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St. Feuillien Triple (388 of 1001)

July 14, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.35

A first beer from the St. Feuillien brewery for me now, a brewery that only opened in 1988 by the same family that owned the Friart brewery that closed eleven years previous. This one is a beer first brewed in 1998 and unlike other beers from St. Feuillien, this one is not contract brewed at Brasserie Du Bocq but made in Le Rœulx at the brewery. This one is a beer that takes inspiration for Westmalle Tripel, a beer that I’m a big fan of, so I’m hoping for big things from this beer.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a light and bright golden straw colour, the body is very slightly hazy too and the beer is topped with a foamy white head that sits just over a centimetre tall and looks quite creamy on the surface whilst sitting with very good head retention given the strength of the beer.
Aroma (8/10): Floral and fresh in the early going, the beer had a subtle sweetness to it from a nice banana aroma and touches of lemon in there as well. Around the middle some spices and faint citrus start to come through as well as light clove following on behind. There’s some grain and a little alcohol showing on top of the herbs and light malts to round off what was a light and zesty beer.
Taste (9/10): Following on well from the nose, the beer was floral and zesty with some banana, cloves and grassy flavours coming through with some faint coriander and Belgian yeast coming through as well. There’s a few nice hops and touches of malt, mainly bread malts, coming through from the middle on as well before some alcohol grain nearer the end. It didn’t seem the most complex Belgian triple out there but it was an excellent tasting one with pepper, apples and pear coming through at points too; great stuff.
Palate (5/5): Medium bodied but still seeming quite light and floral with a zesty, dry feel that was quite sharp and very strongly carbonated. The beer was fresh and tangy with a great balance and some nice sweetness, mainly from the banana at the start and it was seen out by a very nice warming alcohol feel that was a great way to finish things.

Overall (17/20): This one was a very nice triple with a pleasant sweetness in the early going from the banana before some nice floral flavours and spices started to come through alongside some nice yeast and touches of alcohol. It was very well balanced and quite easy to drink despite the strength with some bread and pale malts with a little apple and pear in there too. Perhaps not a beer that hits the heights of Westmalle Tripel but it’s not too far off it either and one well worth its place on the 1001 beers list too.

Brewed In: Le Rœulx, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie St. Feuillien
First Brewed: 1998
Type: Abbey Tripel
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Carrefour (Brussels)
Price: €1.52 (approx. £1.35)

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Hapkin

July 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A third beer from Brouwerij Alken-Maes now, this one follows on from their Judas and Grimbergen Ambrée offering despite the fact that the later of those two is actually brewed in France as well. This one is the last review of a beer that I managed to try in Belgium last month and leaves me with only a couple more from the country that I brought home with me left to try. The beer itself is one that was actually brewed by another brewery, Brouwerij Louwaege, between 2001 and 2007 until brewing switched to Alken-Maes. I sampled this one on my last night in Brussels before returning home when I stopped by the À la Mort Subite bar in the city after reading about it online but to be honest the beer selection wasn’t what I’d hoped for when compared to other famous Belgian bars so I settled on this one since it wasn’t a beer I’d seen or heard of before, here’s what I thought of it at the time.
Hapkin

Appearance (4/5): A light but bright golden colour, the beer is slightly hazy with a lot of fizz in the body and a large, fluffy white head that eventually settle just over a centimetre tall with a lot of lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly spicy with a lot of citrus and biscuit notes opening things up followed by some yeast and light alcohol towards the middle but nothing too strong. There was some floral hops around the middle too with a nice bite to it and some banana and apples seeing things out.
Taste (8/10): Floral and quite fresh with a lot of biscuit flavours that were a touch stronger than the nose. There was some nice yeast and light fruits further on with banana and apple both showing as well as some grapes and pears before orange flavours and some spice seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Floral and quite tangy with plenty of spice and a dry, crisp feel. The beer was relatively sharp with some alcohol showing at times and a lot of yeast at points too. It was very well-carbonated with a medium to full body and quite a fluffy feel.

Overall (16/20): Quite a nice and light beer with a fluffy feel at times but one that had strong carbonation and a sharp, crisp finish with a dryness throughout. It was well-balanced with only a touch of alcohol showing and although the nose could perhaps have been stronger there was nice apple and banana flavours coming through with some yeast and spice as well. Fresh and easy going, the beer was surprisingly good and one that I’d happily pick up again if I found it in the UK.

Brewed In: Jumet, Walloon, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Alken-Maes
First Brewed: 2001 (Brouwerij Alken-Maes since 2007)
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 8.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: À la Mort Subite, Brussels, Belgium
Price: €5.50 (approx. £4.87)

Cantillon Lambic

July 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.4

As mentioned previously when reviewing the bottle of Lindemans Faro that I tried here recently, this one is a review of my first unblended lambic and as a result it means I’ve not tried a least of of every style of beer listed on the RateBeer website after going out my way to try and find on like this in Belgium. The beer is one that I eventually found on cask at one of the Moeder Lambic bars in Brussels on my last full day in the city last month. This one is my fifth review of a Cantillon beer but only my first since trying their Blåbær Lambik when I visited Copenhagen a couple of years ago and was lucky enough to get a bottle. This one is probably not a beer I’d have opted for had it not been to complete my styles list given there was quite a few other beers from the brewery available at Moeder Lambic that I’d have went for instead but it’s definitely one I’m glad I found and here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Bright golden in colour with a clear and still body that was topped with a surprisingly fluffy looking white head sitting about a centimetre and a half tall before losing a third of that after thirty seconds or so. The head itself has a slightly bubbly texture and eventually disappeared after being left to sit for a couple of minutes.
Aroma (6/10): Quite still, almost flat on the nose but with some light citrus and sour notes starting to come through after a few seconds. The beer was definitely light at this stage with some lemon touches and orange notes but I felt it could have been a lot stronger. There was a couple of earthy touches further on but it wasn’t exactly what I’d class as an inviting nose sadly.
Taste (6/10): Opening more sour tasting than the nose suggested, the beer is earthy with some lemon and plenty funk kicking things off. It’s not an overly pronounced beer but it was strong than the nose with some white grapes and bitterness towards the middle before touches of citrus seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Softly carbonated, almost flat but not unexpected for a cask beer despite this being my first Belgian cask and first lambic on cask too. The beer was sour with an earthy tart to it and some hints of acidity as well. The balance wasn’t too bad despite it not being overly pronounced and it was a light-medium bodied beer with a dry feel as well.

Overall (12/20): Definitely an interesting beer from Cantillon, I can only assume this one is a good beer based on the reviews online but it’s definitely an acquired taste and one that I wasn’t quite ready for when I tried this one. The beer was quite light and flat with a light body as well, overall the beer was dry and earthy with a sourness throughout and quite a lot of tart flavours too. A new style that I’m glad to have tried and perhaps I’ll get to sample another like this at some point when I’m next in Belgium but I can’t imagine it’s a type of beer I’d pick up very often sadly.

Brewed In: Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
First Brewed: Brewery since 1900
Type: Lambic – Unblended
Abv: 5.0%
Serving: Cask (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €3.70 (approx. £3.28)

Kriek De Ranke (387 of 1001)

Rating: 4.2

A review of the last beer from the 1001 beers list that I managed to try over in Belgium recently, although I do still have two more reviews of beers I tried over there to add here as well as still having to try a few bottles that I brought home with me too. This one is a third review of a De Ranke beer for me now with it following on from their Guldenberg and XX Bitter offerings that I had back in 2014 but wasn’t particularly taken by. Like this one, both those beers featured on the 1001 beers list as well but thankfully this one was a beer I definitely preferred to those. I managed to try this one when I stopped by one of the Moeder Lambic on my last full day in Brussels before heading home and was pleased to see it available after previously spotting a bottle in the UK but opting not to buy it given the rather expensive price, so I’m please I got to try it eventually.

Appearance (4/5): Sitting a pinkish red in the glass with rose tinges, the beer was opaque and topped with a pinkish white head that sat about a half centimetre tall and was a little patchy towards on side of the surface.
Aroma (8/10): Quite a fruity nose with some sour notes in the early going too, it opened with a nice combination of tart and cherry with some further sweetness from the sugars towards the middle. Around the middle and towards the end there was some raspberries with a touch of bitterness and funk coming through followed by some acidity and grapes towards the end.
Taste (8/10): Definitely more sour than the nose, the beer opened with a lot of cherries and sugar on the taste buds with some strong bitterness too. It’s a lively tasting beer with a funky middle that has some orange and raspberry flavours backing it up. There wasn’t much alcohol showing at all and it seemed lighter than it was with some funk and further fruity flavours seeing things out.
Palate (5/5): Fresh and strongly carbonated, the beer was quite lively with plenty of funk and sweetness in the early going alongside a tart sourness. It was slightly more bitter than anticipated with a nice balance that hid the alcohol content and made it an easy one to drink.

Overall (16/20): Strong and lively with a lot of tart and cherry kicking things off, the beer was fresh and well-carbonated with some nice sourness in the early going too. I found the beer to be slightly more bitter than expected with the taste but it remained balanced with a nice fruity twist soon after with raspberries, some orange and more cherries featuring alongside a sugar sweetness; excellent stuff and one I’d happily have again.

Brewed In: Dottignies, Hainaut, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Ranke
First Brewed: 2000
Type: Lambic – Fruit
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Moeder Lambic Fontainas (Brussels)
Price: €4.90 (approx. £4.33)

Haacht Primus

Rating: 2.35

One of the few pale lagers that I tried over in Belgium now and possible the only one that I properly reviewed, this one is a beer I had one afternoon with lunch and one that I settled on given the poor choice in what was a bit of a tourist trap restaurant in truth. My first offering from the Haacht brewery but one that I spotted on a few bar signs over the course of my week in Belgium, this wasn’t a beer I was expecting much from in truth and in that sense it definitely lived up to expectations and turned out to be the worst beer I ended up trying on my trip, here’s what I thought of it at the time.

Appearance (4/5): Golden blond with a clear body and a few bubbles rising to the surface. The beer is topped with a thin, half centimetre head that was white and bubbly with a bit of lacing on the sides and a touch less coverage in the centre of the beer.
Aroma (4/10): Light and fairly cheap on the nose initially, there was some corn and faint bread malts showing but it was relatively bland and basic sadly. Around the middle the odd touch of citrus and hay came through with some basic vegetable adjuncts and a light sweetness but it wasn’t very impressive sadly.
Taste (4/10): Light corn and some vegetable adjuncts kick things off followed by a basic sweetness and some hay. Again it was a cheap and basic tasting lager with some faint hops and grassy touches but not a lot else sadly. Towards the end some earthy hops started to come through to add to the bitterness but it was definitely a basic one.
Palate (2/5): Thin and quite light, the beer was semi-sweet thanks to the corn but it was very basic too with a cheap feel and the odd bit of skunk coming through as well. It’s moderately bitter with similar carbonation levels as well but there’s not a great deal to this one really.

Overall (7/20): Quite a basic and at times cheap tasting lager than was bland for the most part with some light bitterness and grassy touches. There was touches of sweetness from some corn before a few bread malts came through along with the odd vegetable adjunct but it was a poor offering and probably the worst I had when in Belgium too.

Brewed In: Boortmeerbeek, Flemish Brabant, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Haacht
First Brewed: circa. 2008
Type: Pale Lager
Abv: 5.2%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Magic Rubens, Brussels, Belgium
Price: €3.00 (£2.66)

Brugge Tripel

Rating: 3.7

A second beer from Palm now this one following on from their flagship Belgian pale ale that I reviewed here a few weeks ago after also trying that one in Belgium but now is the turn of the brewery’s Brugge Tripel. I picked this one up one night in Burges before saving it and trying it later on in my holiday having felt it wrong to leave Bruges without grabbing a bottle of this one. The beer was originally brewed in Bruges by De Gouden Boom up until 2004 when production switched to Palm Breweries but the beer is apparently still known as ‘The Beer of Bruges’ despite no longer being brewed there but it was still one that I wanted to try.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a bright orange colour with a bubbly white head on top that was about a centimetre tall, the beer had good head retention and it looked quite thick and fluffy too.
Aroma (7/10): Floral and spicy in the early going with some biscuit malt and pepper showing initially, there was some earthy touches alongside hints of Belgian yeast and some light alcohol notes further on. There was some oranges and cloves nearer the end with further spice and background fruits that were dominated by an apple aroma.
Taste (7/10): Biscuit malts and spice kick things off with some strong banana and apple coming through as well. I managed to get some bread malts around the middle with a little yeast and some fruity, floral flavours around the middle as well. It seemed quite fresh and herbal with a sugar sweetness and more background fruits seeing things out.
Palate (4/5): Spicy and quite light with a fresh and summer-like feel that was sharp and came with a medium body too. The beer was strongly carbonated but well-balanced with a nice sweetness at times from the banana and sugars as well as some tangy touches further on but despite not being the most complex tripel it was still a nice one to sip away at.

Overall (14/20): Not quite as strong or complex as some of the Belgian tripels I’ve reviewed here of late but this one was quite a light and fresh version of the style with some nice banana sweetness coupled with tastes of apple and some nice bread malts too. There was a nice combination of spices, yeast and some herbal touches in there too but there’s definitely a lot better tripels out there that I’d go back to over this one in future.

Brewed In: Steenhuffel, Flemish Brabant, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Palm
First Brewed: Brewed by Palm since 2004
Type: Tripel
Abv: 8.7%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Pita Burger Snacks House (Bruges)
Price: €3.50 (approx. £3.09)

Malheur 10° (386 of 1001)

Rating: 3.75

My first beer from the De Landtsheer brewery now, this is actually one of four beers under their Malheur range that feature on the 1001 beers list with their Malheur 12, Biére Brut and Dark Brut all featuring on it too, not bad for a brewery that only opened in 1997. This particular offering is one I spotted on a couple of menus in Belgium starting on day one at the Delirium Café in Brussels but I ended up waiting the best part of a week before finally trying it in Antwerp at Paters Vaetje. The beer is my 386 from the 1001 list thanks in no small part to the amount of new ones I managed to try in Belgium and luckily I still have another three from the list to go, one that I tried in Belgium and another two bottles that I brought home with me and have yet to try.

Appearance (4/5): Light yellow to amber in colour with a slightly cloudy body and a thin, foamy white head on top that was white and sat about a quarter centimetre tall with some nice lacing on the sides too.
Aroma (7/10): Fruity and quite floral too, the beer was more bitter on the nose initially than is normal for a Belgian beer of this type. There was some biscuit notes and pepper bringing in the middle with some touches of sweetness thanks to hints of banana and a lively aroma that had some of the alcohol showing towards the end.
Taste (7/10): This one was quite a fresh and bitter beer with some nice orange and citrus flavours opening things alongside a few floral hops. This was followed by some biscuit malts and touches of pepper and spice with a semi-sweetness from background fruits that included some bananas, apples and pears/ Towards the end there was a taste of bread with a couple of subtle, earthy hops rounding things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and well carbonated without being overdone, the beer was lively and quite fresh with a strong bitterness from the start and a smooth, dry feel towards the end. There was a faint citrus tang and some spices too but overall the balance was a good one and it was easy to drink too.

Overall (15/20): Quite a fresh and floral beer with a nice balance and good bitterness but it was a little lighter tasting than expected given the alcohol content. It opened with some nice citrus touches and a fruity sweetness from a touch of banana with apples and pear backing it up. It was definitely a well carbonated beer with a nice tang and touches of alcohol towards the end without it being an overly complex offering.

Brewed In: Buggenhout, East Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij De Landtsheer
First Brewed: 1999
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Paters Vaetje, Antwerp, Belgium
Price: €4.20 (approx. £3.71)