From Les Brasseurs De Gayant (Saint-Omer) comes an Abbey beer: Gayant La Goudale at 6.0%. Uncorking gives a fruity aromatic not unlike warm brown sugar and the pour is a wonderful golden and amber. Mouthfeel is decent, with carbonation that dissipates quickly in the mouth, the taste is surprisingly sweet with an accompanying mellow hop aroma, (a relatively unpronounced hop profile compared to other belgian beers). This beer finishes off with a mildly warming aftertaste. Head generation is initially foamy and then drops into a thin skim. Not an amazing blonde, but quite quaffable.
From the Northern Monk Brewery comes Eternal Session IPA at 4.1%Nice slightly sweet citrus aroma on de-canning. Wonderful texture and mouthfeel to the beer. A perfectly adequate sparkle for this style. Very refreshing and more some. Not much head retention and aftertaste is pith like bitter with oodles of grapefruit. An excellent session IPA. The finish is long and lingering in bitterness. Bought a whole load of these from www.maisondubiere.com for the holidays.
From the Brouwerij Van Steenberge comes St. Stefanus Blonde at 7.5%. De-capping gives a slight floral aroma with bready yeasty hints. Head retention and appearance is good, however the beer is unremarkable in flavour with a high carbonation and prickle to the tongue. A bit watery on the mouthfeel side of things and not my favourite blonde, but a half decent example all the same.
From the Flying Dog Brewery comes Tropical Bitch Belgian Style IPA at 8.0%. A decent aromatic ale on de-capping with a good dose of american aroma hops with a hint of spiced yeast. Fruity aftertaste, good doses of deep citrus and malt. Alcohol is well hidden initially with a boozy aftertaste. Carbonation is low for the style, contributing to the mouthfeel somewhat. Thick and full bodied, but missing that ‘sparkle’ for a Belgian. Thin head retention, deep amber appearance. Hoppy particle presence in the appearance. Flavours constantly fight for through the beer. bitterness, citrus and spice all play a part and fight in this battle for dominance. Such a hard style to get right. Hops or yeast? bitterness or light?. overall a pretty intense flavour profile. Very good niche beer that I found nice.
From Van Eecke comes Poperings Hommelbier at 7.5%. De-capping gives a lovely carbonation ‘hiss’ The aroma is nice and fragrant with the usual Belgian style Kent Goldings-ish & saaz like aroma. A real flavour bomb, lots of yeasty fruitiness going on followed by a hint of alcohol presence afterwards. The yeast adds a slightly spicy finish and the hops add little bitterness. Deep amber in appearance with a moderate malty presence. High carbonation and absolutely gorgeous. My ‘normal’ default drinking beer on my Belgium visits.
From the Beavertown Brewery in London comes Beavertown x Boneyard – Power of the Voodoo Triple IPA at 10.0%. De-capping gives a strong aroma of stewed apples, strong citrus and spice. Hazy appearance in general. the taste is almost medicinal, reinforced by an almost belgian spice like quality to the aftertaste. Quite malty and cloying hop resinous permeates this special brew. The alcohol is pretty well hidden. The head is pretty non existent but this is a wonderful brew. Perhaps a bit old for a triple IPA brew. Just plain wonderful.