Say what you will. I have a soft spot for Belgians. Je les aime. Next to sours & IPAs, Belgians compete for my heart. (The beer. Not the men. Though I’m sure they’re lovely.) Now I will ask you to be patient with me this month. While I do have passionate adoration for Belgians, I don’t drink them as frequently as say, IPAs, Pale Ales and such. (And yes yes, “Belgians” is a vast generalization) Anyways, I don’t have a lot under my belt and so for Bread & Belgians in February, I’m learning as I go. I’m learning as I go with everything, really, but especially with these.
My only time in Belgium has been golf-related, and at the time, beer was the furthest thing from my mind. In school we played against other international schools for our tournaments, so that frequently meant travelling. We went twice to courses outside Brussels in my year, then I returned again to watch my brother play and visit Brugges.
My favorite course was a very simple and patient place, previously a working farm, with tiny stone roads, impossibly dark green fields, and constantly misty grounds. The other courses we had played were stunning – crisp, perfectly groomed lawns, beautiful main houses, pretty gravel patios where we’d wait for the other players. But this was certainly more charming. The gardens were more haphazard, but well loved – there because of someone’s love of the earth rather than wanting to create a picture perfect image. Instead of pretty gravel patios, we sat on exhausted couches on gritty stone floors in the old house waiting for everyone to finish. Paint was chipping from the walls (I wanted desperately to peel that one eye-level piece that had just begun to lean away from the wall), and everything was generally in a slow state of disrepair. It was unpretentious, tired, but quiet and relaxed – without embellishment. Really though, this place could easily pass for the Shire.
Back to the basics
North Coast Brewing Company
Belgian Style Golden Ale (North Coast), Belgian Strong Pale Ale (Beeradvocate), Belgian Strong Ale (Rate Beer)
Bought at Friendly Package Liquors
All in all…
I’m so looking forward to this series, and excited about kicking it off with this. The Pranqster smelled like under-ripe (practically green!) bananas & daisies, and was a pure honey color. Honey I couldn’t even see through this glass its was so cloudy. It was hard to put my excitement aside to focus on the beer, but even that aside, I enjoyed how simple and unassuming it was. Of course it was bright & extremely yeasty, but was on the sweet side (maybe like Challah bread?), which helped to back the bread taste (which can be super overwhelming in others). Other than that I really didn’t taste any special additions or spices (maybe pears if I stretched my imagination) – but that’s okay, it was good all on its own. I was frankly a little nervous that I was missing some flavor, or something else to this beer, but even after having it several more times this week that was still all I got. And I could barely tell I had a beer at all – there was barely any aftertaste and it didn’t leave any residual feeling or flavor. Sort of like meringues…short, swift, and airy.
Recommend to a friend?
Yes, I would. It didn’t knock me over, but it was a good beer. I wouldn’t stop someone in the street, take them by their shoulders and say “You have got to try this! Follow me!”
Safe for lightweights?
7.6% isn’t dangerous per se, but it did make my head feel a little stuffy
Six pack worthy?
Yes please! A four pack I believe…
But don’t take my word for it…
Beer in Focus
(Duvel vs Pranqster)
(climb a peak, have a drink!)
I hope to see you Sunday for the first bread recipe of this series!