Diabolical India Pale Ale

Image courtesy of North Peak Brewing Company

Image courtesy of North Peak Brewing Company

OK, more IPA.  I feel all Brokeback “I wish I could quit you” when it comes to IPAs, but I guess I should admit it.  I like IPAs.  And pretty much everything else but Bud.  Diabolical India Pale Ale from North Peak Brewing Company in Traverse City, MI is honey-orange in color with a peachy cast to it, and it makes a nice gooey head and tons of lace in your glass.  The bouquet is piney, perfumey and citrusy with a deep-down earthy malt foundation.  It’s medium bodied, rich, sweet and leaves you with a bitter reminder in the back of your throat.  (your Brokeback joke goes here)  It’s a 6.66% ABV and 66.6 IBUs (now that’s diabolical!) and it really tastes like a small batch craft brew.  I had one at their tap room and also bought some in Ludington, MI at a Meijer’s, and I’m not sure I’ve seen it in the Chicago area.  The bottle shape and label also really appeals to me.  Reminds me of post-Mounty Drewery’s bottles in some way I guess.  All in all a pretty decent IPA.

82/100 IPA

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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!

Arcadia IPA

Arcadia IPA (Arcadia Brewing Company, Battle Creek, MI) from the fine people that brought you Hopmouth and Sky HImage Courtesy of Arcadia Brewing Companyigh Rye pours with a 4″ head, 2″ of which extends over the top of the glass, without spilling down the sides.  Impressive.  As you might expect, when the head does recede the lacing is intricate and magnificent.  The bouquet emanating from the head is perfumy, with some rose, and some distant citrus, maybe lemon.  It is a delicious fragrance.  The texture is pleasant, being bright and lively in the mouth and still mildly lemony, and the 6% ABV is just right for this beer.  Arcadia IPA is not witbier lemony, but just kind of lemony in vibe.  Theres also a good malt representation, especially in the finish, which helps counteract some bitterness.  It’s a good beer.

80/100 IPA

Maredsous 6 Blond Ale

God has blessed the Belgians with many things, but He has blessed us all with their brewing skills.  The Benedictine Brothers at Maredsous Abbey have licensed their name to Duvel, who in turn has given us Maredsous 6.  The 6 refers to 6%ABV, just enough to let you know it’s there.  Maredsous 6 pours with a HUGE head, it’s a hazy medium gold color and displays a medium amount of carbonation.  The bouquet is wonderfully yeasty, citrusy, a bit clovey and finally slightly earthy.  The firmness of the malt backbone continues to support the whipped cream-like head throughout the drinking experience.  There is a noticeable bitterness on the tongue upon the first drink, but that goes away to reveal sweetness and more citrus notes, and a fairly smooth aftertaste.  The subsiding bitterness remains a distant memory in the finish.  This beer is clean and crisp, and it’s good.  Not great, but very good, and worth a try.  78/100 Abbey Ales

Sofie: Belgian style ale that rocks!

Chicago's other finest.

Chicago's other finest.

This $8.00 22oz. bottle of beer just might have been worth it.  Sofie is gold, cloudy, bubble and lively.  The bouquet has a hint of citrus/lemon, and is sweet and clean, and holds a spicey note for a long time.  It supports a 1/2″ thick head for a good long time.  It tastes tart and makes the taste buds stand at attention.  Theres a nice wheaty, malty quality in the finish, and at 6.5% ABV it make you feel real good.  I dig this stuff.  It is a blend of 80% Belgian style ale blended with 20% Belgian style ale aged in wine barrels with orange peel.  What a well-crafted wonder.  Get you some!

The End of the World

It sounds dramatic, but it just refers to a beer, La Fin Du Mond, and that just refers to the farthest reaches of the known world to the French in the early 17th century, and that in turn refers to my favorite place these days, namely Quebec.  La Fin Du Mond is tasty, especially when enjoyed at Les Anciens Canadiens, home of Sugar Pie and the best filet you’ll ever have.  And when a very sexy, Mary Steenbergenesque waitress serves it to you and translates the label with a wonderful accent, it makes the whole experience magical.  It is a blonde beer, pretty clear, very bubbly and it produces a fluffy white head.  The bouquet is a tad tart, yeasty, citrusy and a bit spicy, and all in all kind of sexy itself.  The taste is relatively mild, but loaded with subtleties.  Smooth, sweet, tart and lemony nuances swim about in your mouth.  There’s a good whiff of alcohol in the nose on the exhale after the first drink.  It is very drinkable and not too intense or complex, as all of the various taste sensations are well balanced.  It is great with the Quebecer Meat Pie, too!

Have I mentioned that I love Quebec?

Bon Soir!