Beer ye, beer ye!
On the eve of December 3rd in the year 2014, ten fellow Beerstitioneers braced the rainy and slushy wrath of Mother Nature to find warm shelter in a humble abode in St-Henri, Montreal.
Equipped with only their taste buds, the gentlemen of Beerstitution were eager to learn more about the legendary beer-brewing nation located in the heart of Europe. They yearned to experience first-hand what centuries of beer-making know-how tastes like.
Welcome to Belgium.
Yes, the theme of Beerstitution Volume 3 (BV3) was a country. I choose this country not only because it is often times synonymous with beer, but also because it is home to my favourite beer of all time, the likes of which you will learn below.
But first, a little background to the three reasons behind my Belgian theme.
Firstly, as the contributors to Wikipedia have outlined, beer has been brewed in the modern geographical location of Belgium for nearly a thousand years. If this isn’t legit street cred I don’t know what is.
The most famous styles of beer to be associated with Belgium are undoubtedly Trappist and Abbey beers. Without going into too much detail here, know that (1) there are only ten officially recognized trappist monasteries in the world that can proudly bear the mark of an “Authentic Trappist Product” and (2) abbey beers are similar in style to monastery beers and carry the mark of “Certified Belgian Abbey Beer”. There is definitely great potential for a future Beerstitution theme here. Just saying.
Cool organizations like a global network of beer-producing monasteries and a union protecting beer brewed in abandoned abbeys is definitely something that has the je ne sais quoi that makes drinking these glorious beers something special.
Secondly, what I also greatly admire about a beer-drinking and brewing nation such as Belgium is that they are meticulous when it comes to the experience of drinking beer. Among the approximate 180 Belgian breweries very few produce (and distribute) their beer in can formats. This is because the variety of beer styles (e.g., amber ales, pale ales, dubbels, tripels, the list goes on!) all require, or are best experienced, with their own respective drinking vessels (i.e., cool shaped glasses). For reasons varying between the controlling of the amount of beer head (yes it’s a term!) to opening up the beer’s bouquet to flat-out marketing differentiation, beer glasses are most def a classy addition to every Beerstbitutioneer’s cupboard. For Beerstitution Volume 3 we unfortunately did not have enough sexy, elaborate glasses for all of us to enhance our tasting pleasure—it’s all good, maybe next time!
Lastly, the third pillar of Belgium beer awesomeness is their higher than average alcohol by volume. To put our night of beer-drinking delight into perspective, we started the event off with a 6.3% and ended with a delicious 11.3% taste of amazing. Needless to say, we had a good time 😉
As a quick note, my favourite beer of all time is La Chouffe. Why? Because back in fall 2010, while waiting to access the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam (during a trip to Oktoberfest in Munich I might add, booya!) I popped into the local grocery store (because you can drink on the street), hit up the beer section, saw a funky little gnome-like character on the label and never turned back. Maybe it was the hype of being in Europe with some buddies. Maybe it was the excitement of simply living life to its fullest. But on that day La Chouffe was magical. It opened up my taste buds to a whole new world of exciting, flavourful beer and will forever be the beer that got me into beers.
You’re probably thinking right now, “John enough with the teasing already”. So let’s get to it and list the stars of the BV3. With the exception of beer #2 (being a Belgian-style beer from Québec) all the Belgian beers are, well, from Belgium. As well, I’ve included five of my favourite beer quotes from the night. They are added to the particular beer as the comments were made during its tasting.
La Liste des Bières:
- Floreffe Dubble | Brasserie Lefebvre | Wallonia, Belgium | 330ml format | ABV: 6.3% Danko V.
- L’AMOSzus Blonde | Belgh Brasse d’Amos | Amos, Qc. | 750ml format | ABV: 7.0% Phil T.
- La Chouffe | Brasserie d’Achouffe | Achouffe, Belgium | 750ml format | ABV: 8.0% John M. [host]
- Tripel Karmeliet | Brouwerij Bosteels | Buggenhout, Belgium | 330ml format | ABV: 8.3% Boris
- Blanche de Bruxelles | Brasserie Lefebvre | Wallonia, Belgium | 330ml format | ABV: 5.5% Amadou D.*
- Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel | Brasserie d’Achouffe | Achouffe, Belgium | 750ml format | ABV: 9.0% Dave M.
- Chimay Reserve Grande Réserve Extra Forte | Bières de Chimay | Chimay, Belgium | 750ml format | ABV: 9.0% Ricky B.
- St. Bernardus Abt 12 | Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV | Watou, Belgium | 750ml format | ABV: 10.0% Chris T.
- Trappistes Rochefort 10 | Brasserie de Rochefort | Rochefort, Belgium | 330ml format | ABV: 11.3% Daniel W.
- Delirium Tremens Extra Forte | Brasserie L. Huyghe SA | Flandre-Orientale, Belgium | 330ml format | ABV: 8.7% Matt S.**
* In a manner that only he can masterfully execute, Amadou showed up fashionably late. Consequently, we first threw him to the proverbial wolves and then happily cracked open his “warm-up” 5.5% Blanche de Bruxelles.
** Like our dear friend Amadou, our ol’ pal Matt showed up late with even more swag because after a lineup of nine solid beers, the 8.7% Delirium was a treat to remember (or forget) as he was given a warrior’s welcome home to (by now) a rowdy but happy group of Beerstitutioneers.
Overall, with a star-studded team of class-act beers such as the one above, Beerstitution Volume 3 was clearly a splendid success. From bringing back classic Dave Chappelle Show skits to playing the La Chouffe song on loop and dancing arm-in-arm to blasting out Tomorrowland jams (sweet music festival that takes place in Boom, Belgium) the Beerstitutioneers that night definitely had a great time!
And this brings us to the fan voted beer categories for BV3: Best in Show, Most Surprising and new category added that very night, Preferred Session Beer.
Preferred Session Beer:
With 40% of the vote, Blanche de Bruxelles took most Preferred Session Beer. It was rather obvious that on any given sunny summer afternoon on a dock, it’s 5.5% abv. is way more sessionable than say the Rochefort 10. However, I’m certain there are some out there that would passionately argue otherwise (Daniel, I’m looking at you).
Considering that most Beerstitutioneers would not have selected a Belgian-style beer from Amos nor a beer bottle painted to look like ceramic, it makes sense that both L’AMOSzus and Delirium were tied for Most Surprising beers.
Best in Show:
To my dismay, my go-to beer of beers, La Chouffe didn’t win Best in Show. It did, however, tie Tripel Karmeliet as Best Beer in Show that Wednesday night 😉 Plus, we all know that all beers at winners in their own respect at Beerstitution. Well, maybe not Keiths…
Re: La Chouffe
“That is clean. So f**cking clean”, Chris T. referring to the smoothness of the beer in question. I wholeheartedly agree.
Re: Blanche de Bruxelles
“This is the definition of dock beer”, anonymous. I have no clue who said it. Whoever you are, thank you.
Re: Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel
“It’s like a Tomahawk to the mouth”, Dave M. himself. Yup. This makes sense to me. Any beer named as a double triple has to leave you with a strong impression.
“I think he just did the Belgian dip”, Ricky B. as someone dipped their nose in the beer head of the Houblon Chouffe. Genius, Ricky. Genius.
Re: Delirium Tremens Extra Forte
“I saw walking alligator and dancing elephant on the label. I just had to buy it.” Matt S. about his reasoning for selecting Delirium. Clearly this man knows how to choose a winning beer.
Fellow Beerstitutioneers, I think I can speak on the behalf of us all at BV3, but that night we did indeed learn a little bit more about beer that comes from Belgium.
Thank you all for an amazing night of laughs, love and great beer!
May the next event, hosted by our favourite Frenchman, Boris, be as “educational” as BV3.
À vous Boris!
That Guy From Beerstitution