Dallas has few diversions other than eating, drinking and shopping.....and shopping does not interest us.
So we spend our time hopping from restaurant to restaurant and to every pub that we can find in search of the perfect meal and the perfect beer.

We randomly review restaurants and bars, dishes and beers at whim and give our brutally honest opinions of our findings. And while we concentrate on Dallas, we travel far and wide to sample cuisine from all regions of the country and beyond.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beer Review - Duvel/Ommegang Beer Tasting

Beer Snobbery

Living in Texas where most restaurants sell Shiner Bock (a forgettable Texas beer) as an import, you really have to give kudos to those who try to educate the Bud Light swilling masses to appreciate beers with flavor.  Hats off to Keith Schlabs and the friendly folks at the Meddlesome Moth for sponsoring a beer tasting featuring rare beers from the Duvel Moortgat Brewery which also owns the Maredsous line of abbey ales (the pinnacle of Belgian Ales), La Chouffe Ales (and it's weird elf fixation), and the Ommegang Brewery in New York (one of the, if not the, finest breweries in the U.S.). 

Duvel Triple Hop - 9.5% ABV

Duvel is typically classified as a Strong Pale Ale while the Triple Hop is called a Holiday Beer.  As is typical of a Holiday Beer the Duvel Triple Hop is quite similar to the Duvel Ale but with 3 "special hops" added; 2 from Europe and 1 American, and a bit more alcohol.  The additional hops added a bit of interest to the taste but does not over power.  The cloudy, golden ale had a earthy nose, slightly yeasty.  It tastes a bit sour, slightly citrus with a long bitter finish that you would expect with the additonal hops.  While the Duvel Triple Hop a fine, fine ale, it is not so dissimilar from the Pale Ale to justify the $30 per bottle price tag.  We would suggest sticking with the Duvel Pale Ale.

Ommegang Biere de Mars - 6.5% ABV

Oh no!  Dissention in the ranks!  This belgian style amber ale was the subject of much discussion at the snob table and was either loved or hated by those tasting with no one pleading indifference.  The Ommegang brewers are experimenting with secondary fermentation and this is one of the results.  The yeast used in the second fermentation is a wild strain which gives it a "a bit of zing and some farmhouse funkiness".  The ale is cloudy with a golden brown color and you can slightly smell the sourness imparted by the wild yeast.  The flavor was really different...woodsy, ferny, lightly sour, dry, malty, peppery....almost undefinable....oh my.  This is a very interesting beer, very balanced, and will surely create conversation at your next get together.

Ommegang Triple Perfection - 8.9% ABV

Ommegang's Triple Perfection is a Belgian style triple ale and is their limited edition Christmas Ale.  It's cloudy with a glowing gold color and a persistant head and has a wonderful yeasty, fruity nose that you would expect in a Christmas Ale but with a additional hint of alcohol.  The flavor is spicy and peppery with hints of locorice, coriander and alcohol.  Not truly a Belgian triple but worth exploring and alas, you can only find it in their holiday multipack.

Maredsous Triple - 10% ABV

Maredsous Triple is an abbey ale produced by the monks at the Benedictine Abbey in Denee, Belgium so it is truly an abbey ale.....well.....kind 1963 they were recruited by Duvel to produce an abbey ale for them.  So yes, it is and abbey ale, but....but....but I digress.
Also a seasonal ale, or a 'special occasion' ale as they call it, it has the the rich flavors, the maltiness, the alcohol that is typical of a Belgian triple.  The cloudy golden color and rich nose hints at what is to come...and that is magnificence.  Sweet and malty with a hint of citrus, balanced, creamy smooth...oh my goodness.  This one will warm your belly and dull your senses.  Relax, enjoy.

Ommegang Cave-Aged Abbey Ale '06 - 8% ABV

What annoying thing could a beer snob do to push the limits of snobbery?  To create the uber snob?  Hmmmm...I know!  I'll review a beer that you can't even get!
Ommegang Abbey Ale in and of itself is a magnificent classic Belgian style abbey ale.  Dark, rich, intensly flavored.  The smell is of molasses and malts and an insignificant head that rapidly dissipates from the cloudy, mahogany brew.  Taste the malts?  Yeah, and the spice along with the sweetness.  Coriander...maybe orange..and.....prunes?  Superb.  How could it be any better?  I'm glad you asked...well you put it in a cellar that averages 55 degrees for 4 years. Mother of god this is a good beer.....and you can't have any.

N'ice Chouffe - 10% ABV

Odd, or rather....different.  Everything about Brasserie d’ Achouffe’ and the Achouffe Brewery is different...odd.  The brewer is odd, crediting the success of their ales to the 'magic water' (magic water?  I shudder to think what he means by that) they use in the brewing process.  There is also the odd fixation with strange little elves (  Their beer is absolutley different, odd, but good.  N'ice is their winter ale...strong, dark and delicious.   It is spiced with thyme and curaçao and lightly hopped....a well-balanced beer. Strangely, or rather oddly, there is little or no aroma, but why does that surprise me?  The beer is unfiltered and allowed a second fermentation in the bottle (and keg) so you will have a bit of sediment to deal with.  The best thing about this ale is that it is available on tap during the winter months, so go, now, and enjoy.

Special thanks to Prescott Carter and Duvel Moortgat USA, LTD.

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