It was my birthday recently and naturally I celebrated by consuming a lot of very nice beer at various venues, with various people. We didn’t take detailed tasting notes but here are some summarised thoughts:
- Westmalle Triple is my current favourite trappist beer. I like the way it combines the interesting “horseblankety-ness” of something like Orval with a beautiful rounded malt sweetness and fruitness.
- Or maybe Rochefort 10 is my favourite? Gloopy chocolate in a goblet.
- Brugs Zot Bruin (currently on tap in the Dove) impressed with its heavy body and fruity flavour. And at 7.4% it’s a lot lighter than its impact might suggest.
- Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine doesn’t age that well, or perhaps we didn’t age it well. We’ve enjoyed it in the past, but we drank a bottle that’s been in the “cellar” for nine months, and the hops were just way too overpowering. Where did the malt go?
- Similarly, an aged bottle of Cantillon Gueuze didn’t live up to expectations. We bought it this time last year when we visited the brewery, where we sampled the Gueuze and found it fabulous. It was nice enough, but just not as special as you want from something that’s come out of a dusty old corked bottle.
- Crouch Vale Brewers Gold really is a wonderful drop. If we hadn’t excluded cask-conditioned beer from the selection, it would have been right in there in our beer tasting for beginners.
- Estrella Damm is still our favourite mainstream Spanish lager, because you can actually taste the malt and hops. Estrella de Galicia is still too sweet for me (sorry, Chela).