Saison-Brett

You probably think the multi-talented, deceased entertainer Brett Somers had something to do with this beer, but I can assure you that is not the case.  Saison-Brett from Boulevard Brewing Company is a wonderful, complex beer.  I shared bottle number 20780 from the 2011 batch with my brother-in-law, and this limited release Belgian-style saison is great.  Dry-hopped and bottle conditioned, Brett gets its name from the Brettanomyces wild yeast strain used in concert with other yeasts during bottle conditioning.  Saison-Brett is cloudy bright yellow with a fizzy white head that makes it hard to pour more than a few ounces at a time.  The brettanomyces give a funky, earthy scent, but there is plenty of citrus, orange peel and spice to make it more palatable.  Tart and fairly bitter, Saison-Brett mellows a bit as it warms and about halfway through the alcohol becomes very noticeable, not so much in the taste, but in your head.  Very complex, very enjoyable, but maybe too much for some folks.  Me?  I want more!

95/100!

Bourgogne des Flandres

Bourgogne des Flandres comes in a nicely printed bottle, and I can appreciate that, but it is confusing.  It is says it is brewed by Timmermann for John Martin or Anthony Martin, and the bottle also says something about 1763 Von Houtryve on the neck…  Guess what?  None of that matters to me at this point, I don’t want to think that hard, I just want to enjoy a beer.  This stuff is deep brown and slightly hazy with garnet highlights and a tightly packed beige head that is never very big, but is at least consistent from beginning to end.  It leaves a smattering of slowly sliding lace as well.  The bouquet is sweet, oaky and fruity.  The taste follows closely, but the sweetness is amplified and the fruitiness reveals itself to be very cherry.  It’s a drinkable 5.2% ABV brown ale, fairly light considering its abundance of flavor but the sweetness makes it a one bottle limit kind of beer.  I’d call it good, not great.  Maybe a good after dinner kind of beer to be sipped and considered.  71/100 Belgian Brown

Zon Belgian Style Witbier

The best thing I did last week was to buy the Boulevard Sampler 12 pack.  Good stuff in a wide variety of styles.  Zon Belgian Style Witbier, being one of the offerings in said 12 pack certainly has the classic Belgian look.  It’s

Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Co.

cloudy, bright yellow, very fizzy and displaying a prominent white head.  The bouquet is lemon, citric and sweet with a hint of lilac.  Zon is light and lively on the tongue, sweet (just slightly), lightly bitter and has some grain in the finish.  Later, a distant hint of clove.  You know, it’s pretty good.  It’s very drinkable & pleasant, but I don’t think it is a knock-your-sox-off kind of offering.

Demolition Belgian-style Golden Ale

Goose Island, the brewery that introduced me to craft brews in the mid to late 80s, has a place in my heart for sure.  I don’t buy a whole lot of their products, but when I do I am often quite satisfied.  Demolition Belgian-style Golden Ale does not fit in that category.  It is brewed in honor of the Goose Island employees that continued to work efven as the mall around them was torn down a few years ago.  Demolition is golden yellow, highly carbonated, fizzy and produces a spotty head.  The bouquet is citrusy, fresh-smelling and crisp.  It is tart and excites the tongue with whaet-maltiness.  The problem is that is not over the top in any way.  Yes, it’s lively and refreshing but it doesn’t live up to its bouquet.  It finishes dry and a bit bitter, but in the middle, it’s just kind of there.  I ended up not wanting to finish the bottle, and the only other beer I have done that with lately is MGD 64.  I reluctantly rate this as 60/100 in the Belgian category, but I may be too generous because of my history with the Goose.

Trade Winds Tripel

The Bruery, out of Orange County, CA is the maker of Trade Winds Tripel, an interesting summer beer in the Belgian style that uses rice rather than candi sugar in the brewing process.  This is done to lighten the body of the beer, a good trait for summer beers.  Additionally, Thai Basil is added to give a bit of a spicey tang.  This beer is a medium gold color, clear in the glass.  It is sharp and tangy, sweet and citrusy and perhaps a bit of the yeast is tastable as well.  It’s light-bodied, spicey and finishes dry.  I found it interesting, but not great.

Delerium Tremens

Ah, the DTs, nothing quite like ’em.  But Delerium Tremens by Family Brewery Huyghe is something else.  Golden yellow with a fluffy head, there is a nice mild spice in the bouquet, cloves, and dry in the nose.  There is also a hint of citrus in there.  It’s very effervescent and a bit cloudy if you you por the sediment, which I do.  It is sharp on the taste buds, tart, dry, yet soft and smooth-textured.  It’s very good, but not the best Belgian Ale out there, especially at $20 for a 4-pack in Forest Park.  There’s a good alcohol bite in the finish and in the exhale, and it gets better all the way around as it warms.  90/100.

Raging Bitch

Raging Bitch by Flying Dog out of Frederick, MD is an over-the-top Belgian-style IPA hybrid, and a dang good one at that.  This amber treasure has plenty of carbonation, and sports a head of random-sized bubbles that leaves a fair amount of slowly sliding lacing.  The bouquet is complex, featuring floral hops, candi sugar, rose essence and fruit of the citrus variety, in that order.  The taste is definitely Belgian ale meets IPA and all that goes with it.  Dry and sweet at first, super hoppy, piney, and eventually the very dry finish reveals a subdued Trix cereal note.  It is rich, sharp and sweet, but not cloying, and the 8.3% ABV is felt but not so much tasted.  Raging Bitch is not an every day beer, but certainly makes a special occasion more special.