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Beer Experience For The Wine Lovers

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Does beer belongs to mostly a wine blog? You bet – anything which gives you a tasty experience does, and beer is no exception. It is interesting to observe feuds between beer and wine drinkers. Allegiance to one kind of drink can be almost religious, and then nobody is sparred during the “ahh, you are a [that other nasty beverage] drinker” encounters.

Yes, I would admit that beer is not a typical drink for me. One one side, I know how to preserve the leftover wine in the bottle ( vacuum pump, argon,…), and I’m really not sure what to so with the beer leftovers. Another issue for me is that once beer goes into the bottle, it doesn’t evolve anymore. The beer is valued for its freshness, and effectively for the “sameness” of the taste – any bottle of Samuel Adams Lager is expected to taste the same. Wine is a living thing, including in the bottle, so while you have an expectation of the taste, there is always an element of mystery when the wine bottle is opened.

I have to admit that the beer tasting experience we had last weekend made me think that I actually have to pay more attention to the beers! Many years ago (1993/1994, if I’m not mistaken), I was a member of “Beer Across America” club, where I was getting 2 6-packs of micro-brewed beers every month. It was very enjoyable experience for about year and a half, and then it became boring, so I stopped the membership (I wonder if this is the story with most of those “monthly clubs”). Tasting the four beers last weekend reminded me of that excitement – and I want to share the experience.

We had total of 4 different beers. The word “different” doesn’t even come close to explain how diversely those beers tasted. The most “standard” (only in terms of previous experience) was beer called La Chouffe, unfiltered Blond Ale, produced by Brasserie D’Achouffe from Belgium. Very fruity and pleasant beer, with lots of sweet notes on the palate. This was a very good example of Belgium Blonde Ale, completely adhering to its distinct style.

The next one was beer called Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer from Scotland. I would highly recommend this beer for any scotch-lover, as after smooth and round palate comes perfect finish with hint of single malt scotch (Highland or Speyside in style). Oak also imparts some interesting honey and vanilla notes on the palate, all in all making Innis & Gunn a very enjoyable beer.

The next beer should really be designated as “wine, masquerading as beer”. Rodenbach Grand Cru, another beer from Belgium, had probably the most unexpected taste from this group (polarizing too, as my friends Kfir and Hadas didn’t like it at all, so it is two against one). To make wine parallel even more visible, you have to know that this beer undergoes double fermentation and resulting beer is produced as a mix of one-third of young beer and two-thirds of the beer aged in the oak casks for two ( Sic!) years! Therefore it is no wonder that liquid in your glass tastes “vinous” and has a great balance of acidity and fruits, with acidity being extremely noticeable, quite similar to any good wine. This beer should be experienced in order to truly believe it…

Now last, but not least – Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, the original smokebeer from Germany. Not sure if I should be ashamed or not, but I definitely missed whole group of smoke beers – I discovered Belgium beers long time ago, but never heard of the smoke beers, which seems to be a category with good amount of offerings, considering that Wine Enthusiast has the whole section covering them. This particular beer which is called Schlenkerla, is brewed over the smoke of the burning beechwood logs, and then matured in the cellars. The resulting beer offers smooth taste with pronounced smokiness, which all together creates very delicious experience.

That’s all the experience I wanted to share, but if I can give you an advice – go find those beers and experience them for yourself. If you think you don’t like beer, give one of those a try – you might learn something new about yourself…

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