Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 8 | Flavor - 7 | Texture - 8 | Overall - 8
New variation on Brouwbar’s strong blondes (after B17 in 2018 and SB32 in 2019), this time dry-hopped with Mosaic. Thick, snow white, cobweb-lacing, slowly opening, irregularly edged head on a misty deep ‘old gold’ coloured beer with almost ‘rusty’ tinge. Aroma of freshly cut red apple and Conference pear, white bread dough, Poire William, banana peel, leftover dough, kiwi, minerals. Fruity, sweetish onset, halfripe banana, ripe pear and apricot, nowhere cloying though, with soft carb and full, rounded, slick body; doughy, white-bready malts, something honeyish resounding and maintaining a generally sweet impression without it becoming too much, minerally side effects, soft floral hoppiness providing a grassy end bitterness and delicate kiwi- and jasmin-like retronasal aromas (the Mosaic speaking, though softly so). A bready-yeasty touch and warming gin-like alcohol linger in the finish. Accessible to the general Belgian palate even with the inclusion of a New World hop variety, because this variety performs a supporting role here rather than dominate the main stage; deliberately simple, easygoing, slim and slender, a tad more so than the two previous strong blondes Brouwbar produced in earlier years. Enjoyable enough.
Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 8 | Flavor - 7 | Texture - 8 | Overall - 7.5
The newest Brouwbar beer to date, a strong saison, or indeed a cross between a tripel (or strong blonde in general) and a saison, bottle from Brouwbar shared with Steve. Off-white, irregular, rather loose and thin, quickly dissipating head on a misty orange-blonde robe with brownish-amberish tinge. Aroma of peaches in ‘jenever’, rusk, apricot jam, cognac, red apple slices, dried orange peel, thyme, clove, dry biscuit, pear juice, subtle earthy hints of sawdust, bitter garden weeds and beetroot juice. Sweet onset, cleanly and slenderly fruity, red apple, ripe pear and apricot with a dash of fresh fig, slight sourish undertone, soft carbonation gracing a supple, slender body, definitely feeling lighter than the ABV would suggest; supple rusk- and bit dry cookie-like maltiness, very slight toasty edge, carrying mild phenolic notes (thyme, clove) as well as a florally aromatic hoppiness – providing less bitterness than, in the end, very pronounced, heating, brandy-like alcohol, making for an astringent effect in the finish. Elegantly sweetish, lean, supple and elegantly aromatized, typical Brouwbar house style in most aspects – but unfortunately the alcohol is not well hidden and for me too obtrusive in both nose and mouth; I think a ‘thicker’, more dense malt profile, paired with a more vivid carbonation, could do this beer well. I do think it will improve with age, though – no doubt I had this too young, curious as I was to taste it…
Appearance - 7 | Aroma - 8 | Flavor - 7 | Texture - 7 | Overall - 8.5
One of several new Brouwbar beers, a sour saison. Off-white, thick but uneven-bubbled and slowly breaking head on a cloudy peach blonde beer with somewhat bronze-ish tinge. Aroma of overripe pineapple, pear juice, dried flowers, soggy rusk, apple peel, dust, a whiff of strawberry, yoghurt, clove, bread crust, violets. Sweetish fruity onset but in a clean and slender way, hints of pear, pineapple and strawberry with a distant hint at guava, and indeed a refreshing, light and elegant sourish streak running throughout, gently lactic, reminiscent of sour berries but remaining subtle and mild, always subordinate to a sweeter main flavour; supple, medium carbonated mouthfeel – carbonation actually being on the soft side for a farmhouse ale. Soggy rusk- and bread-like malt body, graced by phenolic spicy accents towards the end (clove) and a soft, floral, slightly tropical-fruity hoppiness which provides only very light end bitterness; the sourish element as well as some breadiness linger in the end. Light-footed, almost ‘feminine’ summery little beer, graceful and easygoing, with all the parameters remaining light and ‘soft’: softly carbonated, softly sour and softly hop bitter, perhaps a bit too softly so in all those three aspects. I do get the general idea of creating a simple yet elegant quencher, though, and in that sense this brew qualifies.
Appearance - 9 | Aroma - 8 | Flavor - 7.5 | Texture - 8 | Overall - 8.5
The fifth session IPA (not counting their first "session ale" SA12) created by Brouwbar, the brewpub in Ghent's old Patershol quarter. Sold during the lockdown period linked to the coronavirus pandemic - thanks Steve for getting me a bottle straight from Brouwbar. Snow white, medium sized, mousy, slowly dissipating, shred-lacing head on a misty warm 'old gold' coloured beer with somewhat greenish edges, turning a bit deeper and becoming a cloudy apricot blonde with sediment. Aroma of dried lemon peel, bread crust, toasted pumpkin seeds, grapefruit pith, bitter green weeds, sunflower seeds, dry crackers, white pepper, vague hint of dry cheese rind faraway in the background. Crisp, cleanly fruity onset, hinting at green banana and unripe peach with a touch of apricot, remaining very subdued in sweetness; medium carb, just about right for the intended style but adding minerally effects nonetheless. Dry cracker-like, cereally body, slender but by no means thin, evolving into a grassy and leafy hop bitter finish with aspects of dried orange peel and grapefruit pith, but remaining mostly focused on drying bitterness and much less on retronasal aromatics (contrary to most of its predecessors); long, peppery bitterness in the end, but still with a very light juicy accent. Hoppy golden ale (even in the English sense of the word) more than a 'true' ISA, more focused on bitterness than on New World aromatics in the hop department, but very quenching and refreshing on a hot spring day - which is the ultimate function of a beer like this, I suppose. Enjoyed it, cheers Benjamin!
Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 8.5 | Flavor - 8 | Texture - 9 | Overall - 8.5
The newest fruit addition to Verzet's 'oud bruin' range, now with peaches - a 'pêche', so to speak. Medium sized, relatively dense, membrane-lacing, pale yellowish beige, small-bubbled, slowly receding but generally very stable head on a deep ruddy-coppery, 'pale' brown beer with dark amber hue. Aroma is exactly what you can expect: lots of Verzet character and lots of sweet fruit contrasting with each other, impressions of indeed ripe (even partially overripe) peaches and very clearly so, sharp redcurrant berries, green plums, 'rotten' medlar, red wine vinegar, soggy brown bread, wet wood - even old furniture and a lot of it, dusty attic, caramel, old almonds, damp earth. Crisp, puckering sour onset yet less vinegary and stingy than some of their other oud bruin variants, probably the sheer juicy sweetness of the peaches softening it a bit - as this fleshy peach character is very prominent, flanked by aspects of unripe plum, redcurrant, wild apple and sour grape; finely yet fiercely tingling fizz, supple, smooth body. Deep 'caramelly' malt core, even distantly sweet, with a brown-bready softness around it, sweetened by the peach but at the same time also severely dried by the lactic and still very slightly vinegary sourness, unripe stonefruit and sour berry effects - with the dry sourness accentuated eventually by tannic (as well as peach kernel-derived) woodiness lending a rustic, noble aspect to an otherwise vividly fruity, complex, funky finish, where earthy and wet-leafy hop notes collide with the ongoing juicy sweetness of the peaches, adorned with 'wild' accents and tannins. Complex, multifaceted sour ale, the long-lasting tension between the unctuous sweetness of the peaches and the bone dry and sour character of the wood-aged beer is eventually resolved in a soothing, long finish, contrary to what I was expecting at the first sip. This could well be the most balanced and most elegant of Verzet's fruited 'oud bruin' beers so far, for me at least - better than expected even.
Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 7.5 | Flavor - 8 | Texture - 10 | Overall - 7.5
Imperial stout from this trusted Swedish brewery, flavoured with vanilla beans and bitter almonds. Can from Beergium shared with Goedele, her daughters and her daughters’ boyfriends… Greyish mocha-beige, irregularly lacing, medium thick, small-bubbled and creamy but opening head, black robe with hazy burgundy edges. Aroma of black coffee and old coffee filters, toasted walnuts, whisky, cigar ashes, bitter chocolate, black olives, dry beef stock cubes, vanilla remaining very faint as well as almond, bayleaf, molasses, dust, old dried cinnamon. Dryish onset, lightly sweetish dried fig and dried blackberry aspects, porcini-like umami, softish fizz, very full and oily, even bit viscous mouthfeel; old-walnutty, toasted brown-bready and bitter-chocolatey layers of mouth-filling maltiness, bittersweet with in this case more emphasis on bitterness than sweetness – turning roasty and coffeeish quite quickly, even a tad ashy in the end; I assume the bitterness is also partially due to the bitter almonds used here but I cannot say that the beer actually tastes very almond-like. Bayleaf, black peppercorns and slight liquorice effects in the finish – whereas the promised vanilla remains very faint, probably faded by age at this point. Warming whisky-like alcohol in the finish, quite considerably at this ABV, but the big and layered bittersweet maltiness manages to absorb most of the heat – so even if the alcohol is noticeable enough, it behaves elegantly and does not disturb me at all. Roasty, bit ashy, boozy old school imperial stout – I love the style, and this one pleasantly surprised me in not being as sweet as is so often the case in heavy stouts nowadays, but I also missed the vanilla, which had clearly faded by age.
Appearance - 8 | Aroma - 6.5 | Flavor - 6.5 | Texture - 7 | Overall - 8
New Mareklop beer, likely a 'downtuned' version of their quadrupel of local acclaim, even if 8% ABV is still quite hefty for a dubbel. Thick, regular, dense, pillowy, plaster-lacing, yellowish beige head on a misty dark chocolate brown beer with ruby red glow. Aroma of dark brown bread, ground walnuts, hard caramel without the sweetness, nutmeg, prunes, iron (unfortunately very strong - and unambiguously confirmed by the 'hand test'), dried fig, old raisinbread, pear, soapy coriander seed, Ersatz chocolate ('koetjesreep'), cooked apple, faint hints of blood pudding, clove, dry tree leaves, dried thyme, old tea bags. Sweetish onset with a sourish undertone, fruity hints of pear, fig and plum but relatively subdued, some banana, medium carb (just a little bit softer than average for a dubbel, I suppose), full and smooth mouthfeel. Ersatz-chocolatey, lightly toasted walnutty and brown-bready malts, filling the mouth cavity and remaining very true to the dubbel standard (Westmalle and the like); slight touch of dull coriander seed spiciness towards the end, a toasty-bitterish malt accent and - again, unfortunately - a clear 'zing' of iron. Herbal, mildly bittering but effective hoppiness in the tail, iron and toasty maltiness lingering, whilst getting the company of quite outspoken phenolic activity (clove, nutmeg, even a vague touch of thyme). I think I get the idea here: creating a lighter version of the Mareklop Quadrupel, logically calling it a dubbel - and making it a bit drier at the same time; this is a perfectly legit idea and the whole feels well thought out (even if I would personally have lowered the ABV a bit further to 6-7%), but then I wonder why it tastes so metallic? Maybe De Poes was not the best choice to have this brewed, as that metallic aspect is present in Poes' own beer as well sometimes and I am left with a feeling that this is something of a missed opportunity - ignoring the fact that you have already impressed with a quad and are now creating something 'below' that level. Generally speaking: this does feel (and look) like a very, very typical dubbel - I might even recommend using this one to teach people about the style rather than Westmalle Dubbel or Chimay Rouge - but the metallic effect needs to be addressed if this beer wants to shine in its respective category the same way the Mareklop Quadrupel shines in the old quad category.