Thursday, May 31, 2007

Nominated for Best Food Blog

My site was nominated for Best Food Blog!

(Nothing to do with beer, I know!)
Ok, ok, ok. A very small step for mankind, and given I am just at 1 vote ... a very small step for me too. But if you enjoy this blog, and occasionally its content (o vice versa) then please go ahead and vote! Then vote again, and again. I'm feeling almost part of a mini presidential food campaign :) .
There will be beer (virtually or not!). Thank you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Belgian Beer no. 62 - revisited

Revisiting beer no. 62.

Belgian Beer no.132 and no.133: Westvleteren(s)

The queen amongst beers: Westvleteren! And please welcome Michael, a new guest writer.

Text and photo: Michael
Website/ blog:

I’m sure that it is well documented that of all Belgian beers, the Westvleteren beers are the most hard to come by. As most will know, the beers are only available at the Monastery and it’s adjacent café “In de Vrede”. Further, to get your hands on a crate, you have to phone first to find out when the hatch at the monastery is open, then again to book a time slot for collection. Even if you manage to get through with your first call, you (apparently) don’t know what you are going to get until you get there, and even if you do manage to successfully navigate the first two stages, they will only sell you one crate.

Our first attempt in October 2006 proved fruitless – not only were we unable to get through to the monastery by phone, but even the Café In de Vrede was also closed that day due to some cycling event.

Our second attempt in December 2006 was a tad more successful. We were still unable to get through the complex booking by phone system (it’s not in English!), and our journey to the monastery itself had us taking three detours due to severe flooding in the surrounding farmland. We were relieved when we finally got there and “In de Vrede” was open.

The café shop also has restrictions on the sale – each person is only allowed to purchase 6 bottles, and only the Westvleteren Blond, and the Westevleteren 8 were on Sale.

27th May 2007
Westvleteren Blond (Green Cap)
Until today, we’d managed to keep our collection of Westies in tact for that special occasion. An article forwarded to me this week by a friend however suggested that the shelf life of the Blond and the 8 was much shorter than many writers have suggested. ( Discussion point anyone ?)

Anyway, after all the hype of Westvleteren, we were a little disappointed with the Blond. We are not beer connoisseurs, and we look to other writers to give us direction as to what it is that we are looking for in a beer. A common trend amongst writers seems to be that the blonde has a honey aroma with undertones of toffee, implying sweetness. I simply did not find it sweet, more bitter and acidic, but still palatable once the preconception of it being sweet had gone away. I would recommend it to try, but think that there are definitely better blonds out there.

Westvleteren 8 Blue Cap
On a slight downer after the initial disappointment of the Blond, we opened the Westy 8 prepared for another potential let down. However we were in for a nice surprise.

The beer poured into the glass with bits of sediment towards the end of the bottle. ( A notice in the “In de Vrede” apparently recommends keeping the last centimetre in the bottle, but the missus didn’t tell me till after I’d poured it !).

As you can see from the picture, it is a dark brown beer with a kind of lacey head. The aforementioned sediment seems to disperse equally and suspends in the beer, unlike some beers ( e.g. Achel where the sediment is extremely active).

In laymans terms (our kind!), it has a wonderfully powerful sweet taste with a hint of something else that we couldn’t identify on our own. Referring then to other beer writers comments, Toffee, Honey, dates, and Sherry seem to be a theme. Certainly Honey as opposed to Toffee in our opinion, dates ? well I don’t like dates, so if it is dates, then I like them now – and the Sherry, well yes, that gives it the kick.

I would certainly recommend this beer and can’t wait to try the 12 again!
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Belgian Beer no.131: Trappist Rochefort

Here we go. The second beer review written by a guest writer. Wonderful. Thank you :)
Text and photo: A Brussels Nostalgic
Website/ blog:
I find myself in the Skieven Architek sipping on one of the best beers of the world (according to experts at ratebeer and beeradvocate) while I use up some hours in Brussels. The drink is a Trappist Rochefort 8, containing some 9,2% alcohol. It's a strong one, and makes me wonder whether the reason I enjoy Brussels so much is because most of the time I spend here I'm actually a bit tipsy.
This town is great! I won't bore you with tasting notes which I often find silly, but with such a consistent beer like this, just one piece of advice: use your senses. Move the beer around in its glass, smell it, taste it , aftertaste it. After a while I'm sure your sight will feel the effects too. A great beer to drink slowly, and the venue is great, with lots of atmosphere, right in front of the Jeu de Balle, great for some flea market shopping - but better come early to find something nice.
Off I go to the airport!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Belgian Beer no.130: Pilaarbijter

My Belgian Beers no.64 and no.85 were also brewed by Bavik. Now another one of their products, the Pilaarbijter. We tried the brown one, although they do brew a Pilaarbijter blonde as well.

The beer, a very pleasant high fermentation beer, at 6.5%. What I found interesting is the name of this beer. Pilaarbijter means, literally translated, the column eater. The name was inspired by a painting of Pieter Breughel 'Flemish Proverbs'. A Pilaarbijter means a hypocrite.
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Belgian Beer no.129: Mea Culpa

Not just another beer. This is how Mea Culpa is introduced by BeerMania. A beer brewed by a shop (well, sort of). I noticed Mea Culpa early on. If only for the fabulous glass it comes with. My photo doesn't do it justice. The website does.

A beer should be more than just about the glass though. Unfortunately Mea Culpa does not stand out as a beer. Granted it was great tasting it in the shop/ bar, but buying it? Probably not. Plus the gift box price is just a little too much over the price I am willing to pay for beer (73euro for the gift box!!!).

Why would you go for this beer? To see the pouring and hold the glass.