The night started with the usual Friday tasting at Purvis, and was good to see Belgium get a start with two trappist and a saison. However, even before that, I arrived just as Damien was cracking a few other beers. So under the new beer sign over the table, we tried out these seven beers.
The Doss Blockos Pale Lager had some slight malt sweetness, but was pretty short on flavour for me. The James Squire Pale Ale was even more featureless, apart from some slight sulphur in aroma and flavour. Brewboys Ace of Spades is one I have had a few times, and just find the coffee to be a little too much for my taste, and has some dryness at the back for those that like that roasted aspect in their stout. I was happily surprised by Little Creatures 'The Dreadnought', which had a great dark malt body and was even picking up licorice in smell and taste coming from the malt and alcohol (7.4%). Pretty close to an imperial stout actually. A bit of a change getting onto the Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux after that, but with 9.5% alcohol, this saison actually held it quite well, and had some good fruity flavour. The Orval actually tasted better than I remember, and went well after the saison with some nice citrus going on in it. Still, having the classic Chimay Blue reminded my why the Orval is still one of my least favourite trappist beers. I guess it is tough at the top, and for me that velvet caramel will always out do a blond.
With the tastebuds engaged, Damien and I went into Biero, and with the menu looking like this, I was very excited to try out the beers on it I hadn't tried before. I wanted to start off with the black IPA's, but the Kooi had some trouble in the keg. Speaking to one of the brewers he said it wasn't pouring very well as they were a late call up for the night, so again I missed out on trying this beer. So with the Feral Karma Citra, we just tried the Meantime London Stout. Both are pretty low in alcohol, especially when compared with the imperial stouts they had on show. I don't mind the citra hop so enjoyed this beer. Having the Meantime against this was probably not the best idea, especially as Meantime seem to be quite subtle in the brews they do. Still, I quite like the malt and body to the Meantime, and found it a good cleanser, to keep my tastebuds up for the next round.
But before that, we tried out the Viven Imperial IPA while trying out the pork burgers Biero had for the night (delicious by the way). I really liked the balance in this beer, and was very well rounded with a great meld of malt and hops. In terms of balance, it even reminded me slightly of the Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique. It was pretty short in length, but just made you want to go back and try it again. One aspect I quite like to find in beers, and was happy to find it again in the Nogne O Two Captains Double IPA.
Ok, now for the main event: a taste off of imperial stouts! grabbing a Bright Brewery Stubborn Russian, Feral Boris and Hargreaves Russian Imperial Stout, I happily lost my taste buds with these beers. The Hargreaves was the most impressive and the one I enjoyed the most with good malt and warming alcohol, which does become a bit overbearing. But luckily I had already had quite a few beers before this one, so the tastebuds were dulled by the time it came to this one. The Feral Boris is probably one of the most disappointing imperial stouts I have had, with it tasting more like a black IPA with an overuse of hops. It is suppose to have 11.5% alcohol, but none of that warming aspect came through, and the malt is quickly dominated by the hops. The Bright are known by me to be quite limited in flavour, and this one held that tradition for me. Very standard, and was almost a good middle ground for the others.
Before finishing up there we also had a quick try of the 2 Brothers 'Terminator' Double Bock. Expecting (and wanting) that lovely caramel, I was disappointed not to get that, and to find it had a fairly thin body to it as well. We have also tried one or two other beers before we left, but by then the tastebuds were dying quickly, and my ability to remember was also diminishing.
Making our way to Penny Blue (my first time at this bar), I saw the Hargreaves was on the handpump (dangerous), but before I could tempt fate Damien brought me a bottle of the Kooi black IPA I had missed out on trying at Biero. I actually did not enjoy it that much as I felt the malt was thin and fairly flavourless. Speaking to the brewer about this, he said they actually intended this, which I was pretty surprised with, but understand if you don't want the malt taking away from the hop flavour they wanted to get from the beer. The hop is quite strong and was even able to make a mark on my tongue, so must have been pretty hoppy. After another couple of random beers (one was called Hopsickle I think, and another was a decent stout), we finally called it a night.
Well, that is as much as I can recall from that night, and happy to get as much of it down here as I could. I can definitely say that without this blog I would have forgotten many of the beers I have had over the past 18 months, and do find myself coming back to remind myself and compare beers I have had previously.
My thanks and apologies to those that have come this far with me.