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The Beer Circle » Belgian Pale Ale, Belgium, Lambic, Netherlands, Oude, Saison, Strong Dark Ale, Witbier » Belgian / Dutch Beer Tasting

Belgian / Dutch Beer Tasting

Dutch Beer GuildOver the past year I’ve done a couple of beer and running related posts. I first talked about my love of running and beer in this post and how the former lets me enjoy more of the latter. I followed that up recently with a post about Hashing so when a running-buddy wanted to get together for a long run followed by a beer tasting he didn’t have to ask me twice.

We got together for a tough run and, starting at 10AM, the beer tasting commenced. A recent business trip to the Netherlands provided the opportunity for me to try many beers that were new to me. I tried my best to order the beer properly with the heaviest tasting beers last but, since I can’t read a word of Dutch, the order was a little off. I’ve written a few notes about each of the beers but, as I was feeling a bit “full” at the end, they may trail off a bit.

Tasting Menu (in order):

Wieckse Rosé

The name definitely matched the color of this beer, our first of the day. The color was a deep pink with absolutely zero head and little, if any, carbonation. The aroma was very fruity (strawberry and cherry) and had a very clean finish. The taste was strong but died quickly after it was swallowed. Ratebeer rated it a 11 but I have to disagree. It was one of my favorites of the day.

La Trappe Witte

Being a classic Witte, the appearance was a very hazy straw colow with a big-bubble head the settled quickly to a very thin ring. The taste was very bitte,r with coriander and orange peel elements. It had a very dry aftertaste. It was a solid Witte, but the bitterness might turn people off. Ratebeer rated it a 66.

De Leckere Blauwe Bijl

So far my ordering was spot on. However, I missed the mark here and skipped right to the Belgian strong ales. It hit all the marks for a BSA. It was deep bronze with a thim, slightly off-white head. Heavy yeast and bread notes in the aroma with brown sugar mixed in.  All elements were present in the taste with a saltiness added. Ratebeer rated it a  59.

Hertog Jan Natuurzuiver

Hertog Jan is part of the AB/InBev monstrosity, so I was a bit nervous. Luckily, in the case of the following Hertog Jan beers, the haven’t been ruined improved by AB/InBev. Natuurzuiver is their take on a Pilsner. It was brown with a hint of orange color to brighten it. The aroma was very sweet, a bit too sweet for a Pilsner, and the sweet, grassy taste had a very dry finish. Ratebeer rated it a 26.

Hertog Jan Weizener

Being a Wheat, the beer was, not surprisingly, a hazy, straw color. The aroma smacked me right away with huge pepper and clove notes. There was also a hint of orange peel that transferred to the taste, too. I was also surprised that there was a slight tartness to the taste. Ratebeer rated it a 49/64.

La Trappe Puur

This is an organic beer made with renewable energy sources, thus the name. Again, it was a hazy, straw color with a grassy aroma. There was a fresh hop taste with a slightly herbal finish. Ratebeer rated it a 52.

Hertog Han Oerblond Bitter

The only thing that I could say about this beer is that it was a good Belgian al,e but there was nothing extraordinary about it. If I was in the Netherlands this could become a session beer for me, though it has a 6.2% ABV. Ratebeer rated it a 284.

De Molen Bed & Breakfast

This was my least favorite of the beers at the tasting. Huge doesn’t come anywhere close to describing the bitter coffee aroma. Luckily, the taste wasn’t nearly as bitter but, instead, I felt like I was drinking a freshly cut lawn. Ratebeer rated this a 48. Recently, Russ posted a more in-depth review of Bed & Breakfast.

Hertog Jan Karakter

The most striking element of this beer was its fruitiness. I noticed a solid, but not overwhelming apricot aroma and taste. The beer was reddish / bronze and had zero head. Ratebeer rated this a 45.

St. Bernardus Grottenbier

The beer poured a dark, hazy brown with an off-white head. As the head settle, a nice lacing was left on the side of the glass. Both the taste and the aroma had sweet, caramel elements with a nice anise finish. This was another of my favorites. Ratebeer rated this a 95.

De 7 Deugden Bock + Sprong

B+S had a hazy brown appearance with a thin head that settled quickly to a ring. I noticed bitter chocolate aroma with some nuttiness and hops for balance. The taste was overly yeasty with a malty element. Ratebeer rated this a 24.

Hanssens Oude Kriek

I should’ve put the Wieckse just ahead of the only Lambic in the tasting. They were alike in that both poured a pink color with no head and little carbonation. However, here the sour aroma punched you in the gut and made you hang on for the ride as the sourness carried over to the taste. I absolutely loved this beer. Ratebeer rated this a 98.

Kasteel Donker

Being a BSA, the Donker was a dark brown but mild sweetness that easily hid the 11% ABV. There was a slight pine aroma added to the beer which, combined with the honey notes in the taste resulted in creamy goodness. Ratebeer rated this a 96.

Nieuw Ligt Grand Cru 2009

My notes are starting to fail me at this point. The beer poured a slightly hazy brown. I noticed caramel in both the aroma and taste with a yeasty, bread element in the taste. It had a very dry finish. Ratebeer rated this a 97.

Hertog Jan Grand Prestige

The Grand Prestige was the best of the Hertog Jan. It was had a strong dark fruit aroma and was a deep ruby color with no head. The taste had elements of both raisins and caramel. Ratebeer rated this a 92.

Gulden Draak 9000

The only word I wrote down here was “good.” I guess the day had gotten to me by this point. This beer should be available throughout the US. Ratebeer rated this a 94.

Palm

Forgot to take notes on this one. Ratebeer rated this a 36.

Overall Thoughts

The opportunity to try beers that I would otherwise never get the chance to try made this a great beer day. While I disagree with some of the ratings given by the users of Ratebeer please remember that the qualities of a beer are very subjective. The only beer that I would definitely not try again was the Bed & Breakfast. I really enjoyed all of the other beers and can’t wait until February when the Beer Runners meet again for another tasting. I plan to hold this one and bring out my Cascade sours and other favorites.

 

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Written by Bob Pack

Simply put, Bob is a beer lover. He goes out of his way to try new beers whenever he can find them. The love of trying new beers had resulted in a beer label collection of over 1400. When it comes down to it, Bob is a hop head. He loves IPAs (including double and black). Stouts are a close second. His tweet reviews on @nova_beer are simple and approachable. Let him know what you think. Find Bob Pack on Google Plus

Filed under: Belgian Pale Ale, Belgium, Lambic, Netherlands, Oude, Saison, Strong Dark Ale, Witbier · Tags: , , , , , ,