Saturday, July 30, 2005


Dutch Beer: Vuurvogel

Harmony, harmony, harmony. The perfect balance between the caramel malt flavour and bitterness, like the gentle landscape of Holland meeting the salty North Sea. Still a wave of a surprise this one. Picked up at the splendid Bierkoning beer shop (where, unfortunately, they still, in true Dutch fashion though, charge their clients extra for using a credit card), after a good review in the 4th edition of the Bible (Tim Webb's Guide to the Benelux beer scene), where it was described as a "pale tripel that holds and develops its character", 8.5%. Anyway, it was more like a brown ale, 7.5%, that poured into my glass this Friday evening despite the name of beer, translating into The Firebird (a very appropriate name for a tripel style of beer, if you ask me!). Brewed by the Amersfoort brewery of Drie Ringen (Three Rings) which also happen to have an excellent web site,

Friday, July 29, 2005


Belgian Beer: Kloeke Blonde

Of course I am biased. Wannabe-intellectual Norwegian blond man tasting a beer called The Wise Blond(e). Falling for a marketing trick, maybe, as the brewers, De Struise Brewers, seem to be exporting quite a bit to Scandinavia, Denmark to be more specific. The beer is actually brewed at Caulier, and I was half expecting a super-sweet encounter. Though I might prefer sweet blondes to bitter ones when it comes to personal relationships, my palate has come to appreciate bitterness when tasting beer.

I had already tasted the over-sweet Pannepot beer, also commissioned by De Struise Brouwers,, located in the Noordhoek (northern corner) of West-Vlaanderen, near the sympathetic port city of Oostende, and brewed in the Hainault brewery of Caulier, but in my opinion The Wise Blond is surprisingly more complex. Appropriately for the name, I suppose, it pours with a huge white head with the substance appearing hazy golden underneath. The aroma is yeasty and noble hops are greeting the nose, followed by a good mouth-feel. The finish is pleasantly dry as well.

What can I say? Don't underestimate the Blondes from the northern corner of Belgium and Europe!

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