Congratulations to one of the best breweries out there, Lost Abbey! Four years of pushing the envelope of craft beer and challenging our merry palates at every turn. Tomme Arthur and crew consistently churn out show-stopping, taste-bud-tingling brews, and regularly bring a satisfied smile to my face. A big Cheers to them.
Saturday marked their event, in two sessions, the first of which I attended. Although this meant I missed the live music, and perhaps some incredible bottle openings, work beckoned and I actually like to attend events early. You miss the train wrecks that way. So, onto some of the wonderful offerings!
Red Poppy (Flanders Ale) 5.5% ABV: A delicious version of one of my favorite styles of Belgian ales. Made using a brown ale and sour cherries, and aged in oak barrels for 6 months, the Red Poppy is a wonderfully balanced, yet assertive sour tribute to the Flanders style.
Nice caramel, brown sugar and dried fruit notes mingled with that tell-tale sour cherry nose and palate. By comparison, more sour than the famous Duchess de Bourgogne. That's a plus for me, as sometimes Duchesse, particularly on tap, is sometimes a bit too sweet. This one hits the nail on the sour head.
Devotion (Blonde) 6.25% ABV: I thoroughly enjoy this beer every time I try it. A piquant nose of pepper and spice with zesty notes of lemon and orange peel. Grain and yeast mingle into the fold. The palate reveals its dry-hopped production with a nice, hoppy bitter finish. Drinkable and perfect for the sunshine-filled day of the Anniversary!
Framboise de Amorosa (Fruit Lambic) 7% ABV: Yes! A vibrant explosion of raspberry fruit. I don't know how long it was barrel-aged, but the raspberries are alive and kicking. A gorgeous example of the Framboise style. Present sourness on the palate.
This would be a great crossover beer for a wine drinker, particularly those who like dessert sparklers, and sweeter whites. But don't be fooled, this is no one-dimensional "sweet" fruit lambic. In fact, what I like most about this beer is it doesn't labor under intense sugary sweetness like the Lindeman's Framboise. Sheesh, I can only drink a Port serving of that beer...Amorosa is fresh, balanced and delicious. Well done Tomme!
After an abbreviated evening at work, I headed over to Blind Lady Ale House for a much needed beer and a pizza. Alas, I was too late for the vittles, but still enjoyed a few Belgians.
**AND there will be a Food Drive for San Diego Food Bank at Blind Lady May 16, that yours truly will be attending! Please come out and bring food items for the hungry! $1 per drink goes to the Food Bank! (As many of you know, Feeding America/2nd Harvest Food Bank is my primary charity throughout all of these challenges, so please donate! Either by clicking on the donate button at the bottom right, or bringing food to Blind Lady May 16, or your local chapter. Just let me know you did, so it goes in the count!)**
Urthel Saissonière (Saison) 6% ABV: A lovely, frothy cream-colored head. Definite bubblegum on nose and palate, with a dose of fruity esters. These give way as it warms to a rich nose of cake flour, herb, spice and pepper, and light yeast with a dash of vanilla. There is both a peppery and tannic finish. Would gladly drink this beer regularly.
Verhaeghe Echte Kriek (Fruit Lambic): 6.8% ABV: My revisit to this beer. Just had to be done. Rose petals, sweet and sour cherry, fresh herbs, and freshly cut bread. Mmm, you know the smell. As it warms, cherry cupcake and caramel-glazed cherries. You get the oak 1/2-2/3 into the palate, and it has a long tart-sweet finish. Another great transition beer for a sweet and sour lover. That dichotomy of a SweeTART? It's here in such a more sophisticated way, quite obviously. But you get my drift. Know someone who likes fruity red or dessert wines? Give this a go with them. And report back.