From Belgiums La Chouffe comes their Ardenne Strong Beer.
Pouring a golden yellow, slightly cloudy with speedy carbonation bubbles racing to the top. The head is an off-white and fluffy, almost like stiff peaked egg whites.
The Nose is light and sparkly, with almost Chardonnay aromas, pear and grape.
The flavours are deep and layered. A light biscuit flavour with tannin and thyme are dominant with a grape bite underneath.
From Belgium I have the Chimay Strong Ale.
It pours a cloudy baked cake brown that allows very little light through. The carbonation is noticeable but lazy with bubbles almost meandering to the top to join the very white head of medium bubbles.
The nose has banana, clove and a fruity ester.
The flavours again show banana and a an acrid mineral quality which actually mellows the banana nicely. The carbonation is sharp on the tongue and very noticeable because of the very light body.
The Chimay Red is the oldest of the Chimays. Its coppery color and sweet, fruity taste make it a particularly tasty dark ale.
From Belgiums St Feuillien Abbey comes their Brune which includes liquorice.
This beer pours a thick root beer brown, a bit cloudy. It is hard to tell if the carbonation is visible. The head is a dark tan of coarse bubbles.
The nose is full of black liquorice, the European kind, not the sweet North American kind. There is also a slight cola note.
The liquorice is prominent on the tongue as well. Honestly it’s a bit overwhelming.
From Belgiums Brasserie d’Achouffe we have Houblon Chouffe.
This beer pours a slightly hazy … honestly it’s the colour of sour mandarin orange gummy candy. The head is fluffy, snowy white like a good powder day on the ski hill.
The nose has sour mandarin as well. A slight hay smell and fresh grass are quite inviting.
The hop bitterness really leads the flavours. Sour mandarin comes behind and there are nice floral notes of earl grey tea. The carbonation is noticeable on the tongue but not pushy.
“The gnomes of Fairyland may be little, but they have big, very big, personalities. HOUBLON CHOUFFE matches their impish spirits. All gnomes, with their innate good taste, are in full agreement about HOUBLON CHOUFFE, which is flavoured by three different types of hops. This India Pale Ale is appreciated for its pronounced bitterness combined with the fruity tones of traditional Achouffe beers: it softens the strongest of characters.”
Vancouver, BC’s Powell Brewery, Dive Bomb, a dark ale.
It pours an almost perfectly opaque black, held to the light there are deep mahogany highlights. The head is a nice light khaki with very fine bubbles.
The nose is almost leathery with a slight cola note.
The flavours include beautifully bitter cocoa powder, dark toffee and burnt caramel. It is very dry, giving a champagne impression. The body is dense but the very fizzy carbonation makes feel light.
This far Ale is surprisingly light and refreshing and sessionable. Flavours of caramel, toffee, chocolate and nuts are complimented with holding hops that add just the right amount of bitterness and a slight floral aroma.