Dienstag, 20. September 2016

Festival des Bieres Artisanales, 17 September 2016, Nivelles, Belgium


Being for more than a year in Belgium, it is slowly time to present you the town I live (and some beer on top).

Nivelles is located in the Wallon-Brabant region of Belgium and its population is almost exclusively French speaking (and they mean it). Its rather small town (28000 people) with a long history. According to Wikipedia the first settlers started to work here around 4000 bc. Then it suffered from Roman and German invasions.
The important part however starts with a woman named Gertrude, who became first abbes of the monastery founded here by her mother. As the Gertrude was venerated a saint upon her death, the place required space to handle the growing numbers of pilgrims. That’s how the impressive collegiate church of Saint Gertrude was build. The area around the collegiate is the cultural and leisure center of the town until today. In fact, the collegiate itself is worth seeing (on top you can see the sarcophagus of St Gertrude and listen to a famous 49-bell Carillion here).

Welcome to Nivelles.

Now why would I write in the beer blog about the small city in Belgium. Well, since recently we also have a beer festival. Yes, I know it’s also about food, but, sincerely, who give a damn about the food if you can get beer. The festival was held on last Saturday, which made me going to the center of the town.
There was one significant problem about this (and any other festivals) – the amount of beer to try. I strongly believe that trying everything is impossible, and even if possible that would have some consequences.

Therefore, I have decided to spend some time in upfront and took a look on the lists of beers/breweries that were supposed to be present. Then I looked on the rate beer and decided to drink the ones that I haven’t so far seen in the local supermarket and they are not (or little) present in the RateBeer (I will try to add them ASAP).

Style: Triple Blonde
Brewed: Brasserie De Leval-Trahegnies

I have to admit that I was very eager to get and try this one, and in fact not only me. I have seen people buying whole boxes. Triple blonde is very unusual as a style (did you ever see triple Pils/Lager?) and I was quite curious to see how does this tastes.
The answer is: Heavy.
First of all, probably because it’s a triple – L’imperatrice does not really look like a blonde. Its dark amber in color. Head is large and stays for long. Beer is unfiltered and you can clearly see some yeast remnants swimming inside. Aroma is very weak, mostly malt. Taste is dominated by a mixture of malt and alcohol. It’s not a bad beer, but for my taste way too heavy alcoholic and vastly lacking any hops to compensate. Bit one-sided, but worth trying. If you like strong beers add to must try list.

Style: Belgian Ale/Ambree
Brewed: Brasserie Brootcorens Erquelinnes (?)

Big surprise. After having almost no aroma (maybe some malts), the taste was really a blast. Do not expect fruity American notes, still, there is a nice combination of malts, some bitter notes and some extraordinary effect of the beer foam. The feeling is like drinking a beer with whip cream on top. Foam is very stable, and its gives this smooth feeling on the palate. Totally crazy, pleasant feeling. My favorite one in this fest and one of the most tasty beers I know.

Abbaye des Villers IX
Style: triple
Brewed: Abbaye de Villers

Definitely an average triple style beer. Please remember that an average beer in Belgium may have a higher quality than an average beer in any other country. But this one is an average of the style – medium sweet, medium bitterness, medium aroma. Mediocre to the bone. It won’t hurt you, but there is no major pleasure to get one.


La Gertrude Ambrée

Style: Amber ale
Brewed: Bruno Vandendriessche and Emanuele Corazzini
www.gertrudebeer.be (?)

Based on the taste of that beer, St. Gertrude must have been a person that I wouldn’t like – mostly tasting of metal and oxidation and very small hints of caramel.  Really, not my favorite one. Bad balanced. Had to throw it to the sink.

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