Can from JefVerstraete as part of Euro Local Swap 03/2020, thanks. Malty and hoppy aroma and taste, spicy and honey notes, medium bitter. Medium to full body, malty spicy bitter finish. Ok.
Can from Geers .Hazy golden colour, white foam. Lively carbonation. Nose of grapefruit, some mango. Taste is medium sweet, some bitterness, hoppy finish. Ok.
2 February 2020. At Brugs Bierfestival. Cheers to Anke & Pieter! Hazy dark golden, lasting, unstable, frothy, white head. Aroma of ripe mandarin, mango, grapefruit juice, pine, blood orange, wet pepper, kitchen herbs. Taste has sweetish mango & mandarin, going over bitter grapefruit, piney & earhty with spicy notes, a tad dank even, supported by biscuity-bready maltiness; sourish fruity accents in the back. Dry, earthy, peppery hoppy finish, still fruity & juicy with sweet mango & sour citrus. Medium body, oily texture, soft carbonation. Very solid, as expected from Totem. Modern, complex, yet easy to drink.
Klaas Dellaert has been brewing - usually wonderful - beers under his Totem brand for five years in a few different places, but now at last started his very own brewery just outside of the outskirts of Ghent, with this wheat IPA brewed with a kveik yeast strain being the first official 'new Totem' product. Canned - contrary to the contract-brewed Totems of the past years - with a new logo and stylized look, and this time apparently just called Kveik IPA rather than an unpronounceable name in some exotic language, this is definitely a breach of style, at least in package and presentation, probably intended to appeal to a larger (craft beer) audience. Thanks to Klaas for the can - now just over one month old. Mousy, off-white, small-bubbled, medium sized head lacing in dots and only slowly showing gaps here and there, over a misty deep orange blonde beer with amber tinge. Expressive, dank aroma with much more Simcoe than Wai-iti (one of those new generation of fruity, fragrant New Zealand hop varieties): overripe shallots, withering leek, toasted red onion, soggy biscuit, pink grapefruit, drying orange peel, cold olive oil, crushed Lampong peppercorns, moist cigarette tobacco, dried ginger, sweet paprika powder, sweet red apple hint (the kveik, presumably) and a very, very vague touch of abbey cheese in the background. Fruity onset in a cleanish way, hinting at dried peach, apricot, persimmon and a dash of lychee, sweetish with a sourish edge, softly carbonated; early 'stings' of hop bitterness are noticeable already in the onset. Soft, fluffy body, a lovely biscuity and cracker-like maltiness with an ever so slightly soapy wheat touch as well as a very mild toasty edge, but quickly superseded by a firm, leafy, peppery hop bitterness, bursting into retronasal aromas of dried grapefruit peel, toasted onion or even garlic, olive oil and a touch of sweet lychee; the bitterness becomes quite quinine-like in the end, lingering about on the root of the tongue for a long time, at the same time accentuated by the bitterish aspect of the malt bill and softened by its sweet aspect. A soft, alluring sweet apple-like fruitiness stretches throughout the finish - no doubt coming from the kveik yeast! - but the hops get to steal the show, as it ought to be in any IPA of whatever substyle. 'White IPA' is certainly not the right subcategory here and based only on the use of wheat ('kveik IPA', or kveik beer by any means, not being a beer style at all), so take that with a pinch of salt; as a whole, this beer feels more like a red IPA, if anything. I can understand the appeal of these ancient Norwegian kveik yeast strains to experimental brewers, but for the consumer considering the speed and proportionally 'extreme' temperatures at which they do their work, but usually they add only subtle fruitiness to the whole, as an extra accent on top of the hops' fruitiness - a fruitiness that does not feel so exotic at all to a Belgian palate. As with Go Kveik Yourself! by fellow Ghent brewery Dok, this is the case here too, with the malts and hops getting the starring roles - and performing a play that never gets dull. This beer is full of pizzazz and zeal, very easily drinkable while at the same time sticking to the palate - and memory. I have loved Totem's output from the start and even if the formal style of packing, naming and presenting has remarkably changed now that the company has become an independent and actual brewery, the substantive style of the beers apparently hasn't changed a bit: this is exactly what I was expecting Totem to deliver and perfectly in line with the often glorious, though admittedly not always accessible things Klaas has done before. Same Totem quality level in a different package, and I'm perfectly fine with that. A new chapter in the young history of this genius brewer - and I for one am very excited about it.
5/XII/19 - 33cl can from the brewer, shared @ home, BB: 1/XI/20 - (2019-2130)
Clear orange blond beer, small creamy irregular yellowish head, stable, adhesive, leaving some lacing in the glass. Aroma: lots of tropical fruits, mango, papaya, some caramel, orange peel, hint of oxidation. MF: ok carbon, medium body. Taste: pretty sweet start, caramel, tropical fruits, some malts, orange peel, pretty bitter. Aftertaste: some honey, bit sweet, resinous, tropical fruits, pretty bitter, dry finish.
26/VII/20 - 33cl can from Bierhalle Deconinck (Vichte), shared @ Cybu’s place, BB: 10/VI/21, canned: 10/VI/20 (2020-xxx)
Little cloudy beige blond beer, small creamy off-white head, unstable, bit adhesive. Aroma: nice, tropical fruits, pineapple, floral touch, quite some grapefruit notes. MF: ok carbon, medium body. Taste: nice bitterness, fruity, pineapple, some grapefruit, piney and resinous. Aftertaste: nice bitterness, grapefruit, resinous, tropical fruits, love it!