Thursday, December 16, 2010

A couple of sour Belgians

'Twas a warm Saturday last.  Although the offer was very tempting, I declined my family's invitation to join them on the roller coasters of Luna Park. There were other things on the agenda.....

Learn How to Make Great-Tasting BeerAfter dropping them off, I went for a bit of a stroll up the hill towards North Sydney. Dropped into Dave's for a quick 5kg of pale malt and Pride of Ringwood pellets. No need for cara/crystal malt anymore, as I think the DIY approach has great merit (see recent post).  I'm thinking about an Aussie Pale, warm-fermented & fruity.

From Dave's, continued north along Miller Street, and soon found myself at Cammeray's greatest attraction (I know this all sounds rather serendipitous, but, yes, it was planned).  On warm days, the Epoque Belgian Beer Cafe opens its bifolds onto the street, giving the patron a good view of the passing trade, and a good lungfull of bus fart.

Beer and Breweries in Belgium: Stella Artois, Leffe, Kriek, Beer in Belgium, Lambic, Wheat Beer, Trappist Beer, Westvleteren BreweryBeing a warm day, and having worked up a bit of a sweat hauling my grain up the hill, I was in the mood for something crisp & refreshing. The beer that fits the bill (for those with the acquired taste) is gueuze. This for mine is the archetypal lambic beer, with a blend of old and new beers. It's not as mouth-puckeringly sour as some lambics (e.g. Cantillon), but still offers a real citrus bite, plus the wet hessian & dank funkiness that comes from the various microflora in these brews.  Outstandingly refreshing, as well as beguiling and complex. Timmermans was the brewer. I also recommend Lindemans Gueuze if you can get it.

Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium, 6th EditionConfirming a mood for sour beers, I then had a crack at Bourgogne Des Flandres Brune. This is a Flemish "Oud Bruin" ale (again from Timmermans), of which the Liefmans Goudenband is probably the best known. Although sour, it has a fair whack of fancy Belgian malts, giving it rich flavours of preserved fruits, dates, caramel, licorice.

For mine this beer alone is worth the trip to a Belgian Beer Cafe. It's not universally well received (Beer Advocate community only gives it a C), however I think it sits aross several beer styles and is drinkable on any occasion.

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