Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 23: Smashed on One Beer, not good preparation for Oktoberfest

Hello All,

Have just had lunch and decided to have my final beer in the fridge, the Aventus Weizen-Eisbock. Ok, so it is a 12% beer, and seeing Jaimi didn't want to even taste it, had to take it alone. At the moment it is fully in my system, and feels like I have had about 4 beers (so perfect time to be in the blog writing up about it).

So, as you can see in the photo, it comes out a bit on the darker side for a wheat beer (but with some added barley malt), but can tell on the smell, they have had to up the type of yeast they use to get the beer to 12%. Therefore, I am really getting a lot of the bubblegum flavour I tend to get from these German wheat beers that have a bit of alcohol to them. Still, at least having this means that the alcohol doesn't burn you as much as it could, as it takes only a short time for it to hit your palate, and from there you are just getting bubblegum and alcohol. However, it does cleanse ok in aftertaste, so at least you don't have an alcohol burn during or after each taste.

So while I come down from this beer, I have some planning to try and do. While I am heading down to Munich tomorrow for Oktoberfest, I have decided I should probably be in a place with not much beer so I can recover from this beer festival, so booked a flight to Istanbul to meet up with the man that first got me into brewing (Brad), and his recently made wife Seda (who has just received her visa to live and work in Australia. Yay!). Having contacted Stass (who was able to make it to Turkey for their wedding), there is at least one Turkish beer to try while I am there, so hopefully can give you notes on that when I have a go of it myself. Still, just to keep this trip a bit unpredictable (the German beers aren't doing it too much for me), going to throw myself in the deep end this way.

Anyway, for now I should get rid of all the beer bottles I have collected on my beer journey of Berlin, and get ready for Munich. In case I only make it back to Berlin to get my flight back home, a big thanks to all the aussies over here that have been great company and who I have hopefully given something to think about next time they go for a beer here and anywhere else they happen to have one. It's been great to see and meet you all, and wish I hadn't gotten lost in the backstreets of Neukolln last night so I could have made the Planet Love Sound gig. Still, hopefully can be back for a night or two before I leave on the 5th for one last beer with you all.



Day 22: Biking and Biergarten-ing

Having survived our attempt at roasting a duck last night (along with more of the Bailey's potato bake), again woke up this morning feeling the need for a quiet day, as feeling I have done Berlin to death (well, the touristy things anyway) and ready to move on to Munich. Still, just when I am feeling like not going out, again the weather comes out great and decide that another bike ride is in order, so grab Jaimi's bike, and head back to Templehof airport to ride around the disused runway for a couple of hours.

I recalled going past a biergarten the first time I did a loop of the place, so after I had had enough of riding around, made a bee-line for that. After relaxing in the sun for a bit, decided it was time to grab a beer, so went for a thirst quencher in the Erdinger Wiessbier. It went down too easy and just how you would want it on a day like this. Not too much flavour for the reason I was drinking, but still a good tasting beer in it's own right.

Still, after that felt the need for something a bit more, so upgraded to the Erdinger Dunkel, which I had at the pub earlier in the week. Was just what my tastebuds wanted, and with some good tunes enjoyed an hour sipping on it and enjoying being in the sun. I may be feeling the need for a change on this trip, but good to see can still be happy with a few simple things to keep me content where I am. Seeing Munich beergardens will be pretty crazy, glad to have had a nice quiet beergarden experience to even it out.

Also, have a gig to look forward to tonight with Planet Love Sound, so hopefully there are some beers available at the venue that will keep my taste buds happy, along with my ears.


PS: Happy birthday to more friends, this time Jess and Loz. Why did I plan this trip just to miss out on so many events back home? Oh yeah, 3 beer festivals. Hmm, how does LoztoberJess sound for this weekend's beer festival in honour of you girls?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 21:Back on Track and Back on Bock Dunkels

So, after feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, the Bailey's infused potato bake (it really does taste like Bailey's...Success!), a couple of beers to knock me out and a good night's rest have allowed me to pick up a bit better today. Then the weather decided to put on a good showing, so any thoughts of laying low today got thrown out. I realised I hadn't even visited the Berlin Wall yet, so did a tour of the east side gallery, where artists have taken over a part of the remaining wall, then keeping with the theme went to Checkpoint Charlie and visited a site called Topographie der Terrors, which goes through the rise and times of the Nazi reign in Berlin (and also has the Berlin Wall as a backdrop to it).

Have made it back to Jaimi's, with the last of the supplies we need for a duck we are going to bake tonight as one of his last meals in this place. Have just prepared some vegies to go with the bake and found I have time to get a beer in. So pulled out the Kloster Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel, which is one from my list, and a brewery I have found to be alright with the beers I have tried from them thus far. Smell has some sweetness to it, and while there is a bit of the syrupy texture from the other cola dark beers I have tried here, there is definitely a roasted malt character along with alcohol (7.1%) to allow me to label this a real beer. There is a bit of an aftertaste of alcohol, which is to be expected, but would have hoped for a bit more flavour in the body to equalise/round this out. Still, it doesn't taste much like cola, so is a win in my book.

So the duck is crisping up nicely and there is some fat to bake the vegies in (hope that is right mum), so it seems to be going ok (apart from a slight burn to my hand [least I am drinking to dull any pain]). I am now going for the Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock, which is another Doppelbock Dunkle on my list of beers to try. Had to work hard to get a head on this beer, so was a little unsure (these cola beers are making me paranoid now) but there is definitely some roastedness going on, again, to make it a real beer. Glad my beer-dar is working on these beers I wanted to try. Is some sweetness and syrupy texture again, but the roasted malt and alcohol come through. Still, better balance of flavours between malt and alcohol (6.9%) to improve it from the previous beer, so enjoying this one a bit more (Bang! Even getting my order of beer drinking correct).

So, as I finish off this beer, and we are nearly 3/4 through cooking the duck, I'll sign off and let you know tomorrow how the duck ended up. May also add a bit more Bailey's when reheating the potato bake to see if I can get more than just a hint of it from it, and probably have another Bailey's after dinner. Sounds like a good plan to me. Lucky I didn't have lunch, so gonna smash this bird when it is done, and again, these beers can make me feel a bit pissed.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 20: Hit the Wall...But BBBounced Back

With energy levels running low and feeling like I am losing the vibe a bit, I tried to do something that I hoped would replenish me a bit, so found an area to the S/E of Berlin to walk through the forests and hills around the lake of Grosser Muggelsee. It was very nice to get into this sort of space, and it did help me get through the morning, but once I hit about the 5km mark I hit the wall, and had to make my way back through the park and to Jaimi's for what I thought would be a much needed kip (I may still need one). Still, got back just as he was leaving, and thought to myself I just want to do something that reminded of home and all the events I am missing with friends in Melbourne. So, I have learnt anywhere in the world I have been I have the ingredients available to be able to make a potato bake, so put some Phoenix tunes on and made one.

So after adding a little Bailey's with the cream topping on the potato bake, busting out some air guitar to Funkysquaredance and dancing around Jaimi's kitchen to Fences, feel up to having a couple of beers, while the tunes are still going and the potato bake does its thing in the oven.

Starting on the Gesser Dunkler Bock, has a similar look and smell to the cola tasting porter of last night, and unfortunately, it also has the cola taste. Still, it has 6.8% to kick in some alcohol flavour towards the end to make it feel more like a beer, and it comes in a flip-top bottle. The best thing I can say about this beer then is that it is easy drinking and has some alcohol.

Ok, now I am not satisfied but had a hit of alcohol, lets get onto the Riegele Speziator Doppelbock Dunkel. slight darker in colour to the previous, but again, head disappears very quickly (hmm, not a good sign. still, could just be the alcohol at 7.5%).
Smell not encouraging, but first taste shows some roasted malt flavours to go with the alcohol to make it taste a bit more like a beer. still has a background of cola flavour, but at least it is in the background. alcohol definitely is stronger so glad to have had the Gesser first as it may sting a bit more as a first beer.

So, now I have drunk a bit of alcohol on an empty stomach, I'm gonna sign off before I start making more spelling an grammar mistakes than what I have probably already made. Potato bake is smelling good, so hoping to hook into that soon.



PS: have just found out there is a stats area of this blog where I can see how many people have viewed the blog, and am happy to say that we have reached 1000 (nearly 700 in just the last month. Wow!) page views and over 100 blog posts. Thanks to everyone who has checked out the site from all over the world. It humbles Stass and I greatly to think people might be interested in what we have to say about beer (is that right Stass?)

Day 19: Pub of 100 beers and Beer-Spezialitaten-Laden: Revisited

After all the physical and emotional weariness of yesterday, has been hard to get out and see more of this city, but after a quiet morning, got out and into it and gave myself incentive by putting in a visit to the best beer store in Berlin after I was done.

So walked back through Mitte to visit a Stasi Museum, only to find it closed and from what I could pick up from the sign out front, seems to have moved to another part of town. Did get to see a Jewish Monument which was good after having been to the concentration camp yesterday, and saw the area where Hitler was holed up in his bunker at the end of WWII (there is now apartments and other construction going on over it, so I guess it is one thing Germany don't wish to keep from the war).

Made it down to Potsdamer Platz, and while just strolling around found a bar that has 100 beers available, from all over the world. Did not find too many on the list that caught my eye, especially when the Australian entry is (you guessed it) Fosters. On principle, I don't think I could even go in there to try the beers I wouldn't mind tasting. Still, with Oktoberfest on, would prefer to go into Alexanderplatz and get a stein of German beer in the makeshift beer hall they have set up in the square. Will, have to find some willing participants here in Berlin to come with me for that one, as drinking beer by yourself (let alone a stein of it) is generally not very pleasant (any volunteers?).

So got back to 'the' beer store with my list of German beers I want to try, and managed to find a couple from the list, one blockbuster beer that I have tried before (so wouldn't mind using it to continue educating the aussies in Berlin what Germany has to offer them in beer), and a few others to spread my tastebuds around a bit, including a German Porter, just to see how it stacks up with the many I have had in my time drinking. Of course, also had to go an Oktoberfest beer from Munich, so I can get into the spirit of the event before we head down to it later in the week. You may be wondering the price for all 7 of these hard to find German beers...about 13 Euro (less than 2 Euro a bottle, which is actually pretty expensive here in Germany). So, keep an eye out for tastings on these through the week.

Actually, I'll just start on the Oktoberfest beer now while I have a pizza. has a bit of extra orange for a pilsner, and there is distinct lack of head on pouring. Seems to smell quite hoppy, and after a very swift hit of malt the hops do take over, and while they are tingly on the midpalate, they are not too overbearing as they seem to round off ok. Or so I thought, as looking at the bottle again I see it is 6.3% alcohol, so it seems they are putting in extra hops to cover a bit of the alcohol. still, the two flavours blend well, and could have thought it was an aged pilsner that had been dry hopped to give it extra zing over a rounded hop background. Still, seems to be not the case as it is meant as a blockbuster beer for the event, and the added colour is from also adding a slightly darker malt for flavour as well. Still, the blend of alcohol and hops is done quite well, especially with the zing of hops to (in a way) hide the taste of alcohol. It is doing a great job though at cleansing my tongue of the pizza, so is doing what a pilsner is meant to do, just with higher alcohol. So if you are looking for a pilsner with a bit more overall flavour (and not just hops), this is pretty good, made from the land of Oktoberfest. Here is to Oktoberfest then!

Ok, Ok, I can't end a night on a pilsner, even if it is heavy on the alcohol, so cracking the Braugold Porter (I'm too intrigued to see how they do them over here in lager country). hmm, some roasted smell, but also something else that I can't put my finger on, until I taste it. Sugar, and not a malt sweetness that helps gives soul to beer, but that artificial one that makes it taste like coke, and flat coke, as there is hardly any carbonation in this beer, just left with a syrupy sweetness, which is ok, if you don't want beer, but I wanted a porter. Should have known with the dark brown, but translucent colour to it, and only 4% alcohol. The saving grace of Germany has been the Erdinger and the Konig, but if I keep tasting dark beer with the cola character, I may just get annoyed instead of just mildly disappointed (FYI, this is a big leap for someone like myself). I can actually feel myself sobering up on this beer through the disappointment, and so just wanting to get through it quickly (is this the ploy of the brewer?). Would like to have another beer, but with the pizza and a litre of beer in me now, it would be an uncomfortable nights sleep. booooo.

I also noticed a section at the store with aussie beers. For you aussies in Berlin looking for a bit of home, they have Fosters, VB (ok, they are not very homely), Coopers Sparkling (Red) and Pale (Green), and a beer I haven't even tried called 'Crocodile Doppelbock', which I have seen before, but though it may be more of a novelty beer (especially for Australia to be trying). Still, wouldn't mind being proven wrong. So, either ask me to grab one of these for you while I am around, or the address is Karl-Marx-Allee 56, 10243 Berlin.



PS: Big shout out to friends James and Lottie who turn 2 today...2 years of wedded bliss that is. Nice to be in Berlin at this special time for you two.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Night 17 and Day 18: Happy Gatherings and Sad Places

Hi All,

feeling a bit heavy at the moment (no, not from Guinness. That would be a good sort of heavy), as just got back into Berlin from my first experience in a space that was used as a concentration camp during the second world war. I won't bring down the mood of the blog with my thoughts from this experience, but will just venture to say the experience has made me feel solemnly frustrated at the past and potential of humanity (myself included of course). If there was a brewery on that site, whatever soul it would have had was lost when they used it in this way.

Still, am happy to juxtapose this with great tidings of beer and friends that were gathered together last night. James and I did a beer shop (there you go mate, another pic of you in the blog) and there ended up being a dinner at Tina and Joe's, so meant more people to hang out and drink with. Dinner was great (particularly the pumpkin and walnut. what a combo of flavours!), and can say we had an interesting journey with the beers as well.

Helles Lagerbier Hell – just a nice light one to share with a couple of the boys before heading to dinner at Tina and Joe’s. light blonde malt flavour with a rolling rise of hops before it cleanses at the end. Pretty standard I would have thought, but a standard it seems hard for many pils to achieve.

JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett 2008 – good to share this with the gang at Tina and Joe’s at the start of the night while the palate is still fresh. It is there most basic wine, so noticed it had a bit of an acidic flavour towards to back palate, but still has the residual sugar and soft, delicate taste that Mick and I like so much from this winery

Radeberger Pilsner – to get the beer journey going, we had this lighter beer that I don't think the gang in Berlin hadn’t had before. And I can understand why, seems very light and tasteless. Mind you, I was eating delicious food at the time of the trying it, but for a pilsner not to be able to cleanse says enough.

Berliner Kindl Bock Hell – bit darker than the pils with a nice caramel malt flavour on the front that rolls into the 7% alcohol. Good balance of the two flavours and no alcohol aftertaste, that could come from a lighter beer with this high an alcohol content.

Schofferhofer Dunkles Hefeweizen – nice step up in sweetness from the previous bock but with some darker flavours from the malt. A lot darker than what I thought would come from a wheat beer but maybe just used more barely malt than other hef’s.

Paulaner Hefe-Weizbier Dunkle – much lighter than the previous dark wheat, so not so much of the sweetness, but is replaced with the bubblegum yeastiness that I can get a bit of in European beers. Interesting to see so much difference in two beers of the same style.

Konig Ludwig Dunkel – returned to this beer to see if I got something else from it. And speaking to James over it, we both agreed there was a spice (pepper) flavour coming over the top of the malt to create an unusal spectrum of flavour across the tongue. Maybe a beer I don’t personally like for it, but can’t deny it is very different and worthy of trying for this.

Taking out the Prum, I have to say the sweet flavour and nice balance of flavours from the Berliner and Schofferhofer were my picks from the night. Thanks to Tina and Joe for allowing me to crash their dinner, the gang for coming on the journey and adding your input (which has helped me make my own notes), and for Tina getting the smallest glass in the world for me to drink a beer from.

Also, personally, thanks to everyone who is putting up with my beer talk and actually encouraging me to continue pursuing it and take it even further. I appreciate all you creative Berlin musical/visual/etc artists labeling me a 'beer artist' so I can fit in. Here is to another night cheersing to the aussies in Berlin,


PS: Don't have any beer in the fridge and no shops are open to get any. Still, after today, a Bailey's may be in order so I don't get depressed about the world.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 17: Oktoberfest Begins!!!!...but not quite yet for me.

So now it is officially not Joel's birthday back in Australia (he probably doesn't care it is no longer his birthday as he is dancing up a storm at the Purple Emerald), I can now say Happy 200th Oktoberfest, as it is still Saturday in Germany (Yay). Jaimi has left me so he can do a gig tonight, so this morning watched on TV the procession of beer going into the Oktoberfest area and the ceremonial 'tapping' of the first keg. Of course all the commentary was in German (where is Gordon Bray or Phil Kearns when you need them?), but was good to finally see what happens for this festival. From here on I think it is easy to figure out. So while there is a third beer festival for my third weekend of this trip, I will wait til next weekend to get on that one.
As for this weekend, I have already taken Jaimi's bike out for a tour of the disused Tempelhof airport runway this arvo and picked up the last of the supplies I need to make a Bailey's potato bake, which hopefully will happen tomorrow when James and Lottie come over for dinner. Speaking of which, I will be catching up with James in about an hour to do some beer shopping (of course keeping you posted on the beer we find and try), but for now, testing the Bailey's to make sure it is okay to be used in the potato bake tomorrow (hmmm...yep, it should do).
This quiet weekend will continue tomorrow, when I hope to head just out of Berlin to see Sachenhausen Concentration Camp (it was actually a brewery before it was used as a camp), and then dinner with friends and feel very lucky to live this life.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 16: Alcohol Shopping and Drinking to Joel Stanton

It is 2 hours into Joel Stanton's (beerdakari's only follower) birthday back in OZ, and only just getting into my first beer to celebrate our mateship through the years (many many years. How are we still friends Mr Beef Opposite?) as he turns 30 today. Sorry I can't be there, but hopefully when you hear what I have done today, you will see I am celebrating here for you too.
So today has been a bit up and down weather wise, so not conducive to walking around too much. Ok, I don't mean to ruin a beer blog with wine, but found a wine store here in Berlin where I can get mine and my brother's favourite winery's products. It is harvest season at the moment, and supplies were low, but managed to get two bottles at least. One to have with friends here (we need to organise a picnic so we can do this), and the other to take back to Mick for us to enjoy at sometime in the future. Then took some advice from the Lonely Planet guide and bought some chocolates for Mr Faulkner for, like Joel, just being a good mate. Choc truffles, and in case you are wondering, yes, they have alcohol in them too. After being loaded with this, I made my way to the only beer store I have been able to find here in Berlin, and took 30 mins choosing 3 from their good German dark beer range.
Jaimi and I have now just toasted to you, and started drinking the first beer to you Joel. And it is almost karma that it happens to be a low alcohol (3.8%) syrupy-sweet beer that taste very much like flat coke. So there you go mate, almost like not drinking a beer at all. Still, the Landskron Pupen(Pooping?)-Schultzes Schwarzes is going down very easy, and I guess meets the recommendation I asked for from the store owner; dark and sweet.
Alright, next on the list is Maxlrainer Aiblinger Schwarzbier, which is actually a bit lighter in colour to the previous but does have a slight dark smell (with even slighter spice?) to it. This is actually one on the list of beers I wanted to try, so can't complain that the store owner lead me astray. Not getting much from the beer til the midpalate with some caramel malt and does seem to be some very mild spice or hop in it as well. has just enough body to it but is very easy drinking overall. At least we are up to 5% to kick it along a little bit.
The last is the Andechs Export Dunkel which has a bit of a spiced dubbel smell and taste to it, so reminds me a bit like a trappist beer. is a bit light on for a trappist but has a similar flavour profile. I know I have had a beer from this brewer before, and had on my list a Doppelbock Dunkel to try over here, but at least this proves I don't mind what they do at this brewery.
So while the sun sets here in Berlin and I sit on the back patio with a beer in hand, my thoughts go out to Joel, and all those people that get to have the day with him.

Joel's friend,


PS: beer, chocolate, wine and now pizza, all in the same day. it's like it is my birthday!!!
PPS: While it isn't beer related, I did get to taste some JJ Prum wines while buying what i could of their stock. very nice. who would have thought a dark creamy beer drinker would enjoy a German riesling?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 15: Classic, 'alt' (old) school day in Berlin

Another day where the weather cleared up enough by late morning to give me a chance to see the sites of this city. Hit the older area of town around Mitte to see the classic architecture this place is known for and a walk through Tiergarten (lovely big green space in the centre of the city), before getting into some European history at the Pergamon Museum and some big pretzels that made me thirsty enough the crack open a Kostritzer Schwarzbier to celebrate Jaimi writing a new song (phew).
Then, to juxtapose the music we went to the night before, we saw a friend of Jaimi's playing piano in a classical trio at Charlottenburg. Luke and his accompaniment played great and with the Yellow Tail Merlot ('carn aussie) found myself getting relaxed and sleepy after the long day walking around.
Still, the classic-ness continued at a cafe across the road where a meal of beer and nachos was had and again was able to hang out with more aussie people living here in Berlin. There is definitely a 'type' of aussie that comes over here to Berlin, and entails them being just cool to hang out with, so was great to have another night with that sort of experience. In fact, we found one person (Bethany) who grew up in Charlestown (Newcastle) and her family have a farm in Clarencetown (not far away from my own folks in Gresford). Weird to meet someone like that in Berlin. Ok, in terms of beer, I had a Diebels Altbeer, which while had a pilsner structure, had been aged I think, so the hops had mellowed and there was a better roundness in the flavour overall. not much alcohol, but was good to slowly sip away at this while chatting to the people around me.
So by the time we finished up, most of the trains had stopped running, but we did manage to get one to the centre of town and then catch two buses to get us close to Jaimi's (Thanks Bethany!), before the last classic event of the night, where he checked in at Macca's for a dodgy burger (ahhh, Jaimi and his midnight munchies). So another night were we get to bed in the wee small hours of the morn, but without drinking as much as you would normally being out that late.
So to day 16, and hoping to find something resembling a beer store that I can get a good selection of the beers I want to try in Germany, while exploring more of this city.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 14: Roaming Berlin and Pork Knuckle

So, a better weather day so we were able to take advantage of it. I took a stroll around one of the neighbouring suburbs to where Jaimi is, then we hit the Zoo (who thought pigs, cows and chooks were animals for the zoo?), and with pigs on our mind, we hit a pub on the way back to Jaimi's and I tried a 900g pork knuckle in beer sauce with a beer (Berliner Marcus Brau Dark). The beer was translucent brown and while had a nice caramel start it was fairly watery in texture and hops hit mid palate, died, then came back as a dry aftertaste. I also noticed it seemed to be gassy the first taste I had. The pork knuckle was big, but alot of it was bone, so wasn't the struggle I thought it would be. The pork was a bit dry but the sauce helped (even if i couldn't get any sense of beer from it). Jaimi had the better tasting pork dish with the same beer sauce, but he went the Berliner Marcus Brau Blonde/Pils, which JF described as having a 'citrus nose, and citrus hit upon tasting. spike of hops but dies away quickly'. Only thing I would note beyond this is that the flavour is unstable overall with the high citrus, then hop taste, and again, watery in texture. On the way home we stopped at a supermarket so I could pick up some cocoa helva (that Nadene had recommended I try), and chocolate brownies (Jaimi's recommendation). I was a little unsure about the helva at first as it has sesame seed flavour with the cocoa, and that was also giving me weird textural vibes. But, I reckon it is close to a chocolate waffer and don't mind the flavour. However, the brownies were better in my opinion with the moist cakeness and centre of chocolate in the middle (Sorry Denewey).
We are about to hit another pub tonight and meet some more people, so hopefully can find a few more beers to try. With supermarkets having beer, it has been hard trying to find a beer store to find all the German beers I wish to try. Don't worry, I will keep looking...
Tonight ended up at a venue with a variety of music including a beat boxing harmonicist and a harp playing worldy scotsman (all this live music reminded me I was about to miss a Twoks vs Tim Cannon gig tonight :(... Sad Panda) meeting some locals and having a drinking journey that went; beer, beer, Bailey's, Jagermeister (one of the local girls got that for me) and then ending on beer again.
Journey went as such. Luch's Kellerbier has some nice sweet blonde malt that has some texture to it. Some depth and roundness I can't quite put my finger on but maybe has something to do with the style. Luch's Pils again has sweetness but am this time picking up on the honey flavour that may have been in the first. This honey neutralises the hops, so I have found a pils I can enjoy! The Bailey's came in time to enjoy the harpist play a couple of traditional irish/scottish tunes, but went downhill with the jager, and on the way home we stopped at a bottlo and picking from label, choose a dodgy Augustiner-Braeu Munchen Edelstoff which had a massive dry, hop taste that I don't want to think about ever again. After the Kellerbier, JF stuck to Berliner Pils and nearly did a kebab from the place up the road from him. but instead had a roll when we got back to his. Hoping for another nice day tomorrow so I can explore more of this city.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 13: Unlucky for some, not so much for me: Berlin

My first full day in Berlin and awoke to dreary skies (am I back in Melbourne? Still, good beer drinking weather!!!), so not much good for looking around and getting bearings. Still, after nearly 2 weeks is good not to have to pack up and leave for somewhere else, so enjoyed just hanging out with Jaimi doing domestic duties (and speaking to Denewey via skype. yay!). Finally ventured out in the arvo to go into the city. Without any real office precinct, and with the bad weather keeping people indoors, it was very quiet and a bit eerie, but did start to get a feel for the place and see how it could be. We checked out an old brewery that has been converted into a 'Kulturbrauerei' (I questioned that it was already a centre of culture while it was a brewery) and found a pub that does a 10 Euro 900g pork knuckle with a beer sauce that we will have to go back and try.It has been interesting to see how cheap beer and food is in this place, and that you can recycle bottles at the supermarket and then you get credit at the supermarket just to make the cheap beer and food even cheaper (this must be a homeless person's Mecca).
Still, the best part of the day came after Jaimi and I had a great pizza from the joint up the road from him, when we hit a local pub (Eck Kneip) of Jaimi and the crew living around here and got to hang out with some aussies that are calling Berlin home for the moment. This included James and Lottie who I hadn't seen since they had left OZ to come over to Europe, so was great to hang out with them and meet everyone else, who could cross the language barrier to order beers for me, just so I could bore them by talking beer to them. Of course had to start on the local delicacy of pils (Berliner Kindl) which as expected is good for throwing down quick and has just enough flavour so you don't think you are drinking frothy water (ok, intentionally being a little harsh here), before finding a beer closer to my taste in the Erdinger Wheat Dunkel (still a bit watery in texture but with some good roasted malt flavour to make it interesting), and was great to see James and Joe came along for that ride with me. Unfortunately had such a good time that time ran away and soon we were trying to work out the bill to get home at 1am on a Tuesday night. Still, cheers to you all for giving me a great welcome to this city, and am looking forward to catching up again while I am here.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 11 and 12: Survived and Made it to Berlin

As a follow on from the last post, I also didn’t complain when as I was leaving the owners of the B&B said seeing I was by myself in a two person room they would take some money off the board for the night. I got to Charlie Rockets and met two Spanish girls looking to find a place in Brugge so they can study at the uni. They had been to the beer fest, so gave them the low down on the girly beers to try (banana, etc). I decided on a walk through the poor part of town as tourist would be everywhere else. I had planned to go back to ‘the’ Flemish stew place but it was closed, so ended up finding a pub nearby that also did one, so was able to have a stew with a view. The stew came with a Brugse Zot Blonde, which went well to cleanse the tongue from the chips and gravy, but did not do much with the actual meat (too hoppy). Some of the meat was dry too but the gravy was dark and reminded me of a Beef and Guinness Pie.

By now it was mid arvo so time to hit the beer fest. I did not meet up with Colin or Kris at it and after not speaking to anyone for most of the day (maybe people were worried seeing me in t-shirt, boardies and thongs), and so on my last token was just thinking that it might be good to be a loner for the day when I noticed this guy next to me writing on the back of coasters and tapping with his fingers as he wrote.

Realized he was writing in some sort of prose/poetry and commenting on the beers he was trying in this way. He accidently left one of these behind when he went for his next beer, but when he came back and wrote another, I picked up the one he left behind and gave it to him. That was it. After that we got on like a house on fire. His son was a chemical engineer for Liefmans brewery and had helped come up with their Cuvee Brut, then Moortgat had taken over the brewery and he had lost his job. He was now traveling the world and wanting to come to Australia, and so Willy (his dad) was at the beer fest by himself. What fortune to come across Willy and chat for an hour about beer and life. In his and his son’s honour my last beer token was used on the Liefmans Cuvee Brut, and not a stout as I had intended.

After such a meeting was encouraged to have one more beer, and so went back to Brugs Beertje for a Hercule Stout as I had done the previous night with Colin. And who should be there but Kris, so got to catch up and meet all the people she had got to know while there. All the locals let me sit at the bar with them and try their beers, talk beer (one of them works as a tour guide to the Brugse Zot brewery in town), travel, sport etc and Daisy behind the bar was not surprised to see me ask for the Hercule. This was then my last beer in Belgium, and as you can see, Daisy got her hand in the shot of me having it. Having to get up early to get to Berlin today I left at 10:30pm feeling very content with what I had experienced this final day in Belgium and all I had done over the past 2 weeks. I am now in Brussels Midi station waiting for my train to Berlin, and a new country (and it’s beer) are to be experienced.

Alright, now to the actual beers I had yesterday

The Ambertanterik had a caramel smell but also some sourness. Also very gassy so is hard to get flavour from it and slightly sour and dry in aftertaste. Tastes off to be honest and hope the first is the worst I have on the day, even if a bit of caramel starts coming through as it warms.

Sint Bernardus Grottenbier is pretty spicy on the nose but has a good body to it. Like hops though, I personally don’t agree with much spice, but to be honest this would probably be pretty mild for a spiced beer, so seems to have a decent balance between spice and caramel, with a nice clean finish.

Aged Orval (2008) has citrus/spice/hop smell but fairly subtle. This translates to taste early on but there is a sting on the tip of the tongue before it fades away to a dry but clean finish.

After having the Brugse Zot Blonde at lunch, decided I should also try the Dubbel Bruin, but like it was explained to me by Willy and the other locals afterwards, is pretty commercial with dull but nice dark flavouring and some decent texture. There is some alcohol towards the end but as it warms to caramel comes through a bit more.

The Stout Leroy smells pretty creamy and has some texture to it but it pretty mild in flavour. It sweet, but not in a roasted malt way, almost like sugar is added just for sweetening (after checking my Belgium beer guide I realize why as it styled as an ultra sweet light stout. So is sweet, but not much else going on. Maybe a chick’s stout for the uninitiated. (note: at this stage I needed a lie down so went back to the hostel for and hour so could power on for the evening)

One of the best beers for the day was the Noir De Dottingnies which had a nice creamy head and was also similar with the texture. Finally another real stout found in Belgium. Not quite a Hercule but still pretty good. 9% alcohol is a good level for the flavours in the beer, which are rich and dark. Good beer to have fresh taste buds for.

My second last beer was the Viven Porter, which again was nicely creamy with a brownish head but not much smell. Still, in the mouth a smokeyness exudes which is not near a rauchbeir but getting towards it. There is coffee on the mid and smoke at the end that lingers for a bit. Still, texturally good.

Ending on the Liefman’s Cuvee Brut was situationally perfect, seeing I had the chemical engineer’s dad with me. Still, logically would have been better to have it first. Still, I have to say, there is a very delicate balance between the sweet and sour of the beer, but with more flavour than a Faro. If I was educating someone on lambics, would go faro, then this beer.

So, that has eaten up the time till my train comes, so better find my platform and get going for Germany. At this stage I still have no idea how to get to Jaimi’s from the train station, but am sure something with happen to sort it out....and it did and now Jaimi and I are drinking beers while I update the dak.
We have just had a Kostriker (pretty mild and watery) and a Berliner Kindl Bock Dunkle (this is more like it with a bit more bite in the flavour), a Litovel Schwarzbier (fairly standard) and a Konig Ludwig Dunkel (good bit of flavour to it, and the first German beer I can mark off my to do list).

Different country, but the beer journey continues...


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 11: Aussie Apprectiation Day at the Brugge Beer Festival?

As today is my final full day in Belgium, I thought I should celebrate all the good people I have met who have appreciated my aussieness (yes, we really have a good reputation in the world, I just hope I have kept up the standard) by having an aussie day. It is still dark and raining at the moment, but once the sun rises it should fine up. Yesterday was pretty warm, so thinking the boardies, trucker singlet, aussie thongs, with the sunnies and terry toweling hat should come out at the beer fest. I actually wouldn’t mind a quick trip to the beach this morning once I dump my gear at the hostel I will be staying tonight, as it will stop me going to the beer festival too early, and seeing it is only 12kms away, I think I can make the effort. I have already had most of the beers I really wanted to try at this beer fest, so going to enjoy the area and walk around Brugge a bit more, seeing the owner of this B&B made the effort to draw on a map all the things you can see here…and maybe have another Flemish stew (ok, not very aussie, but then showing off our multiculturalism. That and with many of the beers here, it is just good).

Ah, the bad weather has held on so looks like will just have to stay in Brugge and just look at the sights. Still, this place packs with tourists on the weekend, so preferred Monday. A novelty for breakfast; usual meat, bread, cheese, then…chocolates, and the B&B owners had a chat to me about their favourite beers (Triple Karmeliet [hers] and Duvel [his]). I did not complain about any of it.

I may not be able to report anything more til i get to Germany and back with Jaimi, so will let you know then if I survive today being an 'aussie' and don't get bashed up.

Cheers to Belgium and it's many, many, many beers.


Day 10: Back to Brugge for another Beer Festival

Ok, woke up this morning in Rochefort after a good night's sleep, and managed to get by the language divide to have breakfast and then walked back to Jemelle and a train to Brugge. Then had lunch back at the place I had the amazing Flemish stew (it wasn't as good as when I was with you Jami, but still great with the gravy), then a Leffe 9 at the pub (Cafe Vlissinghe [est 1515]) JF and I didn't get to drink at on Monday (smell of light caramel and slight citrus with alcohol. Starts of fairly mellow with the caramel and honey but carbonation and alcohol soon hit your mouth. also getting floral hops making it close to a triple as far as I can taste. Decent texture but with but alcohol hit towards the end with a dry finish and get bubblegum as it warms).So after have a new beer in an old pub, I made it to the beer festival here in the Markt, and managed to get a Westvleteren 12 straight of the bat (light caramel smell with alcohol. as straightforward as the blonde but with darker caramel flavour. Pretty smooth but over-carbonation ruins it. alcohol pretty high with a bit of a dry aftertaste, but sweetens as it warms), then a La Trappe Quadruple that was aged in oak (smells and a bit scotchy with alcohol afterburn. Overly sweet caramel possibily heightened by hops [hmm, what oak was it in?]. Has some port aspects to it with dark fruit flavours, but does mellow a bit with warmth). At this stage a pissed english tourist called Colin got chatting to me...
After that had a 2007 aged Rochefort 8 which was sedimentary but still had a good smell. Flavour only just starting to dull (or is it my taste buds, or is it that it is an 8, or is it the sediment?). Hope it would have a better taste without the sediment. Then the 2009 aged Rochefort 10 (lovely creamy caramel flavour with alcohol prominent. Of course not as good at the 2003 I had at Kulminator inn Antwerp, but still smoothing. The taste buds are dying but can still enjoy this beer for the flavour it has, but the 2003 was milder). It was time to get of the trappist and try a Chrissy Ale from St Bernadus, which had a slight spice nose. Some alcohol in this one too (10%) which converts to flavour but also caramel. taste buds have died but can still get some hop and alcohol aftertaste and hop on midpalate.
After Colin accidently smashed his glass, but managed to get a new one from somewhere, he also got us some more tokens and so decided a novelty beer was in order, so tried a Cookie Beer (sweet taste is all I can get from it at this stage). Colin and I decided one last beer was in order (though he didn't need it) so we went back to Brugs Beertje for a Hercule Stout. Then for a second night in Brugge I helped a tourist get back to their hotel before getting back to my own so I could write this now, while watching the movie 'In Bruges' (the older guy is about to jump off the building we had the beer festival in). So from Rochefort in the morning to Brugge and beers this arvo, been a pretty decent day. So now to get even more beers into me tomorrow.



ps: can you tell i am semi-pissed while writing this?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 9 – from old towns to nature…and it being 5pm and I haven’t had a beer yet

Started off early from Maastricht and got to Leige before 10am. Was going to find a bar with 900 beers, but after seeing the pure novelty factor of it and I could not find anywhere to put my luggage, went straight onto Jemelle. Some of the things I noted on my 2 hours on trains today was finally seeing hills and valleys in the landscape, and seeing little villages tucked into them, with green hills of sheep reminding me a bit of Ireland. Seeing people in these villages getting on with simple tasks like chopping firewood. People camping beside the river, and on a farm seeing calves having their own little tents each. Old growth pines on the slopes of the hills behind Sy.

Was a very relaxing journey, but was ruined when I made it to Jemelle and had trouble finding things/information. Ended up leaving my main pack at the station and walking from there to the town of Rochefort where the make my favourite trappist beer. Language barrier even harder to bridge today with the person in the information centre being pretty short with me (probably as she doesn’t know much English. Still, I don’t know any French, so am happy to have received anything from our encounter) and then finding a place to stay for tonight and having a mainly body language conversation with the man at the desk to get it done. Then continued walking to see if I could find the abbey they make the beer in. You can’t drink the beer there but I guess was part of the pilgrimage, so even though I am not sure I even found it, it was interesting to search for even if I am a little disappointed.

So it is now 5pm, and resting a little in my room before I get a rochefort in me and have an early night. A few hours training around and then another few hours walking from the station and looking for the abbey have taken it out of me. Still, will make up for it this weekend, when I go back to Brugge for my second beer festival in two weekends. They have aged rochefort and Westvleteren 12, which I found from the beer book the owner of the Rembrandt in Tongeren let me look at is an abt beer that looks really interesting to me. So I am letting go of seeing more of Belgium to try more different beers. But at least get to be in one place for more than 24 hours and not have to waste time on trains.

Anyway, now I feel a bit better after resting from the walk, will try and get a beer or two before it gets to 6pmSo I did get the beer by 6 (so not the latest I had had my first beer of the day in Belgium), at La Rochefortoise, which I sense some british in it like yesterday, and not just from the bristish songs they were playing. Is a bit strange hearing british music in a heavy French speaking area. Still they had Guinness, and I nearly though of doing what I did last night, but thought better of it after having the Rochefort 10. It was served with cheese, which was good as have done a bit of a monk thing today with me not eating since breakfast, so doing the beer nourishment thing for the day. 4 Euro for a Rochefort 10 experience, a bargain at half the price, but in this case, even double. Was yawning before I even finished it.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 8: Tongeren (Belgium) and Maastricht (Netherlands) - Chillax and Random

I am just waiting at Tongeren station waiting for a bus to take me to Maasricht, and thought, why not use this time to get down the experience I just had at Rambrant with a St Bernadus 10 on tap, a black pudding, and the owner (speaking to him made me miss the previous bus). The language barrier is a little offputting out of the major towns, but does bring you patience and makes me apologetic for making it a little harder for them. Still, they are very limber in there ability to change language very easily, and English is still common enough in these dutch regions of Belgium to allow us to communicate (thank god). The black pud was more subtle in flavour than what I thought it would be, so choice of beer was a bit too flavourful, but the pud with apple combo worked as it had before back in the tapas bar in melbourne. The owner let me look at his author signed copy of the 5th edition of the Beer Guide to Belgium, and another book going through many beers of the country. He took over the pub 20 years ago when the previous owner was about to sell to a developer who would have built apartments and so got rid of the oldest pub (1881)in the oldest town in Belgium. He left his office job to do it for one year, and here is still doing it. But he did say it was nearly over for him as he is 60 and is time to move on and retire to learn Spanish (he just likes the language and wants to live there). He also said his flavour in beers went from sweet darks to blonde bitters, which is interesting and good to see a developing palate. I could not offer much on the discussion of lambic sour beers, but he reckons Cantillon are pretty sour, and to get on a Boon Oude first. I told him I didn’t mind Faro’s and had tried a Cantillon Lou Pepe, but he said the Cantillon Oude was massive, so I am scared. Have enjoyed just looking around this town and being the only customer in the pub, and the owner was very nice to chat to me as I was finishing up lunch, so I don’t mind if I missed the previous bus. I am slowing down on the south side trip with less drinking and more chilling being the order. I have had trouble sorting out public transport, and not even sure if I can get the train to Jemelle tomorrow to get me close to Rochefort. Still, I am only by myself, so just have to look after me and see how I go. Was getting a little frazzled last night not being able to sort out today, but then Mick gave me the idea of heading into the Netherlands to Maasricht, which is suppose to be the oldest town in that country. So from one, to the other, and only a hour away. Think I have accommodation sorted for tonight, just need to find it when I arrive before going to Belgium/German/Dutch pubs, then tomorrow will focus on getting to Rochefort. In our time in brugge we found it has a beer weekend this weekend which would be good to get to, plus already know Kris up there, so see how things go. Have really had to size down the south part, but think it is definitely easier in the northern parts for tourists. Well, bus will be here soon, so better pack up this computer. Speak to you there...What a nice town this is. I won't bore this beer blog with nice medieval pics, but was nice to walk around for a few hours (well, while looking for a pub that did a La Trappe beer on tap). Found one in Kaffe De Joie is a little back lane. still had Guinness on tap, so not sure how independent it is (had the look of a british pub a bit). Still, they had the La Trappe Dubbel on tap and was able to get a Tosti Ham/Kaas.

So now I have drunk all the trappist beers in the world from within the country they are made. An unexpected success from the trip. There was a smell of cocoa and alcohol, and is mild in flavour with carbonation and alcohol over slight sweet malt and hops, but fairly cleansing finish. Some decent texture on the fore, but waters on the back of the tongue. The savory of the cheese and ham toasted sanga heightened the sweet of the beer. As well as Erdinger and Corona (insert gagging noise here, but only for the Corona), they also had a 'special beer' (125th Anniversary) of La Trappe (Isidor), so gave it a shot. Amber to ruby in colour and has a red beer smell and taste and alcohol is a bit strong. There is also a hint of honey.

Ok, so I ended up having a pint of Guinness, just so I can say I have had one in every country (will have to remember to have one when back in belgium). decent texture (creamy head but watery body) but definite bitterness that lingers in aftertaste. Not as dusty as what we get in OZ.

So after 6 hours in Netherlands my mind now wanders back to Belgium to see if I can get to my fave brewery in the country (Rochefort). Let's hope I am able to find a way there.

Tidings of Beer Guts and Chocolate Arses to you all,


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 7: Antwerp and Tongeren

Ok, so just made it to the oldest town in Belgium and so had an old beer (Rodenbach. has a slight sourness, but has good sweetness and aging reduces the sourness considerably. i actually found it quite nice to drink.) in the oldest pub in this place. Missed out on the blood pudding I wanted to try there as was busy doing a laundry wash. still, may just hang around tomorrow and have lunch there, and see more of this place.
As for today, we left rainy Ghent and headed for Antwerp, where we again, indulged in more flemish beer stewed meats (beef and rabbit) with a Grimberger Brune and La Chouffe (scotch ale). After a much needed walk to work it off we hit a great pub called Kulminator, where I tried a Black Albert Imperial stout on tap (brown head gives away a blockbuster beer with intense coffee notes but then also smooth in taste and texture. no spiking flavour but long aftertaste), a Chimey Blauwe from the year 2000 at 11.6% (caramel alcohol smell, that tastes so smooth and caramel it is more than a taste, drinking this beer is an experience. subtle by flavourful with a cleansing finish with slight alcohol. JF comment: ethereal warmth) and a Rochefort 10 from 2003 at 11.3% ( still contains amazing smell even after aging.
A knee slapping beer [Like the Hercule I had in Brugge], warm, mellow and still seems to retain much of the flavour of the original, just more rounded. both these beers were served at room temperature and love the dust on the Rochefort bottle. JF on the other hand stuck to one beer at Kulminator, an Abbey Des Rocs Special Noel (9%), which is a bit hoppy with alcohol in smell but the texture is good. I found it cleansed pretty well at the end, but JF had 'gut rot' as his first comment, then improved with 'dark raisons, rum and cinnamon, with a sweet aftertaste like drinking port'. He also wanted me to note that with my drinking after the massive lunch he thought i would be a magician and pull a rabbit out of my hat (ie, bring it up). still, proven him wrong (again), but still didn't need dinner.

I also have to add that today Jaimi and I parted ways for the moment as he has gone back to Berlin to recover from me and to play a few gigs. Massive love goes out to you my friend, as i said on the last 5 min monologue on the train to antwerp. Looking forward to seeing you next week in Germany.



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 5 and 6: Brugge and Ghent

The last night in Brussels we hit delerium beer café. 3 big levels with people from the beer festival. 27 beers on tap. Tried german dunkel (chocolate, perfect finish to the beer and choc day), rader ambree (bit of caramel), Triple Karmeliet (much creamier out of the tap and a bit more caramel), and delerium tremens (house beer that tasted pretty good as well). JF had a blonde before I persuaded him into the Saison IV, which he then stuck on for the rest of the night. Good vibe in the place which kept us there longer than I expected. So a few hours after the beer festival finish, already getting into my first beer café. We head to bruges today. On the way to the train station we met up with the polish couple we had met the day before at the beer festival. After some confusion we managed to pack ourselves onto the train the bruges and an hour later were walking through the lovely streets of it.

Got to the hostel (Charlie Rockets) and Jaimi recommended we hit a Flemish restaurant (Pas Partout), which had an amazing stroverij (beef stewed in beer) which I had with a Leffe Brune. The meat just melted in my mouth and reminded me of how it is with beef and Guinness pie. We had a quick kip before trying to get into some beers. All the places I had wanted to go were closed between lunch and dinner, so just hit a bar on the canal for a standard brune and JF went for another Saison (Urthel). By 4pm the one bar I had really wanted to try was open so we hit T’Brugs Beertje and I was finally able to find some amazing dark beers that the bar owner was very pleased to see me drinking. Of particular note was the Ellezelloise Hercule Stout and the Achel Extra Brune. The De Dolle Special Extra Export Stout, Senne Stouterik and Smisje Catherine Imperial Stout did not fare as well, but then the Hercule (creamy and dark malty) and the Achel (similar to a Rochfort 8/10) were very good. We got chatting to a couple of people at this bar including an American tourist who really appreciated her beers and was really trying to get women into beer. We hung out with Kris for the night heading to Poatersgat. At this point the night got pretty big so not much to say about the beers we had from here. Ok, so I had a big night in Belgium. JF piked and so was just left to Kris and myself to chat to the barman and English bloke sitting beside us. So it’s a bit of a blur but unlike JF, I have pulled up not too bad from the night, and so just writing this entry as I wait for him to sort himself out. Off to Ghent where we have been taking it easy on the beers (I only had three all day), did a tour of the local castle and just enjoyed the surrounds. The first beer was a Gruut Amber which is from the only brewer in Ghent. It was nice early on with caramel taste and texture but then hops hit and the beer watered at the end. I had a Leffe Brune which I think is like the toohey’s old of Belgium. We also hit a nice beer café called Waterhuis aan de Bierkant where I decided to try something a little different with a Bier de Miel Honey Beer.

It was actually a pretty easy drinking beer with I not overly sweet or syrupy. There was a well rounded flavour with enough of a cleansing, slight watery finish to get you going back for more quick enough. So managed to get through the day and not hurt myself any further from the previous night. Tomorrow is Jaimi’s last day with me in Belgium, so he better step up in Antwerp. I think from there I will start my journey to the south to take in some nice country while I drink beer. Really tough going…



Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 4: Man Up for Beef’s Beer and Chocolate Day: Brussels - Belgium

Last day of the Belgian Beer Weekend and not only did we manage to get through the 50 token we bought half way through yesterday but also the 20 more we got this morning, and the beer festival is still going as I write this. Jaimi has retired to his bed again at 6:50pm and I am left to put some tunes on and write up this blog entry.

Ok, to the day, again we got in early to the centre of town so had time to relax over a coffee/hot chocolate and gear up for the beers to be drunk. We got in at 11 as yesterday and instead of going with the masses to the Trappist Tent we hit Lindeman’s for some fruit beers to ease ourselves into the morning. The Fraboise is a very sweet gay looking beer (Jaimi pronounced everyone serving these beers was gay) but woth some slight sourness. Has a sort of cordial flavour to the sweetness. Comment from JF, ‘had just had a red bull and reckons this is a great brekkie beer. The Kriek is also gay looking with a sour fruit smell. The sweetnesss counteracts the sourness but sour dominates on sides of the mouth as it goes down your throat. Is nowhere near the Lou Pepe in terms of sourness.

The next tent was Boon where the Geuze Mariage Parfait has a pretty complex fruit flavour with some sweet before the sourness before the sourness kicks in but dissipates in aftertaste. JF comment – smokey, sour afterspike. ‘That stuff’ll give ya cancer’ The Boon faro went down a lot better with Faulkner call this the ‘sherbert tickler’. Very delicate flavours. Has sweet honey smell but again, let it warm on the tongue and the sherbert is unleashed better than the Linderman’s. More honey flavour comes from it as it warms.

It was this stage as we got our next beers we met up with a Polish couple and their dog who let us on their table and we had a great chat with them about beers (yep, another women that appreciates her beers). So we got to talk with them about beer as we drank our next beers. The Delirum Nocturnum had a nice caramel flavour with some hop finish, but blends wells with the beer, while the Gluten Free Pilsner had a dry smell for me and of course a light flavour to go with it. JF felt it was a good palate neutralizer (he is always nicer then me when saying a beer is tasteless) and so a good time out half time time beer – equivalent to a glass of water!!! Definitely not a man’s beer!! JF also got onto a Chapeau Banane and for myself it tastes just like lolly banana’s, which as know in the summer with a Boag’s St George, I don’t mind the taste of lolly bananas in beer, so it sat ok with me. JF has it down as ‘Pedal to the metal banana’, strong banana flavour. Takes him back to the days of opening footy cards – bubblegum flavour. Outrageously sweet, and a bit sherberty and powdery.Jaimi’s thoughts on the St Feuillien Saison were simply that it was a F*cking Great Beer. However, I decided to flesh this out by saying that it has a great caramel undertone on this fruity but mellowed, which comes from the aging. Good session beer with enough flavour to keep it interesting. Along with this we had the same brewer’s Triple, which has alcohol and a citrus smell. There is a citrus sweetness with light malt. Alcohol hits but is not overstated with a slight hop aftertaste. Standard, straightforward triple. JF may have thought that there was liquorice overtones, but his note-taking is atrocious.

After the previous saison, JF wanted to try another, so we got on the Saison Silly, but we found it not as mellow as the previous one, as it had a lot more caramel and also seemed to have a hop aftertaste. Still, at least there was a nice girl in the area we were drinking it, and had to make Jaimi stand in front of her so I could get this shot of her (that’s f*cking teamwork!)

Moving on, we grabbed a Duchesse De Bourgogne which starts off with a decent sweetness with the malt but something artificial about it before a sourness sets in at the end. Not very good. JF disliked it so much he doesn’t want to comment about it apart from ‘it sucks the life out of ya’. We also had a Caralous Classic which was quite different as it seems to have sweetness with alcohol but doesn’t go anywhere. Just plain and straight.As we got towards the end of our tokens, I decided to hit an old fave in St Bernardus with the Watou Triple and 12. The Triple had a nice spiced flavour with caramel, and JF found it citrusy with sweet toffee, but mellows out with not harsh on alcohol (spikes very slightly at the end). The 12 was left for JF, who had one of the best comments on beer for the day stating ‘sour bouquet, immediate sweetness that is then overridden by the toasted caramel overtones’.

With 3 tokens left I rediscovered a girl in one of the tents I had been checking out before, so decided to our last beer from her tent. It was a Maredsous Donker, which was a pretty straight-forward dubbel with typical dark malt. Not how I would like to end a beer drinking session as big as this, but then I didn’t have enough tokens to get a beer a liked, so went with the good looker instead.

So overall, has been a great 3 days drinking all the Belgium beers we have been able to try, and having it with a great mate by my side. In the end we have been able to try something like 35 beers, which is awesome, and I couldn’t have done it without Jaimi. Once we ran out of token it meant I could start getting onto the chocolate side of the day and visit two chocolate shops on the way back to the hostel (one had a hottie in it too) and finally get into experiencing this side of the adventure. Big thanks to those involved in organizing the beer festival and all the brewers for getting their products all together to allow people like ourselves to come and try some many different beers in a (almost too) convenient manner.

So that is it for Brussels at the moment. Tomorrow we head north to Bruges. Anyway, Faulkner is giving me the wind up for writing so much, so I better finish up so we can have dinner and a few more beers.

Cheers to the Belgian Beer Festival,


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 3 (Jaimi Faulkner Appreciation Day at the Belgian Beer Weekend): Brussels – Belgium

So Jaimi and I made our way back to the beer festival and managed to get some frites into us just before the gates opened and 80% of the people there went straight from the Trappiststein tent for the Westvlerten.

We were the second to be served so we were assured of getting it and the Rochefort 8 that we also missed out on yesterday. Both came from the bottle, so the Rochefort tasted the same as when I had had it previously, but it was the Westvlerten that I focused on. To be honest it is a pretty straightforward strong blonde beer, that while it doesn’t pull any punches with the alcohol, the only other flavour is from the blonde malt. This brings it across as a strong and stable beer with little aftertaste…Faulkner has nothing to add as he can’t pick the beer. Closest thing to a comment is that it reminds him of the Achel, which I did get with it’s slight citrus smell. As for his comment on the Rochefort, he feels it was too much in alcohol and flavour and is close to whiskey (can’t wait for him to try and 10 later on). Seeing it was 11am when we got in and these trappist beers are pretty strong, we decided to have one more beer before having lunch. I decided to make it a big one so we had the opportunity to cleanse the palate of it over lunch, so I went with the Scotch Silly. I was surprised and happy to see that we both felt it tasted similar to the scotch ale Stass and I made with the sweetness of brown sugar seeming to be in it. One issue that is continuing is the coldness of all the beers on offer. With beers like these, they need to be warmer, or the flavour ischanged and the alcohol spikes on the tongue.

Jaimi got into mussels while I hit a steak for lunch before heading back to the tents.

After the big morning I thought it best we get on some lighter beers, and with Faro’s in fashion for me at the moment, these were the perfect choice. The Lindeman’s I had tried before from the bottle was available on tap here, and again came out too cold for the delicate flavours of it. It was definitely sweeter on tap and only residual sourness was found after swallowing. Therefore it was not as delicate as I remember, but still gave the spritz and lovely sherberty sweetness when left to warm on the tongue. The other faro was from Chapeau and was darker in colour and fruiter in flavour. The sweetness of the beer overcomes any sourness that may be in the beer from its lambic fermentation. Therefore it wasn’t as delicate as the Lindeman’s but like this one the Chapeau Faro does sweeten up if left on the tongue to warm. A most pleasing find with these beers.

Keeping with the light fruit type of beers, Jaimi was feeling the need for chocolate, and luckily enough there was one available, so we hit that tent for a Floris Chocolat and a Floris Honey. Jaimi didn’t seem to mind the chocolate, but as soon as I tasted it realized they used chocolate essence and not real cocoa, so it spikes with oversweetness before disappearing. It actually smelled of nutela. The honey was similar with a very light body and artifical sweetness to it that ends slightly tart. With things starting to go downhill a bit, I tried what I thought would be blockbusters to get us through with a Buffalo Belgian Stout and Van den Bossche Kerst Pater (Christmas beer that I had heard had chocolate as a flavour). Of course the later went to jaimi and I had the stout. The Kerst had similar nutela smell as the Floris Chocolat but had a malt backbone to give it a bit more in body and flavour.

The Stout was watery and had little interesting malt characteristics. Both of us were disappointed with them both. At this stage I tried again to pull out something big and so grabbed a Malheur Dark Brut. While it had a fair bit of alcohol flavour it held itself together ok, but not enough to get us out of the slump. So we decided to get out of the crowd and gain get something to eat. We ended up having Pho which was ok, but didn’t do much for me.

We had planned on heading back for two more beers, but by then the lineup to get into the drinking area was long and it looked like some folks on the inside were stating to hit a certain level of drunkenness, so we stopped for a waffle and then a Rochefort 10, which I am drinking now as I made these notes in my new belgian beer weekend shirt. Jaimi agrees with me now that this is better than the 8, and needs warmth to help bring out the flavours. So we might try for a kip and then hit a bar nearby for one or two more beers before our final day at the Belgium beer weekend. I think I may have broke Jaimi a little bit and I am pretty cosy with my beer consumption, whereas he is feeling it a bit more.

Some things both Jaimi and can have definitely agreed on is that European girls have good cheekbones and look like they actually enjoy beer, and that a resolution to come from Jaimi Faulkner Appreciation Day at the Belgium Beer Weekend is that I should make a potato bake with Bailey’s instead of cream.

I like both of these observations, and observing choads in the crowd of beer drinkers at this event.