We started on the Faro, which we have had before but is a nice delicate beer with slight sourness, but a good residual sugar sweetness that really sits well on the palate. After this we had the Lou Pepe Framboise which really is our first experience of lambic beers. It was tart in its sourness and was sending shivers down my spine with most sips. Still, there was a sweetness from the fruit to help in a little way counter balance, and to be honest I could appreciate the beer even with the intensity of the sourness. It wasn't too difficult to drink but I used this badly to get through it a bit faster. Definitely an acquired taste. Stass somehow got hot slot car smells from the beer, whereas Mick felt there was a slight rancid smell and taste to it. I agree with Mick, however I did not find it as overpowering as you would think. Still, we felt it was pretty well crafted, and I could sense that there are a lot of things that could go wrong with a beer like this, so think they should be commended for this one.
After that experience, we decided to clean the palate with a Triple Karamelite which has been one of our fave belgium beers over recent years. This time though, either through the previous beer or our own changing palate, it did not come off as well as previously tasted. The caramel flavours were not so pronounced, and could even think there was a little off-ness about it. I am blaming the Framboise.
The Rochefort 10 then came out to sort our taste buds and get them back on track. Smell just as I remember (hmmmm) and the taste came through well enough with the caramel and malt. I really am looking forward to going to this brewery when I am over there, and trying it again at the Belgium Beer Weekend this Friday (Trappist day for me.)
Then it was time for the choc beers. It seems the choc beers can be a bit temperamental and think freshness is paramount with these style of beers. We tried a New Zealand Choc Oatmeal Porter which Stew had raved about, but it was a bit watery and seemed the beer had started to separate a bit. still, there was a good cocoa flavour to it, and maybe some slight over carbonation which did not help either.
We decided the tried and true Rogue Choc Stout was what we needed as last time we had it at Easter it had been really good. However again, it disappointed us slightly. The one saving grace with choc beers though is that as long as you have then with chocolate cake or pudding (as we had [Thanks Nadene and Mel]), the texture and sweetness from these help to boost the beer closer to how you would like it to be, and so they are still quite enjoyable.
Finally we got onto our latest choc homebrew, which is a recipe straight from Brewcraft, which Stass and I were able to taste while at the store. To be honest, while this was milder in choc flavour, it was definitely the easier drinking beer. This could have been of its position in the drinking order, but it did seem to go down fairly well. From the barrel tasting I hadn't had high hopes for it, but it surprised me with its nice rounded flavour. I have to say that by using less carbonation I think it has helped keep the structure of the beer more intact. Anyway, a repeat tasting will have to occur on Wednesday to confirm this.
Ok, so I have left something out. We had two bottles of our raspberry stout left over, and I had challenged Xani to open one of these explosive beers with me. Stass has added footage of the opening to our existing montage and putting it up here soon, still, you can see from this photo there was a bit of carnage, with beer spilt all over me and the ground. While it may appear from this shot I was the one to cause the casualty of beer, I will let you wait and see the footage to see who the culprit was. Let's just say, if there was a competition as to who could get the most beer into the barrel when opening it, I would win (and the competition tally would read Xani - 3, Beefy/Panda - 1. Yes, Xani lost for once!).
Anyway, the footage will be up soon...
So thank you to everyone that came along last night for the farewell and beer journey, I feel well and truly ready to get across to Europe and start the extended beer journey over there with Jaimi (prepare yourself mate!). I will endeavour to keep beerdakari updated with each day's beers while I am there and as two bloke hit two European beer festivals. I'll probably need this blog to remember whatever happens.