These next two were completely new to me, and I've been looking forward to trying them for quite some time. Augustijn Ale is brewed by the Brouwerij Van Steenberge, makers of Gulden Draak and the brilliant Piraat, while Schneider Weisse Aventinus is a Weizen-Doppelbock recommended to me by The Beer Nut, after I finally tasted the Schneider Hefe-Weizen (Tap 7).
The Augustijn Blond was out of date, and I did detect slightly off flavours akin to the terrible St Bernardus Tripel. It poured like a good Belgian Pale, truly on the blonde side of golden. On the nose, I got the aforementioned 'off' smells - medicinal, cooked vegetable and metallic hint - but it redeems itself with it's fizzy, spicy fruit and underlying caramel malt. This routine is played out on the tongue as well. Off flavours need to be fought through initially, but the reward is sweet - sharp, juicy citrus fruit calmed and smoothed by the woody caramel malt. The body's ok, and I'm starting to think I was imagining the off characteristics. The beer gets better after sitting in the glass for a time.
This is the fourth pale beer (Belgian strong pale ale or Tripel) that I've had similar dodgy flavours of aromas to. If someone could tell me how I an properly identify a bad beer I'd appreciate it - I don't like to think it's all in my head.
Next up is Schneider Weisse Tap 6 - Unser Aventinus. My first Weizenbock was the Weihenstephaner Vitus, and while it was enjoyable, it was not what I was expecting. No, I was expecting something much more like the Aventinus. It pours a muddy water brown with a small white head that doesn't retain. The aroma is lovely, according to my notes. Hefe smells are smothered by thick malty sweetness, dark fruits, hints of smoke and sharp twang of yeast. The taste opens with citrus and banana sherbert and yeast, followed by dark wooden toffee malt, dark fruits and a hint of bubblegum. There's a certain Belgian quality to this beer, and I can't help but find suggestions of Mc Chouffe dotted here and there in the taste. It's very tasty, very satisfying, and the alcohol heat at the end makes it a mighty comforting drink. 500mls of an 8.2% beer should not be this easy.
Both beers worth a try, but Aventinus is likely to be the only one that stays on rotation in my cupboard.