Friday, November 23, 2007

Belgian Rule?

Why is it that Belgium brewed beers do so much damage (Think Hangover) and are the cause of many a holiday of havoc? As an experienced beer drinker, I am aware of the higher alcohol content as well as the much bigger sized bottle. This awareness leads me to drink with caution. A couple of small goblets before dinner as an aperitif, another goblet or two with dinner and a glass with desert. That's it. A total of 36 ounces of finely crafted beer. While the beer is being imbibed, my spirits are uplifted, my gabbing increases, wittiness runs rampant. I am the life of the Holiday. I say things I wouldn't say to my in-laws, even after a dozen pints of Guinness. I make jokes you wouldn't make after a half dozen glasses of DogFish Head 60 Minute IPA. My mark is left. Another Belgium inspired holiday.

So what is it? Why the headache the next morning? Why the brain fog? Yes, the alcohol content is high, but I am aware of that. I drink within reason. On any other given day, I could have a dozen pints of Guinness (153 ounces of beer, trumping the 36 ounces of Belgium Ale) with no negative effect at all. The same with my ESB or lager, no problem there. So, what is it? It must be the secret ingredients.

I have learned that after quietly existing as a peace loving member of the European Union, Belgium has secretly, over the past few hundreds of years, been trying to takeover the world.
It is a very subtle attack, they brew high alcohol beers with secret ingredients. They place candies and fruits in their beers. They add spices like cloves and mix them with their own home grown hops. The Belgians have concocted brews that slowly chip away at human thought, brainwashing the drinkers to become Belgians. This is how they will take over the world. Before long, attracted to the unique tastes and aromas of exotic Belgium Beers, the entire world will be making Brussels their home. The Belgians will take over the world. You have been warned.

The Beers in Review:

Trappistes Rochefort 10,
This Trappist Belgium Ale, pours a dark, blood red with a thick, copious head. The ale gives off a sweet, malty aroma with a touch of fruit. As typical, a mixture of many flavorful spices. # 10 finishes off dry and warm. The monks that brewed this ale, packed a whollup in there, with a whopping 11.3% alcohol per volume.

Trappistes Rochefort 8, The number 8 shares many of the 10's characteristics as far as color, aroma, taste and finish, yet 8 comes off tastier and more of a drinkable treat then its Trappist brother. The less alcohol, not by much, makes this ale drinkable, yet still dangerous. My favorite of the two.

V Twelve Ale, Victory Brewing: This Belgian inspired ale, of a whopping 12% alcohol by volume, was a rare treat. The 12% alcohol was so subtle in taste, that I wasn't really aware of the ale's potency as I was drinking it. A good sign I am sure. A sign that allows you to want even more of this beverage once you have finished the bottle. Victory V Twelve Ale was very smooth with a very enjoyable light sweetness to it. The most remarkable thing about the beer, besides the taste, was the color. Poured in a wide mouth goblet, the color of the ale was the deepest red I have ever seen. I actually found myself staring at this glass of beer numerous times as I was drinking it. V 12 is an incredibly well done beer and tastes fantastic.

Butte Creek Brewing Co. Organic Revolution 10th Anniversary Imperial IPA, you gotta love the word Imperial. Once you see that, you know that you are getting an amped up beer. I'm a little weird in my taste of IPA's. I prefer a "normal" IPA, one that has a bitterness to it, but more importantly a drinkable quality. I am not fond of the hopped up IPA. On the other hand (here is my weirdness), Once the hopped up IPA goes out of hop control, beyond the hopped-upness, I like it. There seems to be three categories of IPA. 1. True to Style. 2. Extreme IPA 3. Beyond Extreme, as in Imperial. I like number 3. Once the IPA becomes hysterical, it gains a true balance. The hop is cut down, by the malt, the alcohol mellows the bitter aftertaste with a true warming finish. I like that. Butte Creek does a great job of brewing well balanced Imperial IPA. Moderate malty aroma, deep copper color, dry, warm and bitter all at the same time. A terrific beer that is comparable to Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, but without losing it's own individual differences. Well done.