Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

Smells like a Belgian, tastes like an IPA!

Image courtesy of Stone Brewing Company.

Image courtesy of Stone Brewing Company.

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA (Stone Brewing Co., Escondido, CA) presents itself in a self-assured manner, showing off its golden color, ample carbonation and white, lacey head.  Stone Cali-Belgique IPA has every right to do so!  The bouquet has the lemony, tart smell you’d expect from a Belgian blonde ale, a result of the Belgian strain of yeast used in the brewing.  The IPA takes over shortly after, with a tartness on the palate and the drying sensation you’d expect from a Stone IPA that’s been built with Magnum, Centennial and Chinook hops.  The malt quality is notable for its underlying sweetness and rich body.  Cali-Belgique finishes dry and bitter with a note of grain in the exhale.  At 6.9% ABV, Cali-Belgique can sneak up on you, but you should sneak up on it instead, and put a bomber in your cart next time you visit your favorite bottle store!

85/100

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Gulden Draak 9000 Quadrupel

Brewed as a tribute to 9000 (city code) Ghent and the gold dragon statue on top of their bell tower, Gulden Draak 9000 Quadrupel is a testament to the greatness of the city.  Gulden Draak is a light gold-amber color (lighter in color than I expected) with a frothy and persistent random bead head.  Gulden Draak 9000 Quadrupel, Brouerij Van Steenberge, Ertvelde, Belgium, has a healthy amount of carbonation, and a sweet, dry citrus bouquet greets the nose, with a dose of alcohol at the end.  It’s 10.7% ABV, so no surprise there.  The flavor is not as strong as I thought it would be, but there is some banana and clove notes, tartness, sweetness and finally some sharpness and dryness in the finish.  As it warms the carmelly aspects of the flavor profile become more prominent.  This is a really drinkable quadrupel, almost subdued, and any initial trepidation at the magnitude of this brew is unnecessary.

85/100 Belgian Quadrupel

Duvel Belgian Golden Ale

Bottle Conditioned, Pour Unhurriedly

Bottle Conditioned, Pour Unhurriedly

This piddle-yellow brew is slightly hazy and floats a big, fluffy white head.  Duvel is well carbonated and lively looking, the bouquet is sweet, tart, doughy and yeasty.  It is tart on the tongue and somewhat light bodied. There is a slight citrus note in the finish, and an almost sweet, dessert-like finish.  Not a strong alcohol presence despite it’s 8.5 ABV.  It retains it’s head to the bottom of the glass, but doesn’t leave much lacing.  I’d call it a good introduction to the style.