This time we have visited the far west of Belgium for another beer festival. Honestly, I was quite excited to see that one, not because of the location, but because most of the invited breweries are not Belgian.
Somebody here did realize that craft beer exists outside of Belgium.
Some facts: 130 beers, 19 breweries form around the world. On top festival is organized by a brewery (Alvinne) in a magical place called Bierhalle Deconinck.
Because for a beer geek, entering the gigantic shop with thousands of beers from all the world is better than finding the Alladin’s treasure. The festival venue itself is rather average, modern building with stands and places to eat. All advantages of being inside (no smokers) and enough space to have fun.
What I also noticed were groups of people not only drinking beers but also taking notes and rating the stuff. Yes, I have seen that before, but I have never seen so many. This again tells you that people coming to this festival are interested in craft. Neat, clean but nothing more.
One very important information for the next year! Buy your ticket online! The festival tickets were sold out already on Friday around 7 pm.
Something fancy, a wash station. Wash your glass in between the beers. Nice idea.
How about the beer? Here are today's candidates.
6oN Magic Six
(Scottland), Pale Ale
Good start of the festival. Very nice pale ale. Nice aroma of grass and tropical fruits, mostly mango. Bitter enough to satisfy geeks. Just don’t expect the power of IPA and you will enjoy this one. For everybody.
Guineu.’t Verzet Super Yeah!
Another solid example of IPA. It is going more in the direction of classical British IPA with a small modern aromatic twist. I am not a fan of classical British IPAs but if somebody is, can probably enjoy it.
Laugar Random 80
Spain, Rye IPA
All the time I believe, that, in this case I was given a wrong beer. Some stout or so. Therefore, no rating for this one.
La Pirata Tremenda Revival
Yep, I was revived after trying this beer. Great IPA with overwhelming hoppy aroma and more than solid bitterness. Medium body, medium carbonation. Close to perfection.
Het Uiltje Old Enough To Drink
Netherlands, Icedistilled IPA
This is a perfect example of what craft can be. Take a very good IPA and freeze it. What happens is that the beer essence will to some extend separate from water. Remove the water and thaw the whole thing. What is left is the IPA essence, a pure pleasure. Brutal heavy aromas of hops, perfect balance with malt. 21% alcohol, but balanced in a way that the beer does not feel alcoholic at all. We are talking here about one of the best beers I had in my life. Thick, hoppy, aromatic. It kicked my ass. World Class.
Moreover, the festival price of 2 tokens (€3 for a glass) is more than OK. These guys will start bottling the beer on Monday. I want 10 bottled for a start please.
One comment – is the name and the amount of alcohol a kind of a joke from the USA? Legal age to start drinking in US is 21…
Beavertown Uptown Monk
England, Rye Triple aged in White Wine Barrels
Another proof that you need a lot of aroma to age a beer in a barrel. Belgian Triples are rather malty and yeasty and its clearly not enough to cope with aggressive white wine flavors. At the end its more a wine than a beer. You may like it, you may not. Overall it is interesting.
Kees Caramel Fudge Stout
Netherlands, Imperial Stout
I was expecting much more seeing the word Fudge in the name. My saliva was coming out in the expectation of thick rich aromatic wonder. Sadly, this stout is too watery to deserve the name Fudge. Caramel enough, but not enough overall.
Alvinne & Friends Mano Negra Cognac BA
Belgium, Imperial Stout
And this is an example of what barrel aging can do to a strong beer. Marvelous aroma of cognac, dried plum and roasted malts. Heavy, thick structure. Flavor of roast and plums, no clear alcohol. Almost no carbonation. This is not everybody’s beer. But if you dare to try it is worth it. Brilliant.
Alvinne & Friends Cuvee d’Erpigny Pedro Ximenez
Blond beer aged in Pedro Ximenez sherry barrels. Apparently this one was aged for one year. OK, it may need more. Or it may never come to the point where it would be a worthy beer. Too watery, too average. Overally disappointing.