I love Belgian beers. Obviously. One of those things on my life list? Visit Belgium. What a post that shall be....So I am thrilled whenever breweries here in the grand ole US of A produce fine Belgian-style ales. I give a little internal "Yipee!" So, it is with greatest pleasure that I give you these Belgian-inspired ales from three fantastic breweries....
BEER & BREWERY #97
Jolly Pumpkin Luciernaga "The Firefly", 6.5% ABV: I truly enjoyed this beer. But truthfully, I can't remember not liking a Jolly Pumpkin beer. They call to my palate. Vibrant nose of fresh squeezed citrus (grapefruit, orange) and peel. On the palate, hay, dried grass and herbs, white pepper, stable, and earth. Strange as this may sound, I am instantly transported back to the kitchen of Ann Quatrano, master chef and owner of Bacchanalia and Floataway Cafe in Atlanta. She always had an array of truffles, fresh farm fruits and vegetables, and herbs galore. Perhaps some of the most flavorful and honest food I have ever tasted came from that kitchen. You gotta see this insane menu. (Just CLICK HERE) This beer smelled and tasted just as real. And more than anything, that's what I like about it. I am a huge fan.
Guess who's going to one of my favorite Craft breweries tomorrow?!?! Look for a Brewery feature soon!!
BEER & BREWERY #96
New Glarus R & D Gueuze, 6.2% ABV: The bugs used in this beer came from both the New Glarus culture collection and those collected by Brewmaster Dan himself (Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, Acetobacter). The beer then spent the 2009 summer outdoors aging in oak barrels.
Alot of wine and oak barrel aromas here. I feel like I'm sticking my nose in a glass of 10 year (or more!) old wine standing in a barrel room of a winery. I'd be curious to know if this is American oak. It seems Old World in style, meaning it's not possessive of overbearing vanilla aromas and flavors, often found in American oak. Very interesting. Citrus, light honey. Sour nuttiness on the palate.
One of the longest lines at the Great American Beer Festival? New Glarus. People clamored and waited in line endlessly for a samples of their exclusive beers. And seeing as you can only buy New Glarus in Wisconsin, there aren't a plethora of opportunities to taste!
New Glarus was started in 1993 by husband and wife team, Dan and Deborah Carey. Dan has an impressive background, including the role of valedictorian in 1987 at Siebel Institute, an apprenticeship in Munich, 2003 Small Brewer of the Year, and up to Mid-Size Brewer of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from the Association of Brewers. Deborah is the Wonder Woman, starting her first business at 16, and acting as both President and Founder of New Glarus. I look forward to meeting this incredible couple someday. My admiration is great!
STAY TUNED for a New Glarus tasting review, including the Raspberry Tart, Belgian Red, and Bourbon Barrel Kriek.
BEER & BREWERY #95
Goose Island Matilda, 7% ABV: One of my favorites from Goose Island. But you all know how much I LOVE Brett. Wonderful notes of yeast, hay, pepper, spice, lemon, hay, and clean stable. Check out this mouth-watering video hosted by Brewmaster Greg on the Matilda. The fantastic imagery makes you literally salivate for the beer!
I swear, I don't think Goose Island makes a bad beer. Everything from their simple 312 to their Belgian-inspired Vintage Series lineup to their Bourbon County Stout, Goose Island consistently nails it on the delicious head of craft beer. Sadly, their delightful Christmas Ale is not in production this year, due to a massive rise in production of other beers. But I will be reviewing their 2009 offering for my upcoming 12 Beers of Christmas!
First opened in 1988, Goose Island has skyrocketed in popularity in the Midwest and is now taking the country by storm. Beginning with a brewpub to allow customers to both dine and watch the brewing process, the brewery became a hit, and in 1996 they expanded and opened a second location. Now with over 50 Craft beers in rotation, Goose Island is now distributed in 18 states and Europe.
Check out this slideshow of my visit to Goose Island earlier this year!
Until next time,
Spread the Belgian love wherever you are and as always, drink Craft beer.