by Don Fick   November 8, 2009 last modified August 14, 2011

This evening's Belgian Beer Tasting was a big success. Five different beers covering the full spectrum of Belgian beer, from German-inspired lager to Trappist to a startling framboise.

Here is a list of this evenings beers in case you want to get more of a favorite style or if you missed the meeting and want to find some of the flavors here at home.

Stella Artois
We started with the most German of Belgians, Stella Artois. Popular around the world, the group agreed it was similar to other European mass market lagers, such as Heineken.  A dry, crisp beer it had a noticeably skunky smell possibly related to a long, hard journey from Louvain, Belgium.
5% ABV
Available in many supermarkets.
About $8/6 pack of 12oz bottles

A white beer with a strong spiciness provided by a secret recipe (likely coriander and citrus). This beer provoked some of the strongest reactions of love or hate. A refreshing summer drink that combines well with citrus -- add an orange slice or mix with lemonade or Fanta™. Might be good with fish and lighter summer fare.
Try American imitators Blue Moon or Shock Top for a less spicy variation.
Maybe in some supermarkets, definitely at specialty shops like Total Wine. About $8/6 pack of 12oz bottles

One of the six true Trappist ales in the world, brewed in an abbey by monks. Its earthy flavor (think old horse blanket) comes from a unique brewing process using wild yeast. A remarkably foamy head and surprising sparkle on the tongue. Later it mixed nicely with the framboise. 6.2% ABV
Available at Total Wine, $6 for a unique 11.2oz bottle. Another Trappist Ale, Chimay, is available at Harris Teeter at $10/750ml.
Wikipedia - RateBeer - Orval Website (yes, monks have websites)
Victory Golden Monkey
The American in the group. Inspired by Belgian trippel styles, this one weighed in heavy with a 9% ABV, it built a better reputation after a couple more sips. Some gentle spiciness but not nearly as strong as Hoegaarden. From Downingtown, PA
Available at Lowes Foods and other retailers.
St. Louis Framboise
If tastebud fatigue was starting to set it, Saint Lewey woke us up. A lambic infused with raspberry puree in the secondary fermenter, this one was more like a raspberry soda than a beer. Easily popular with people who don't drink beer. Some found the sweetness a little cloying but quickly learned that it mixed well with some of the drier beers. 2.8% ABV
Available at Total Wine. $10/25 oz bottle. Look for Lindeman's Framboise at Harris Teeter, $7/12 oz bottle.
That concludes our tour. We look forward to seeing everyone on the Second Thursday in September -- September 10 at 7:30pm.


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