Belgium Beer Tasting with Jonathan

March 30, 2017 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Crystal City Wine Shop
220 20th St S
Arlington, VA 22202

What’s the fuss about Belgium beer? I mean, we have a great local craft beer scene and that doesn’t even start to put a dent into all of the great beer that comes from the Northeast or the West coast. So, why should you care about a small country with just a few breweries … there are more breweries in the state of Oregon than in Belgium, which only has 195 breweries, 93 beer firms and 5 gueuzeries.

Well, there is an argument to be made that it is the best country in the world for beer because it has the most diversity of original beer styles and it has an unrivaled brewing heritage that is deeply embedded in towns and villages across the country. Even Belgium’s newer breweries show off their talents by respecting tradition and marrying it with modern innovations to create cool beers. In today’s tasting, we are staying pretty traditional, but that doesn’t mean they are tasty!

The Beers:

  • Brasserie du Bocq Blanche de Namur: “Named for Princess Blanche of Namur, born in the area in 1320 and later married King Magnus IV of Norway, this is a traditional wit that offers upfront aromas and flavors of orange peel, lemony hop, underripe stone fruit and yeasty spice. It’s faint golden-yellow in color, with a cloud-like white head that shows good retention. The palate is smooth and approachable, with a medium-minus body and brisk, lifting carbonation that keeps it clean and refreshing. Subtle hints of coriander, clove and earthy, softly mentholated herbs tease on the finish.” Great value for a very traditional Belgium witbier! 4.5% ABV
  • Val-Dieu Brown: The beers brewed today at the Cistercian Abbey “Notre Dame du Val-Dieu” (founded in 1216) find their origin in traditions inherited from the original Val-Dieu monks. Brewing was undertaken to make water drinkable and avoid disease. Thus, the secrets of the brewery are its water and its yeast. For centuries, the monks studied yeasts and fermentation. They turned brewing into a science. Yeast is treasured in the abbey and they propagate their own strains. Today, beers brewed in Val-Dieu are inspired from the original recipes of the monks, loyal to the tradition of beers refermentation in the bottle. The beers are real original Belgian abbey beers, elaborated without the addition of flavorings nor spices and brewed according to the old infusion method. The Brown is a darker colored beer with pronounced coffee and mocha character. The mocha gives way to roasted malt with slight spice. 8% ABV
  • St. Bernardus Prior 8: The history of this brewery is connected to two trappist monasteries, one that gave the brewery its name and the other that gave it its beer. The beer came from the trappist monastery St. Sixtus in Westvleteren who were looking for someone to commercialize their beer and found the cheese factory of the trappist monks of St Bernard. So, shortly after the World War Two, the Brewery of St. Bernard was founded and beers under the Westvletern name were brewed. In 1992, the license ended but beers are stilled brewed with the same recipes and yeast, but under a new name. This is a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic “Dubbel” style of Belgium’s Best Abbey Ales. It has a ruby to purple color, smooth, creamy richness of texture that is almost oily, and a malt-fruit complexity reminiscent of coconut. It finds the perfect balance between sweet, bitter and malty tastes. One of the original recipes from the days of license-brewing for the Trappist monks of Westvleteren. 8% ABV
  • Watou Tripel: Also from the Brewery St. Bernard, which is located in a remote corner of West Flanders that is the heart of the hop area. It is a brewery that grows their own hops and has a strong connection to nature, tradition, and the values of their community. The Watou Tripel is a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic trappist style. This golden pale ale is mellow-sweet with lightly perfumed aromas and some spicy yeast notes. Rich and fruity with a soft mouth feel. 7.0% ABV
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