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Old 11-11-2004, 09:08 PM   #1
the possum
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Default Belgian Ales!!

I had always heard wonderful things about Belgian ale, and finally got to try my first one not long ago.

I was instantly hooked. I haven't gotten to try very many kinds yet, but that will change as soon as I can find some more. A very good friend, who loves wines, etc., has been raving about the Framboise Ale from... well, I forget the brand. This stuff was so complex, unique, distinctive,...

Any fans here who could point out their favorite picks?



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Old 11-12-2004, 03:27 AM   #2
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I spent a semester abroad living in the Netherlands about a year ago, and was actually living in Maastricht very close to the Belgian border. My favorites were always the Belgian beers. I really preffered them to most of the German beers I tried. Unfortunately at the time I really didn't know what I was drinking, just that it tasted good. Prior to this trip my knowledge of beer, like many Americans, could have been summed up in two words- Bud Lite. This experience really opened my eyes to the world of real beer. This was actually one of the main things that got the idea of homebrewing planted in my head.

But to answer your question, unfortunately I don't really remember specific names or even brands. Most of my drinking experiences consisted of one of the locals handing me a drink and saying "Here try this, its from Belgium." Either that or I was too drunk to remember... I might have to email some friends over there and ask them to recommend a few to try and clone. The Framboise name you mentioned does sound familiar though.



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Old 11-12-2004, 01:53 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Truckster.
I remember the brand I was looking for-
It's one of Lindeman's Alambic ales. Last night after browsing here for a while, I was naturally thinking about good beverages and decided to check out a small local store. I had never seen any Belgians there before, so I asked the owner. As luck would have it, she had most of a case of Lindeman's Peche (peach) Lambic Ale in the back. A customer had special ordered the case, bought like 3 bottles (they're 750 ml bottles, with both a metal cap and cork) and never came back. She told me if I liked this bottle, she'd make me a deal on the rest of the case.
This stuff is really more like a complex mix between beer and wine. The ale is fermented with wild local yeasts and fresh peaches, and also aged in oak barrels.

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Old 11-16-2004, 06:59 PM   #4
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Default Don't get me started

Duvel, Chimay, St. Paul's......

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Old 11-16-2004, 07:45 PM   #5
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richanne-
No, please do get started! I have only been exposed to just a couple Belgians and would love to try more. I have a lot to learn about them. If you want to wax poetic on the subject, please feel free. Are there sub categories within this genre?

Those names you mentioned- are they the brewing companies or label names from one company? Any particular brews you could recommend would help me narrow down the list to get started on.

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Old 11-16-2004, 07:56 PM   #6
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I do remember Duvel, it was excellent. Does anybody have a clone for this one?

Possum- If you are interested in Lambic style, there was a good article in BYO last month (October I think?) on Lambics with some clone recipes.

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Old 11-17-2004, 07:34 PM   #7
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To live in the Netherlands for a year did you have to go through a lot or are they pretty relax on their temp-living policies.

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Old 11-18-2004, 04:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Currie
To live in the Netherlands for a year did you have to go through a lot or are they pretty relax on their temp-living policies.
I was only there for about 4 months. It wasn't that difficult because I was an exchange student through my university. There were quite a few forms to fill out (some in Dutch, kind of a strange feeling to be signing things you can't read...) but everything went smoothly. Had I not been a student or if I had stayed much longer than a few months it would have been much more difficult to get all of the permits.
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Old 12-28-2004, 11:38 PM   #9
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I have been trying new beers lately, and came across Lindeman's Gueuze...a blend of different aged lambics. Wow. At $5 a bottle, it's worth every penny. I've had one or two other belgians that had a high alcohol content, which I don't like in a beer. But they had an excellent taste and complexity.

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Old 12-29-2004, 11:56 PM   #10
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Default Lambic

Lindeman's is...OK...but you have to understand that they sweeten their lambic. As do Boon, Liefman's, and most of the others. To really taste lambic in all its greatness, get a Cantillon. They are the best lambics widely available.

Other Belgian favorites:

Rodenbach Grand Cru - it is a CRIME this brewery was shut down. One of the best beers the world has ever known.

Hoegaarden Wit - Wit is one of my favorite styles of beer. It's incredibly complex, light, clean, Celis Wit, which used to be made in Texas (are they back??) was better. The same guy, Pierre Celis, started Hoegaarden before starting Celis in Texas. Great White by Lost Coast in Eureka California is another Wit made domestically.

Hansen's lambic - more raw than Cantillon, but a great lambic for those who love the horse blanket There are other rare, authentic lambics around, too. Keep your eyes peeled. There was a great Belgian bar I found in Philadelphia that had a ton of beers, including authentic SOUR lambics I had never tasted.

Chimay/Orval/trappists in general - try em all. Monks who make beer. It's a higher calling

Duchess de Bourgnoune - I throw this one in because I had it at the Toronado in San Francisco a while back (side note...if you love beer and are in San Francisco GO TO TORONADO ON HAIGHT STREET ). Anyway. What a beer! Dark, malty, with a tart hint of sour lambicy flavor. Fruity sweetness. Complex, weird, unique, Belgian. It reminded me of a Rodenbach. Best beer suprise I have had in years. Anyone know anything about this one?

Cantillon, Cantillon, Cantillon - probably the best beer made in the world today. Go there if you are ever in Brussels. Buy it if you ever see it. I have a bad feeling they won't be around forever. All Cantillon lambics are world class, authentic representations of the style.

And so many many many more. There are bars in Belgium with literally thousands of beers available. Seasonals, small breweries, beers that never see anyplace outside of Belgium. Try to go there someday. I thought I would never be able to leave Bruges.

Janx



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