it was one of the more unique beers that I’ve had.  I feel like when Peak Organic made their Weiss Principal, they tried to make it taste like this, but missed the mark.  Damnation walks a fine line between brilliant and being average.  If there was just a tad more malt, it could have been too thick and heavy, but if there was a little less yeast, it would have been nothing more than an average east coast IPA.  I’d give this a final grade of a B+.  It is well balanced, and I would prefer this to most Belgians out there, but will deduct it on it’s slightly too malty characteristics for they style of brew that it is.  I certainly would not condemn this one to hell, unlike the label makes you think.

Russian River Redemption

Why this beer is called Redemption is beyond me.  It has nothing to be sorry for.  In fact, I think one can safely say that this beer most definitely has a chip on its shoulder, or at least some sediment in the bottle.

This beer had an interesting journey to get to me – more interesting than a late night T ride in Boston, but less interesting than Elian Gonzalez’s trip to the states.  What am I talking about?  Russian River does not sell its brews beyond its brew pub and some small local shops near it’s home base in Santa Rosa, CA.  I bought this guy online where it took the express flight straight here to CT, was attempted to be delivered at my house 3 times, chilled at the UPS warehouse for 5 days, and then finally made its way into my fridge.  Was it worth the wait?  Let’s do the numbers…

Appearance: Almost as golden as the helmets of Notre Dame.  This beer was pretty.  Definitely murky as it’s a blonde, Belgian style ale, but it looks wonderful.  All capped off with a white, frothy head that shrunk quickly… (I WAS IN THE POOL!!!)… and left no lacing behind.

Smell:  Over all it smelled like a yeasty Belgian.  Some coriander made an appearance as well as some orange zest and other fruity goodness.  Not much more than that in the brew, no hint of hops, and not much malt coming from this one.  It smelled understated, and to be honest it smelled as if it lacked complexity, which I found surprising seeing that Russian River prides itself on a meticulous brewing style with crafty ways of producing its ales.  However, having an understated smell was a little refreshing.

Taste:  Crisp was the first word that came to my head, and very well balanced.  Quite refreshing.  They yeast didn’t overwhelm it and the beer finishes with an orange-oily taste that hits those bitter taste nodes on the sides of your mouth.  For a Belgian style beer, it doesn’t get much better than this.  To quote the Marker’s Mark slogan, “It is what it isn’t.”  Russian River definitely does not try to get too cute with this beer, it’s a no frills ale that tastes wonderfully simple.  No one taste or ingredient stands out on the palate – a joyously clean brew. 

Often times breweries try to be a little too aggressive with a classic Belgian style, but Russian River lets their technique and the beer be the star of the show, which I can really appreciate (it’s even bottle fermented which speaks volumes as to how micro RR beers are).  Overly citrus or overly spicy Belgians are just awful, so I’m glad the fine folks in Northern California decided to take a step back and simplify.  If one were to knock it, it does tastes slightly more tart than most Belgians, but as a personal preference, I love this.  It’s a great refreshing brew for those lazy summer days… wish I popped this one a little bit sooner.

The mouthfeel and drinkability of this beer are absolutely phenomenal, and with only 5.15% ABV it’s something that you can definitely go back to.  Prices for Russian River beers are often at a premium as they are strictly a local legend in the Napa Valley, so be prepared to fork over between 6 and 11 dollars for a little more than 12 ounces per brew.  To try such an artfully crafted beer as this is worth the $$ though.  For curious readers, I actually picked up this bottle on letspour.com, which offers some great beer that is either not distributed to the east coast, or just not carried by many package stores.

Overall, I have to say that this beer surprised me.  I was ready to be cynical with this review, but RR delivered with a balanced Belgian that went down easy and was extremely enjoyable.  For what it is, I have to say that this gets a rare A, as I didn’t find any big reason to knock it at all.  It misses the + because I wasn’t absolutely blown away by it.  If you see it online, pick up a bottle.

Allagash Interlude

I tried Allagash Interlude on my brewery tour of Maine and remember it tasting a little funky, but decided to give it another shot from the bottle.  After a wonderful experience with Curieux, I decided that the ~20 dollar price tag was worth it (it was a pay day).  It was a unique experience, but the money could have been better spent.  Let’s do the numbers:

Appearance:  While I was pouring the beer, I was struck as to how loud the head sounded.  I know it’s a strange thing to notice, but it was something that stood out.  Certainly not positive nor negative.  Back to the beer, the head was off white, and not very thick.  The beer also poured cloudy, and was an amber/orange color.  There was also a bit of sediment floating around in the beer, not shocking as you could even see it in the dark bottle.

Smell:  First thing that came into my head: salty kiwi.  Have I ever had salty kiwi before?  no, but I know what the beachy/salty smell is and I know what kiwi is. I also got some toasted hops, grape, citrus, slight Skittle smell, wheat

Taste: Odd taste.  Wheaty up front, but the bitterness from the hops hits all over your tongue.  Also, bitterness could be from the tannins in the wine barrels.  A little bit of that wild yeast comes in with the wheaty taste upfront. Finishes much like a rich red wine.  a little back of the throat burn going down, not very surprising at 9.5% ABV.  Gets better as you drink, but the bitterness to me is the star of the show.  Bitter in a red wine way, not bitter in an IPA way.  There is a little funk in this beer, much like a pungent blue cheese.  Not incredibly drinkable, long pauses between sips, but to be fair, this brew is not meant to funnel or to be drunk while mowing the lawn.  Lightly Carbonated.

Overall: C+/B-  Appreciate the creativity and boldness of wild yeast, but doesn’t deliver on taste.

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Let’s take it back to the old school.  The year is 2000.  Your mom just dropped you off at the mall on a Friday.  It’s late.  6:30pm.  You are with good friends, and that kid who sits next to you in social studies class who is part of your group, but not quite a friend.  You’re ready to catch up with your homies and throw some high fives.  Allowance nowadays is only 5 bucks, but maybe your report card came in and dad threw you a 20… all A’s and a B+.  Money is still tight, especially if you really want that new Offspring CD at Record Town.  You also need to budget some cash to hit up the clearance rack at American Eagle.  To save money, you walk by the food court and grab as many free samples of General Tso’s chicken as you can.  You’re ready to be the coolest kid in the mall.  On your first stroll down to Filene’s, you see some rough and tough juniors… don’t make eye contact.  To make matters worse, the dude with the Walkman speed walking just bumped into you… thanks guy, I spent 30 minutes getting ready and you just ruined the scent of my Nautica cologne.  To cheer yourself up, you decide to kick it in the most famous candy store in the world, Sweet Factory.  You load yourself up with those blue gummy soda bottles, some sour tape, and of course, no trip would be complete without some Mega Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy.  You know what I’m talking about.  Just thinking about those things makes your mouth water.

Wait, I thought this was a beer review?  Well friends, if you want a grown up taste of that nostalgia, I urge you to buy Rodenbach’s Grand Cru.  This beer packs a punch, not really in its alcohol content, but with its bold sour taste.  The brew itself is 6% ABV from Belgium and is aged in oak… for two years!  (It’s actually a combination of that super old beer with some younger ale).  The beer got me all riled up… and that was just from reading the bottle.  After I popped the cork, I was enchanted.  Let’s do to numbers:

Appearance: The beer poured a dark drown/deep red color with a light khaki head.  Retention of the head did not last for very long, and the beer itself was pretty murky and not all that translucent.  Two very similar beers (taste wise) are Petrus’ Aged Pale and Lady of the Woods from Cisco brewers; both of those beers are aged in oak, however are much lighter in appearance than this guy.  Two full years in barrels had done a number on this brew, especially in its appearance.  The aforementioned beers from Cisco and Petrus tasted quite light, but from the color of this brew, I was curious to see if it would have more body.

Smell: The smell emitting from this Grand Cru was very interesting, but predictable of sour, pecheish beers.  The first thing I picked up with the schnoz was intense sour cherries, vinegar, and white wine.  Some oak was there, but to be honest, it was very muddled and stifled by stronger scents – its presence was not very strong whatsoever.  The beer also gave off some lingering vinegar, mustard, lemony, and very fruity smells.  Overall, very tart, very sour.

Taste: Sour.  The beer was extremely tart.  It had and incredible lactic taste to it, and as in the smell, I could not really get any oak out of the brew at all.  Surprising seeing it was bathing in it for two years.  The beer tasted like drinking warheads.  It had the character of a champagne, but was more tart, and a little more carbonated.  As seen it the color, Grand Cru had more body than similar beers like Petrus, the Woods, and Dogfish Festina.  It filled you up and was satisfying.  Not too many other flavors made their way through, but it truly is a unique beer.

Overall:  With its fruity, sour character Rodenbach delivers a brew that will taste unfamiliar to many.  If you are expecting a nice malty, hoppy, rich beer, go with something else.  I can definitely see people buying this and being let down in a grandiose fashion expecting a yeasty, wheaty Belgian – not the case.  For what it is, I give it very high marks.  It would make a great summer beer, something more refreshing to remind you of corner stand lemonade.  All things considered, I’d give this brew an A-.  Certainly, it’s not a beer that I’d bring to a large gathering because it will not have a universal appeal, but it’s one to give those more daring drinkers.  The dude with the Walkman would totally be down for a cold one.

Dogfish Head Pangaea

When you think about it, we all come from a broken family.  It’s sad when everybody drifts apart, but it’s important to remember where you came from.  Luckily for us, Dogfish Head allows us to remember our family any time we want with their beer, Pangaea.  What the hell am I talking about?

Well, take yourself back to the days of your ninth grade science class with Mrs. Romeo… if we recall, Pangaea was the super continent that existed long before the days of these shabby regular continents.  Earthquakes and convergent plates tore apart Pangaea with shamelessness and vigor, leaving us with North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Antarctica, Asia, and Africa.  Dogfish reunites this kin better than a Flanders family reunion, which will leave you saying, “agoogley doogley!” and will put Lord Thistlewick Flanders to shame.  How?  Dogfish takes an ingredient from every one of these continents and brews them up to create the magical elixir, keeping in line with their philosophy of off-centered ales for off-centered people.

Now that we know the meaning of the brew, let’s do the numbers.

Appearance:  Pangaea poured a dark burnt orange, murky color which looked inviting and heavenly.  It’s nice to see off the cuff beers look like beer, unlike Magic Hat Wacko.  It looks great.  The brew poured with a very small head especially with a straight down the middle pour, no tilt of the glass.  Usually I find myself twiddling my thumbs as  the head goes down so I can finally take a sip, but not the case with Pangaea.  The brew did not leave much lacing either, which was not surprising given the lack of head.

Smell:  Man oh man, this guy was interesting.  My notes while I was wafting: spicy, cinnamon, ginger, all spice, pumpkin, pepper.  I got a lot of aggressive scents here, and not much of the hoppy smell in the brew.  It had me anxious as I was about to taste.

Taste: Pangaea was an aggressive beer, not for the tired, poor, or huddled masses.  The first thing I noticed was the beer’s spicy, bold flavors – the same ones that I got with the nose.  The ginger made an appearance in the beer, but it wasn’t somthing that was at all off putting.  When I think ginger in beer, I think worst idea ever – not the case though.  The beer itself was not very hoppy (although you did get some), the spices really dominated, however it still had the beer-y taste, unlike Victory Golden Monkey (which just tasted like black gumdrops).  The beer was surprisingly pumkiny and reminded me a lot like a spiced up pumpkin ale, this would be great for the fall.  For being such an aggressive beer, it was very well balanced, this beer could easily go astray, but its aggressive taste was mellowed out by the hops and malt of the brew.

Overall:  For being as pungent as this beer was, it was surprisingly pleasant to drink.  As soon as I was finished with my first glass, I immediately poured my second one.  It seems like it’d be tough to get through, but went down cleanly and had me feeling pretty good at 7% ABV.  The end result: a powerful beer serving as a nice change of pace, especially during the fall.  Overall: B+

Cisco Brewers Grey Lady Ale

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Hey girl, I’m really digging your amphibious style and leaf belt.  I think we should give this a shot, I’ll swim by at 8:00?

Now if that line doesn’t work on a mermaid, then I have no idea how one goes about picking one up.  For me it was easy, I didn’t even have to say anything, just took a trip down the beer isle, and I saw her giving me the eye.  Never been with a mermaid before, so I decided to, in the words of Eddie Money, “Take [her] home tonight!”  I did, and I liked it.

Grey Lady is a Belgian Style Wit made by the wonderful people at Cisco Brewers in Nantucket.  I’ve tasted this beer on location at the brewery, but Imagethe only thing I remembered from that tour was how wonderful their Lady of the Woods tasted, and how freaking awesome the life of the head brewer there was.  Grey Lady just made an appearance.  Now it was time to spend the night alone with this one.  I lit the candles, took her out to a nice dinner, had some Linoel Richie playing, and was the perfect gentleman.  Let’s see how the date went…

Appearance:  She was hot!  Very light in color and mysteriously hazy.  Looks like the name Grey Lady fits perfect with this one.  No sediment on first pour, was expecting a little seeing it’s a Belgian Wit.  No sediment at second pour either, however when I went to put the bottle away, I saw all the sediment at the bottom.  Wish I had shook it up before pouring, but c’est la vie.  At first glance, it looks like it could lack taste, however that thought is immediately out the window once the beer opens up.  I was a good 2 feet away from the beer and could already smell it.  The head of the beer disappeared after 10 seconds, and it left no lacing.

Smell:  Her perfume will linger with you.  Very fruity.  Oranges, Bananas, Raspberry-Lemon, and the slightest bit of yeast are layered throughout the beer.  At first smell you can tell that this is a more complex beer with more depth than your Average Joes, Blue Moon.  It smells fresh and very crisp, perfect for a warmer day, something you’d want to put on the shelf in the wintertime, based on its smell.  As the brew left the glass, about half way through it, a lactic, yogurty smell came through, which may explain the slight tartness in the taste.

ImageTaste:  Let’s just say she wasn’t bitter at all.  At first taste you really get the yeast and the orange of the beer.  As you continue to drink, you realize fully, and understand, why the brew is called Grey Lady.  Again, as in its appearance, it has a hazy taste that brings out the lemon-tartness of the brew after the original hint of orange-oil and yeast.  The tartness could be explained by the lactic smell, but it certainly does not overpower the beer.  I could envision myself drinking this on Nantucket, looking at a lighthouse on a foggy morning, with a captain’s hat on my head, reminiscing about the Kennedy’s.  And yes, I said morning.  This does remind me a little of a mimosa; the brew is very light, and to me, is lacking body.  You can sort of predict that just looking at its appearance, however, when drinking Delirium Tremens, I got the lightness out of the beer, but it had some character and body to it.  If there is one knock on Grey Lady, it’s that.  Definitely more of an sunny afternoon, beach beer.  Very drinkable, as there is nothing in here to really fill you up.  Body wise, it even seems lighter than the aforementioned Blue Moon, which could be a good or a bad thing, but to me I get a sense that it’s too refined and also too watery.  If the sediment was loosened and more of it fell into the glass, my opinion on this could change, but I doubt it would have made a drastic difference.

Overall:  The brew delivers with taste, and does a great job with leaving your stomach feeling empty.  The lack of body may be appealing for some, but for me it was definitely a knock against the beer.  I enjoyed the flavor, but the lack of a “finish” to the beer is something that I was disappointed with.  I will buy this again if I’m on the beach or just ate a 4 course dinner, but other than that, there are other Belgians out there.  The final grade: B-/B; it’s great for a summer beer, but needs some umph to ramp it up for an everyday beverage.  At 4.5% ABV, I also feel that you can get more bang for your buck, but it’s worth a try.  Pick one up!

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Huyghe Delirium Tremens

Elephants, alligators, and dragons!! Oh my!  That’s the first thing one notices when picking up this brew for the first time, mainly because it takes some time to figure out the text on the label.  I thought for sure I was drinking BEUIRI[something]M.  A little Googling, and I could finally correctly label this mighty fine Belgian.

Big brother had  Delirium Tremens in CA, and when he came back to CT, he bought me it (along with several other bottles) for Christmas.  I think this was right up there with the Crashback and N64 for top Christmas gifts of all time.  Not to mention the stocking stuffers of mini Russel Stover Chocolates.  After sitting in my fiance’s wine rack (which is now a beer rack to her chagrin), it was time to put in the ol’ refrigerator.

It was teasing me in there for a while, and finally, it was time to pop the cork.  In the words of Marketplace Morning Report, “Lets do the numbers:”

Appearance – Light in color, with little sediment at first pour.  I was surprised by this because all traditional Belgians that I’ve had were always tough to see through and cloudy.  On second pour though, out came the sediment.  It was sitting at the bottom the whole time and couldn’t be spotted because of the paint on the bottle.  The head had little retention and virtually no lacing and was a bright white color.

Smell – Slightly like champagne, with the smell of orange oil and coriander coming through at first whiff.  At second whiff, I also got a wheaty smell, but it was not overly yeasty at all.  Some banana and fruit notes also were scattered throughout the brew too.  Very pleasant and nothing alarming.

Taste – Very light, not overpowering, very refreshing.  Doesn’t punch you in the mouth, orange peel comes through, slightly bitter after taste that dances on your tongue.  Also has a metaly bud light after, after taste, slightly floral too. Feels restricted as a Belgian, was expecting more of an aggressive taste out of the brew, but appreciate the refined approach with it still being 8.5% ABV.  Kudos for not having it taste like yeast.  Excellent mouth-feel and very drinkable.  Easily finish-able in one sitting, especially for a 22 oz beer

A good change of pace and a solid brew, but doesn’t blow me out of the water.  Overall: B, just missing the +.