Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cuvée des Trolls

Cuvée des Trolls, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 7%, from Dubuisson.

This one of my favorite beers.
I'll just start by saying that.

It was also one of the last beers I had in Belgium before our honeymoon ended. Sitting in the Delirium Cafe, flipping through the giant menu book, I couldn't resist the cute little hop-hat wearing troll logo. It was one of the featured beers on the menu, and overwhelmed by choices, I decided to give it a shot, and I was glad I did.

Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find this in the States (or completely impossible so far). But for my birthday Cari was nice enough to order a little 6-pack gift pack that includes the frosted Trolls glass from Belgian Shop, a great online store for some of the most obscure Belgian beers...yes, you can even order Westvleteren. Just be prepared to pay about 10x the amount of shipping costs you'd expect.

So..what's it like?
Unfortunately, the bottles are tiny... 25 cl, or about 8 1/2 oz. But maybe a big bottle is too much goodness at once.
It's pale orangey-yellow, virtually no head, with light carbonation.
The smell is extremely fruity - some apple, pear, orange...maybe some honey.
The taste is just as sweet, fruity, with some light hops in the aftertaste. But in spite of all the sweetness, it's still fairly crisp. It's just a nice, sweet, clean, refreshing beverage (with a deceptive amount of alcohol).

Most reviews I've read have been pretty mediocre, but for me, it's a real treat.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

De Proef Collaboration/Signature Ale

De Proef Brouwerij's Brewmaster's Collaboration: Signature Ale (with Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing). 750ml 8.5%

This is an interesting bottle - a collaboration between the American Port Brewing Company and The Belgian brewers De Proef. The goal was to make an ale with American hops and Belgian yeast. The result is a hybrid with Amarillo, UK Phoenix and German Brewer's Gold hops, fermented with traditional yeast as well as brettanomyces (funky, wild stuff).

The ale pours a nice light coppery brown...pretty hazy. Big fluffy head that punches down pretty quickly, but leaves some nice lacing.

The smell is big sweet cotton candy, some malt, apples, a little bit of brett mustiness. Not at all what I was expecting. It smells like dessert.

I'm ready to get hit by some major saison-like funkiness in the taste, but it's far from it. Pretty well-tempered, fairly sweet at first, with some strong carbonation. There's a little bit of bready-ness, some yeast fruity/spiciness...followed by some pretty assertive earthy hops in the aftertaste ("Yuck, too much!" says Cari - I disagree.). Halfway through the glass, there's some alcohol warmth, but it remains pretty drinkable. It's kind of an interesting ride from sweet to earthy on the tongue. The finish is very dry.
Very tasty, but at about $16 a bottle, it's a little pricey. Still, a very interesting experiment.