Thursday, December 15, 2005

Belgian Beer no.12: Biere des Ours, the bear beer

I am not going to go again into honey beers I like – by now I imagine you have identified the trend here!
Just to let you know I have tried the Bieres des Ours (literally Beer of the Bears).
Again another blonde beer at 8% alcohol, brewed at the Brasserie Binchoise. An interesting one, but lacking the strength of honey taste I discovered in the previous two.

Belgian Beer no.11: Saint Monon, honey!

Probably not the first time I mention I like honey beer. Therefore my quest to discover them all one by one. This is how I came across a honey beer I never heard of, the Saint Monon miel.

Brewed at the Saint Monon Brewery, this beer has again a very high alcohol content (8%) – and for my taste not too much honey flavor. I will get to the stage where I am going to just add honey to a blonde … sin, sin, sin.

To get back to the Saint Monon though, I liked it. A nice, clear beer which I enjoyed and will most likely buy again.

Carrot soup with cumin (serves 4)

600gr carrots
1 onion
2 tsp cumin seeds
I knob of butter, 1 drop olive oil
50cl Saint Monon (or any other strong honey beer)
25cl water
1l stock
Salt and pepper
Goats cheese

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan, add the onion and cumin seeds. Add a little honey beer and let it simmer, till caramelized. Add water and stock, honey beer (save 1dl), the finely chopped carrots. Let the mixture cook on low heat for 5-8min.
Blend the soup, add the remaining beer, salt and pepper (if necessary).
Serve hot with a slice of goats cheese on top of the soup and full grain bread.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Belgian Beer no.10: Pater Lieven, available as 4

Pater Lieven, brewed by the Van den Bossche brewery in the Flemish Ardennes, is available as light (blond), dark (brown), triple and as a Christmas beer. We gave the Pater Lieven bruin a try.

At 6,5° this is again a very strong Belgian beer, with hints of caramel, chocolate and pils. A very dark beer, Pater Lieven is ‘only’ been brewed since 1957. The brewery itself is over 100 years old, but it seems this particular beer has only been discovered and marketed later. However, it stands today as a very much sought after Belgian beer.

Currently, no recipe as it seems impossible to find one!

Belgian Beer no.9: Tripel Karmeliet, all the way from 1679

With Christmas near and winter officially here, Belgian beer drinking is again on top of our evening agendas. Depending on location, we either go for the deeper, darker richer beers, or for the mulled wine. Beer while visiting and discovering Beermania, mulled wine while visiting the Christmas market in Brussels.

One evening, four different beers. I was looking for my usual sweet, ideally honey flavored beers, while competing with a more unusual search for different beers. So we started off with a Tripel Karmeliet. Now this is a beer I liked. Although I usually go for sweet to very sweet beers, I found this beer had that extra special flavor and taste – and yes, I liked it!

Still brewed after an authentic recipe from 1679, this beer brings together three different types of grain: wheat, oats and barley. What I found probably to be a caramel taste, were the aromas of vanilla the beer has. But to be perfectly honest I was most impressed by the very stylish glass the beer is served in.

Duck with baby onions (serves 4)

duck breast
1 orange
2 finely chopped shallots
2.5dl Tripel Karmeliet
2dl chicken stock
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp red wine vinegar

Fry the duck breasts for aprox 10min. At the end add the shallots and the garlic. Remove the meat from the pan and keep it warm. Mix the juices with the red wine vinegar, Tripel Karmeliet, honey, chicken stock and a piece of the orange peel. Allow this to reduce and serve on top of the duck breasts.