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22

Oct

Val Dieu Dubbel

Wow, I really can’t believe how long it’s been since our last post. Firstly, a big apology to all our readers, we’ve been busy touring Europe, although that’s no excuse to site down and write down our beer escapades. Just looking at the backlog of pictures makes me feel like I could withhold from drinking and still have many more beers to review a couple of months from now.

Firstly, let me set the scene for the Val Dieu Dubbel. It was the first day of the Belgian GP, we had just returned from Spa to Liege, and noticed a festival of sorts taking place in the park over the river. It was a gorgeous afternoon, still warm and the crowd was really taking advantage of this.

We wandered over and sat ourselves down at this little bar, which was actually the stand from Val Dieu. It almost seemed like a few of the local breweries were represented here, amongst a festival that was showcasing local activities. I think what made the beer even more enjoyable was the local musicians playing in the background. You know how sometimes it’s the atmosphere that lifts a beer from great to awesome, well this was one of those times.

The beer has a gorgeous reddish dark brown hue, with a pillowy white head. As it is obvious from the picture, the lacing clings to the glass as it subsides. Aromas of raisins, prune, dark fruits, caramel, toffee pepper and yeast spices are evident on the nose, and this made me really intrigued as to how it would taste.

The taste is a typical Belgian Brune. Complex and multilayered with hints of all the aromas on the nose. There was also the addition of biscuit, nuttiness and a little bit of bitterness on the finish. The beer is perfectly balanced between complexity and flavour. It’s not your massive Trappist beer, but it doesn’t lack for flavour.

It’s really hard to even notice any hint of alcohol, until you’ve stood up and it goes straight to your head. The mouthfeel is medium, and almost creamy, although nowhere near Guinness. A great representation of a dubbel.

Bought for €2.90 from some Belgian festival

JG

Val Dieu Dubbel

Wow, I really can’t believe how long it’s been since our last post. Firstly, a big apology to all our readers, we’ve been busy touring Europe, although that’s no excuse to site down and write down our beer escapades. Just looking at the backlog of pictures makes me feel like I could withhold from drinking and still have many more beers to review a couple of months from now.

Firstly, let me set the scene for the Val Dieu Dubbel. It was the first day of the Belgian GP, we had just returned from Spa to Liege, and noticed a festival of sorts taking place in the park over the river. It was a gorgeous afternoon, still warm and the crowd was really taking advantage of this.

We wandered over and sat ourselves down at this little bar, which was actually the stand from Val Dieu. It almost seemed like a few of the local breweries were represented here, amongst a festival that was showcasing local activities. I think what made the beer even more enjoyable was the local musicians playing in the background. You know how sometimes it’s the atmosphere that lifts a beer from great to awesome, well this was one of those times.

The beer has a gorgeous reddish dark brown hue, with a pillowy white head. As it is obvious from the picture, the lacing clings to the glass as it subsides. Aromas of raisins, prune, dark fruits, caramel, toffee pepper and yeast spices are evident on the nose, and this made me really intrigued as to how it would taste.

The taste is a typical Belgian Brune. Complex and multilayered with hints of all the aromas on the nose. There was also the addition of biscuit, nuttiness and a little bit of bitterness on the finish. The beer is perfectly balanced between complexity and flavour. It’s not your massive Trappist beer, but it doesn’t lack for flavour.

It’s really hard to even notice any hint of alcohol, until you’ve stood up and it goes straight to your head. The mouthfeel is medium, and almost creamy, although nowhere near Guinness. A great representation of a dubbel.

Bought for €2.90 from some Belgian festival

JG

30

Aug

Flying Dog Raging Bitch Imperial Porter

Leaving Madrid for Lisbon was like a breath of fresh air. It was great to be back on the coast, away from the heat, in a city that very much like home; laid back and relaxed. YM and I have been speaking extensively of how much we love Spain and Portugal, save for the beers. The Raging Bitch was a great reminder of what’s available in Europe from the US, and that we both can’t wait to get to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany and get stuck into some better beer.

Well, not that the beer is unsinkable in Spain, but it’s just not to our tastes. To have a Flying Dog to break up the blandness of beers was awesome. Sometimes, you just crave something to remind you of better times, like a shining light at the end of a tunnel. The smokiness of the flavour, coupled with the coffee and chocolate notes and the balanced alcohol was just superb.

I remember seeing a lot of reviews of the Raging Bitch before we left for our Europe trip, and to see it available was a great surprise. We’ve tried many regional beers in Spain now, from Estrella, to Cruzcampo, Moritz to Alhambra. Besides the craft beers, the other stuff is great for warm weather when you need to quench your thirst, and a water will not suffice.

The nose of the Raging Bitch was awesome, loads and loads of coffee and cocoa, with a hint of bitterness that would slightly wet your palate, forcing you to keep going, to get another hit of that amazing flavour bouquet.

This then, can be likened to jumping into a refreshing pool on a hot day, with loads of eye candy surrounding, to keep you interested in the surroundings.

Bought for €2.95 from La Boutique de la Cerveza

JG

Flying Dog Raging Bitch Imperial Porter

Leaving Madrid for Lisbon was like a breath of fresh air. It was great to be back on the coast, away from the heat, in a city that very much like home; laid back and relaxed. YM and I have been speaking extensively of how much we love Spain and Portugal, save for the beers. The Raging Bitch was a great reminder of what’s available in Europe from the US, and that we both can’t wait to get to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany and get stuck into some better beer.

Well, not that the beer is unsinkable in Spain, but it’s just not to our tastes. To have a Flying Dog to break up the blandness of beers was awesome. Sometimes, you just crave something to remind you of better times, like a shining light at the end of a tunnel. The smokiness of the flavour, coupled with the coffee and chocolate notes and the balanced alcohol was just superb.

I remember seeing a lot of reviews of the Raging Bitch before we left for our Europe trip, and to see it available was a great surprise. We’ve tried many regional beers in Spain now, from Estrella, to Cruzcampo, Moritz to Alhambra. Besides the craft beers, the other stuff is great for warm weather when you need to quench your thirst, and a water will not suffice.

The nose of the Raging Bitch was awesome, loads and loads of coffee and cocoa, with a hint of bitterness that would slightly wet your palate, forcing you to keep going, to get another hit of that amazing flavour bouquet.

This then, can be likened to jumping into a refreshing pool on a hot day, with loads of eye candy surrounding, to keep you interested in the surroundings.

Bought for €2.95 from La Boutique de la Cerveza

JG

21

Aug

Cervesa Del Montseny Negra

The last of our Spanish craft beers, this one comes from a relatively new brewery located in the Montseny area, formed only in 2007. The website, ccm.cat tells of a story where a group of friends, sick of drinking the local Spanish beers decided to get together and open up a brewery that produced beers they wanted to drink, and what they hoped others would like too. Their current line up has 7 to choose from, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the Negra, at the little craft beer shop in San Sebastian I have been raving on about for the last few beers or so.

There is some interesting content on their website, especially the page dedicated to beer as a health drink. I’m not too sure what medical advice they are receiving, but I’m quite sure US, UK, or Australian doctors would not be recommending beer to younger people to help reduce obesity, or even to the elderly to help with hydration. I’m quite certain they would recommend water instead. Whatever the case, it would be great to try the other beers they produce, so if I find any more, I’ll be sure to snap them up.

While the weather may not have been perfect for the beer, as it was scorching outside in Lisbon, it was a pleasant experience, that helped me understand a little bit more about the Spanish culture, and their taste preferences too. The beer smelt great, just like an Irish stout, as it is designed to. There is heaps of roasted coffee, malt and an underlying cocoa backbone, that makes it smell a bit on the sweeter side, but pleasant nonetheless.

To taste, the Negra gives off the impression that it’s a mix between a stout and a lager, or just a very sweet stout. Essentially, the stout characteristics are there, but there’s something else too, that gives the beer a slightly strange aftertaste, that some would not find pleasant.

Needless to say, it was refreshing, and though the flavours weren’t quite there yet, its an impressive beer for a brewery that has only been in operation for 5 years. Keep up the good work lads!

Bought for €2.10 from La Boutique de la Cerveza.

JG

Cervesa Del Montseny Negra

The last of our Spanish craft beers, this one comes from a relatively new brewery located in the Montseny area, formed only in 2007. The website, ccm.cat tells of a story where a group of friends, sick of drinking the local Spanish beers decided to get together and open up a brewery that produced beers they wanted to drink, and what they hoped others would like too. Their current line up has 7 to choose from, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the Negra, at the little craft beer shop in San Sebastian I have been raving on about for the last few beers or so.

There is some interesting content on their website, especially the page dedicated to beer as a health drink. I’m not too sure what medical advice they are receiving, but I’m quite sure US, UK, or Australian doctors would not be recommending beer to younger people to help reduce obesity, or even to the elderly to help with hydration. I’m quite certain they would recommend water instead. Whatever the case, it would be great to try the other beers they produce, so if I find any more, I’ll be sure to snap them up.

While the weather may not have been perfect for the beer, as it was scorching outside in Lisbon, it was a pleasant experience, that helped me understand a little bit more about the Spanish culture, and their taste preferences too. The beer smelt great, just like an Irish stout, as it is designed to. There is heaps of roasted coffee, malt and an underlying cocoa backbone, that makes it smell a bit on the sweeter side, but pleasant nonetheless.

To taste, the Negra gives off the impression that it’s a mix between a stout and a lager, or just a very sweet stout. Essentially, the stout characteristics are there, but there’s something else too, that gives the beer a slightly strange aftertaste, that some would not find pleasant.

Needless to say, it was refreshing, and though the flavours weren’t quite there yet, its an impressive beer for a brewery that has only been in operation for 5 years. Keep up the good work lads!

Bought for €2.10 from La Boutique de la Cerveza.

JG

19

Aug

Rosita Negra

After having a long break from beer during our time in Spain, we took an overnight train to Lisbon arriving just after 7am last Sunday morning. Portugal, as most of you my be aware of is famous for their port wine. Its so cheap too! On our first day, we bought a bottle of late vintage port for €10, which was awesome. There even happened to be vintage wine from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s that were all less than €10 a bottle.

It was great to finally get back into beer the next night, after a long day at the beach. We still had a few Spanish craft beers left over from our haul in San Sebastian, and whilst cooking dinner with a few new friends, we decided to open up some beers and share them around.

The history of Rosita started in Tarragona, a small Spanish town, just south of Barcelona. The history of the name stems from the name of the daughter born to Jaume and Nuria, and whilst this brewery has been around for some time now, they are now starting to branch out into craft beer, which is great if you live in Spain, because it is really hard to find any decent beer.

The Rosita Negra tastes like a watered down porter. There is a hint of coffee and chocolate, as well as a bit of smokiness that lingers after every sip. It’s a shame that there just isn’t enough roasted malt, and the beer tastes too watery as well. It smells really tasty, and I fear that this aided in my initial thoughts of “oh my god, a good Spanish craft beer”. Sadly, it was not the case. I think we shall have to keep experimenting with the beers until we find something decent.

Bought from La Boutique de la Cerveza for €2.45

JG

Rosita Negra

After having a long break from beer during our time in Spain, we took an overnight train to Lisbon arriving just after 7am last Sunday morning. Portugal, as most of you my be aware of is famous for their port wine. Its so cheap too! On our first day, we bought a bottle of late vintage port for €10, which was awesome. There even happened to be vintage wine from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s that were all less than €10 a bottle.

It was great to finally get back into beer the next night, after a long day at the beach. We still had a few Spanish craft beers left over from our haul in San Sebastian, and whilst cooking dinner with a few new friends, we decided to open up some beers and share them around.

The history of Rosita started in Tarragona, a small Spanish town, just south of Barcelona. The history of the name stems from the name of the daughter born to Jaume and Nuria, and whilst this brewery has been around for some time now, they are now starting to branch out into craft beer, which is great if you live in Spain, because it is really hard to find any decent beer.

The Rosita Negra tastes like a watered down porter. There is a hint of coffee and chocolate, as well as a bit of smokiness that lingers after every sip. It’s a shame that there just isn’t enough roasted malt, and the beer tastes too watery as well. It smells really tasty, and I fear that this aided in my initial thoughts of “oh my god, a good Spanish craft beer”. Sadly, it was not the case. I think we shall have to keep experimenting with the beers until we find something decent.

Bought from La Boutique de la Cerveza for €2.45

JG

31

Jul

Brewdog Libertine Black Ale

Brewdog Edinburgh brings back great memories of an awesome city. I was so sad to say goodbye to Edinburgh, and I wish we were there for longer, but knowing how awesome it really is makes me even more excited about returning in the future. This was our first Brewdog pub, and after missing out in London, we felt that we had to venture out to the original pub.

The selection is awesome, and if you’re beer geeks like us, it will most certainly make you froth at the mouth. Now that we are in France, I’ve been really disappointed with the selection available. I know we are in the tourist areas, but even venturing out into some suburbs, all we’ve come across is Kronenbourg, Heineken, and the other usuals one would expect in Europe.

Writing this post then brings back a warm feeling inside, and the Libertine Black Ale did not disappoint. It was a great black IPA, and has great hop flavours that are superbly blended with roasted malt and coffee. The head is slightly off white, and very thin, and the beer smells of (Simcoe) hops which I’ve found out after a bit of research.

The taste is only a touch stouty with huge hoppy flavours, which are directly from the use of the single Simcoe hop variety. The dark, roast flavours come in at the end, and give the beer a perfect roasty bitter kick. It’s almost like a Punk IPA on steroids, but obviously with a roast malt backbone.

This is a great example of a black IPA, and while it is no Pepperberry IPA, it’s really quite awesome. Bought for £4 for a 2/3 pint.

JG

26

Jul

The Kernel Brewery Export India Porter

We’ve only been in the South of France for just over a day, and already I can tell you that the beer selection here is absolute rubbish. Of the numerous liquor shops and supermarkets we’ve walked into, their beer selection consists of the usual suspects that can be found worldwide, as well as the odd Delerium or Chimay (if you’re lucky).

On the other hand, the selection of French wine is absolutely awesome. Last night we managed to pick up a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux cab Sauvignon for €4.25 which is insanely cheap.

I think the point I’m trying to get at here is to go with the flow, and do as the French do. Therefore, in the next few weeks, as we move more into wine territory, I will use this time to reduce the size of the backlog of beers we’ve had the pleasure of trying throughout the UK.

I really wanted to write this up whilst we were in the UK, but due to the consistent travelling, it was hard to find time to just sit, chill out and relax. Now that we are in Nice, I have plenty of relaxation time. This is the second Kernel beer that I’ve tried, and wow, are they awesome. I think I would almost be hard pressed to find one I didn’t like. Sadly they aren’t as widely available as I would have liked, but hopefully they’ll be available in Australia in the near future.

The Export India Porter pours a really dark brown almost black colour, with a thin light brown head. It smells almost like a black IPA, as there are huge hop flavours, with notes of chocolate, coffee and cocoa.

The taste is even more fantastic, as there is a decent amount of bitterness at the front, followed by a gorgeous smoothness of the porter, ending on bitter coffee notes that hold the flavour of the beer so well, and in this way, it is a really unique porter. It has all what one would expect along with more, and because of this, I will forever remember this porter as being unbelievably awesome, a close second to my all time favourite porter, the Mikkeller Black Hole Barrell Aged Porter.

I paid approx £5.20 from the York Tap

JG

The Kernel Brewery Export India Porter

We’ve only been in the South of France for just over a day, and already I can tell you that the beer selection here is absolute rubbish. Of the numerous liquor shops and supermarkets we’ve walked into, their beer selection consists of the usual suspects that can be found worldwide, as well as the odd Delerium or Chimay (if you’re lucky).

On the other hand, the selection of French wine is absolutely awesome. Last night we managed to pick up a bottle of 2010 Bordeaux cab Sauvignon for €4.25 which is insanely cheap.

I think the point I’m trying to get at here is to go with the flow, and do as the French do. Therefore, in the next few weeks, as we move more into wine territory, I will use this time to reduce the size of the backlog of beers we’ve had the pleasure of trying throughout the UK.

I really wanted to write this up whilst we were in the UK, but due to the consistent travelling, it was hard to find time to just sit, chill out and relax. Now that we are in Nice, I have plenty of relaxation time. This is the second Kernel beer that I’ve tried, and wow, are they awesome. I think I would almost be hard pressed to find one I didn’t like. Sadly they aren’t as widely available as I would have liked, but hopefully they’ll be available in Australia in the near future.

The Export India Porter pours a really dark brown almost black colour, with a thin light brown head. It smells almost like a black IPA, as there are huge hop flavours, with notes of chocolate, coffee and cocoa.

The taste is even more fantastic, as there is a decent amount of bitterness at the front, followed by a gorgeous smoothness of the porter, ending on bitter coffee notes that hold the flavour of the beer so well, and in this way, it is a really unique porter. It has all what one would expect along with more, and because of this, I will forever remember this porter as being unbelievably awesome, a close second to my all time favourite porter, the Mikkeller Black Hole Barrell Aged Porter.

I paid approx £5.20 from the York Tap

JG