The past few days have been pretty interesting. Not only have I tested and decided upon the final four beers in my own pathetic incarnation of Euro 2012, but I've tried some other things too, including the Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel.
Recently I've been planning a trip to Brussels, and it's my intention to make a day trip to Bruges to visit De Halve Maan Brewery, as well as, you know, see Bruges. I'm not quite sure if this beer is actually made there, but I thought it would be good to test out the brand anyway.
First of all, the price. At €3.80 for a bottle, it can cost up to a whole euro more than an Abt 12. I am not impressed
It pours the anticipated murky brown that glimmers red in the light, with a conservative but creamy head. On the nose you've got very strong dark chocolate, herbal and liquorice notes with sweet green apple, rum-soaked dark fruits and spice hiding in the background. Very nice, really fruity with a strong malty backbone, although I have to say it's almost offensive, with those liquorice and herbal qualities that I'd normally expect from a porter jumping right out of the glass. The taste is similar - dark chocolate mousse to the fore, followed by apple, raisins and berries, with a spirit-like alcohol finish (courtesy of the 11% ABV). The body's nice and rich, but as I found with Westvleteren 12 it seems to deteriorate over time, becoming ever so slightly thinner. This is a very nice beer, but with the quality of the quads I've had in the past, it somehow manages to fall right to the bottom of my list in that style. For the money, it's just not worth it. I'll try their Tripel soon, and see how that compares.
In other news, Piraat has been tried again and it's proved it's worth. Also, I only recently found out that it was voted Best Belgian-Style Strong Pale Ale at the World Beer Cup this year. Clearly I'm not the only one who thinks this is the best thing in liquid form since the Earth's seas came to be.
Another beer I tried was Brooklyn Brewing's Black Chocolate Stout. I've spoken at length about my love/hate (but mainly 'meh') relationship with stouts and porters, but as the tipsy knight who bravely yet recklessly rides the drunken destrier, I feel it is my duty to delve deep into the styles I am least comfortable with. As such, I went for this Russian Imperial stout in the hope that it would show me what the style can achieve when it wants to. And by the beard of Zeus, it did just that. Notes haven't been taken, but you can bet your ass I'll be buying another 3 or 4 bottles of this stuff to work through, so a post won't be too long coming.
Finally, I once again drew names to assemble the fixtures of my Euro 2012 Beer Championships.
Ireland v England
Germany v France
I know, big stuff. The real semis have already started, for those of you living in a cave (with internet access), so I apologise yet again for the delay. In my defence, I tried a good new beer, a fantastic new beer, and I reacquainted myself with a dear old friend in the time I should have been writing.
Time well spent?
I think so.