Wednesday, 9 October 2013

#178: The Great Catch-Up Part 1: Dutch Beer

It's been over a week, I've almost forgotten how to blog. I absolutely hate these times, when I have plenty of notes (ie. beers to talk about) but no time or will to set them down in the virtual stone that is this blog. And so, throwing caution and coherence to the wind, I christen this post The Great Catch-Up. 
Feck it, I'll make it an annual event.

This particular post brings me back to the haul of beer I brought back from De Bierkoning, which started with De Molen's Single Hop Citra, and which also seems like a billion years ago. Ever since falling in love with Sierra Nevada's Torpedo (and being reminded of this by the Fran Well's IPA) I've allowed Citra to be crowned 'my favourite hop', that most ephemeral of reigns, so an expression of such by De Molen seemed an obvious choice for a measly ~€1.30. 

It pours blood orange and, ah, yes, is an olfactory celebration of Citra right from the off. Citrus peel and pith hit first, followed by grapefruit, pineapple and a pine resin stickiness that suggest more honey sweetness underneath. A belter for 4.8%. The palate is just as enthusiastic about Citra, though not nearly as ballsy. None of the syrupy sweetness remains, just a surprisingly clean grainy backbone. Still though, there's plenty of citrus fruit to enjoy, juice, pulp and peel. Despite finishing too quickly, the experience is a worthy one, and I regret not collecting the others in the Single Hop series - after all, comparing them is kind of the point.

Next is a beer from Ramses, a brewery I will love forever for making that barrel-aged Shire Stout, with Moby Dick, which is... well.. I actually don't know. I pale ale seems most likely, so that's how I will judge it. It's yellowy orange in the glass and has bananas and clove on the nose. Some tropical(ish) fruit and waxy bitterness follows up, with a very light malty sweetness forming the base. Rather like the De Molen beer, Moby Dick isn't as complex as the aroma suggests, as I'm treated to a very fruity, lightly bitter and touch spicy beer the quality of which could be described as 'good', and no more. Don't worry Ramses. I'll always remember the Shire Stout.

Finally we have Pandora from Maximus Brouwerij. It's orange and pungent, with stingy lemon juice and pine needle hops at the steering wheel, while a hint of juicy grapefruit takes the back seat. On the palate there's a lively bitterness with the same juicy fruit flavours accompanied by some nice leafy green notes, while a light caramelised sugar sweetness lurks in the background. Much deeper than I expected, this one, and much nicer too. Delicious stuff.

If nothing else, typing this post has been a mournful ode to the wonders of De Bierkoning. Fear not though, there's more from the lowlands to come in the next few months; I'll be damned if I'm not going to buy winter beers on my summer holidays.

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