The Pacific Northwest is a great place to be if you love great beer, and Seattle has one of the best spots for Belgian beer that I’ve ever seen: Brouwer’s. With 25 Belgian beers on tap at any time (and literally hundreds more in bottles), you can pretty much find any style of Belgian that you please. I headed there with a few friends, and we had quite a few beers, all quite good, some delicious. Here are my reflections of my favorites (at the time, jotted down hurriedly on my hand or menu):
1. Foret Saison: I’m currently in the middle of brewing a saison myself, so I wanted to try a few authentic examples of this style. The Foret was a cloudy straw color, with a citrusy spiciness that dominated the aroma. The beer tasted of citrus and yeast on the nose, with sweet malt undertones. Towards the end, I could taste a subtle horsey funkiness coupled with moderate hop bitterness. This was an excellent beer with very distinct flavors that I thoroughly enjoyed.
2. Gulden Draak: Gulden Draak is a dark trippel that I’ve had bottled a few times, and it never fails to impress me. The color is a dark, almost opaque brown. I could smell the alcohol in the aroma – though I don’t know the exact figure, it has to be pushing 10% ABV. The taste is dominated by a malty sweetness at first, which settles a bit into notes of plum and raisin. It had a very low bitterness – the taste was mostly the molasses-like maltiness with some fruit and yeast. This is always a good beer.
3. Duchesse de Bourgogne Sour Red Ale: This was my favorite beer of the night, and one of the cheapest we tried (only $6.00! — WooHoo!). A great example of the Flanders Red Ale style, Duchesse is a brilliant dark crimson color, and has an aroma dominated by sour cherries. The taste is a little sweet with marked sourness, and tasted of cherries, apple, and a little sweet mustard. The taste finished with a slight alcoholic warmth that was most pleasant. This is one of the most wine-like beers I’ve ever had, and one I would get again and again.