Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Bottoms Up with Belgian and Irish Beers. #3

Bottoms Up with Belgian and Irish Beers.

Porterhouse Hersbruker Hops Pilsner, 5.0%, 500ml bottle

Gold in colour, nice white head (doesn’t last long), plenty of bubbles. Fruity, floral and spicy aromas. A very pleasant step-up on the normal lager, good clean taste, excellent backbone of hops, a refreshing balanced Pilsner, and very satisfying overall.

They say: a classic Mittel Europa style of Pilsner and a seriously good night.This is a classic, stylish Pilsner. Think Rolling Stones, not Justin Bieber. We brew for taste and in the brewing we look carefully at how we do it. We don’t add any “extras” – no additives, no enhancing chemicals. Just simple, pure ingredients.

By the way, how many think of Justin Bieber while having a pint?

Closed with cap, with pull-off tab. Label tells us it’s an Honest Independent Beer. No guidance on bottle as to serving temperature, but around the 8 degree marks seems fine.
Malts: Lager Malt, Cara Malt, Vienna Male, Munich Malt
Hops: Galena, Nugget, Hallertau Hersbrucker, Hallertau Perle.

Wicklow Wolf “Apex Oatmeal Stout”, 6.5%, 440ml can

Pours black with a short-lived coffee head. Chocolate and coffee mingle on the smooth and slightly sweet palate. Creamy and full flavoured from start to finish. Nothing wrong with cream, as we know very well in Cork, but personally I’d prefer a little more bite, just a little, from the black wolf.

They say: A member of the Alpha Pack, their core range, Apex champions a heavy malt bill, brewed with only the best flaked Irish Oats, specialty chocolate and coffee malts. Expect an intense burst of fresh roast coffee, milk chocolate & a delicious creamy smoothness. A full flavoured stout that will leave you wanting more.

Hops used is Apollo and the advice is to serve this stout at 8 degrees.

Did you know, they have their own hop farm in Roundwood?  They are committed to sustainability - that’s why they’ve moved from bottles to cans - and you can also read about that on the site.

Westmalle Trappist Dubbel, 7%, 33cl bottle

As you pour, note the raised Trappist collar around the neck, a material reminder that this revered beer comes from the Westmalle abbey, about 40 minutes drive east of Antwerp.
Colour is a reddish brown with a big off white head. The mildly intense aromas of ripe banana, caramel and hops are unusual, at least to me.  And you’ll find that mildness also as you savour the complex taste (remember this beer has had a re-fermentation in the bottle), malt and fruit in harmony, right through to the fresh and hoppy dry finalé. An elegant grown up beer to be served at 6-14 degrees. 
The brewer makes three beers. Westmalle Tripel and Dubbel are sold by stores and served in cafés and restaurants in Belgium and the Netherlands. You will also find them in selected outlets around the world.
Westmalle Extra is only brewed twice a year and is produced for the monks’ own use. The monks and their guests consume it with their midday meal.
What to pair with your Dubbel? Check some very interesting suggestions here.
Westmalle Abbey forms part of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. All communities in the Order maintain ties of mutual solidarity. Each community is a training school in the art of loving thy neighbour. This love and solidarity is extended to all people of good will, as can be clearly seen in the way visitors are received at the abbey.  

Straffe Hendrik Brugs Tripel, 9%, 33cl bottle

This comes from Bruges in a golden robe with a big white head. Mildly citrusy in the aromas. Citrus again on the palate, banana too. Early sweetness turns to bitterness, caramel to citrus, as we reach the finish where the hops come into their own. Well made, well balanced. So far though, the best Belgian has been the Duvel Tripel Hop Citra.

They say: The name means strong Henri. Straffe Hendrik Tripel is a golden triple with a sturdy white collar. The aroma is spicy with hints of black pepper, coriander and ginger, and is even insinuating the presence of oranges.

The beer is brewed with a selection of Saaz and Styrian hops of a very high quality. The subtle blend of six special varieties of malt gives the beer a well-balanced and powerful taste. Refermentation in the bottle generates a long natural shelf life. Serving temperature: 6 degrees.

Food pairing advice: The combination with zesty fish plates is a real treat, but Straffe Hendrik can also be paired with cheeses such as Camembert or Bruges Blomme. Straffe Hendrik is known to be a real delicacy when combined with desserts based on pineapple or mango.

The round, by the way, it not like a boxing round. Not really looking for a winner here. If we have four winners, then so much the better, for me!

Also in this series:
An Irish and Belgian Beer Quartet play a pretty tune on a Friday evening.
Best of Beers. Another Belgian v Irish Round #2

All the beers above were bought in Bradley's, North Main Street, Cork.
Their Belgian Selection box (12 bottles) costs €45.00.
Their Irish Selection box (14 bottles/cans) costs €65.00. 

More details here.

No comments: