They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

My First Love

Belgian beers are a very hit and miss with me. I'm really not keen on the massive over carbonation you get with most mainstream triples it's too gassy for me, but there's classic ones I will sup like Karmeliet Triple and Brugse Zot.

It really is a fact that if I like a belgian brew, then I'd recommend it to everyone and try get everyone I know to try it (I'm "slightly" enthusiastic like that) but if I don't like it on the first try, then the only time I'll ever try it again is if someone buys it for me.

One of my favourites is St. Bernardus ABT 12. The first time I ever tried it I thought to myself "Is this an example of a Belgian Imperial Stout??" I know this not to be the case today, but it has similar qualities. What can I say, I was young and naive, and this beer was so dark and chocolatey! It's a fantastic beer (My colleagues must get tired of me talking about it... Hey I try sell it to everyone!) I will not agree with anyone who says their beers are a "copy" or a more available version of Westvleteren beers. Forgive the childishness but in my opinion that's just a stupid statement.

Now it was a Belgian beer that really opened my eyes to the world of beer and flavourful it could be. The story goes a bit like this:

I had just started working for the best beer shop in the world: Beer Ritz. I was in my first year of college, studying for my degree in furniture design, this was about 4/5 years ago now I think. I worked alongside 3 fantastic guys: The well known Zak Avery, a super guy with an almost identical name to me, and a great friend called Dan Payne. Dan was the man I worked with most of the time, and being the party-guy he was I got him to come along to a college party we were having. I was still drinking mildly interesting beers at the time like Budvar and Old Speckled Hen, Dan brought his own selection from the shop.

He was kind enough to share with me one of the beers he brought as it was quite big. (not that he ever needed help, he was and is just a great guy) The beer I tried that night in that tiny smoke filled room would be the beer to completely change my opinion on beer. (not the only one, but the major one) After my first sips I thought to myself "This is fantastic!! Why don't more beers taste like this?!?!?" I still remember the night vividly. The beer of course, If your still awake, was a Belgian and one I drink again tonight:

It's a 9% dark Belgian ale. I suppose if you wanted to fit it into a style you could pop it in a dark Saison style. It's called Nostradamus and it comes from the Caracole brewery. It's an amazing beer. Such great flavours of dark malts, sweet toffee, caramel, sweet apples and a yeasty zest, I really could drink it all day!

That's all I know of the beer, and to be honest, that's all I need to know. I'm sure there's people out there who know more about the beer.... more about the brewery than I do, but to me it really doesn't matter. All the information available wouldn't change my opinion that this is an amazing beer and I will continue to drink and recommend it to people for as long as it's available.

I'm not sure who put it slightly like this, but: You aren't born with experience, you have to gain it. That night, locked in my memory, will stay with me and will forever be one of my first real experiences of beer..... and it was, and still is, fantastic.

Make your own story. Love great beer.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoyed reading this mate. I remember the first time I drank a pint of Budvar Dark in Mylo's in Leeds about 4 or 5 years ago, it blew me away, and is still an awesome black lager to this day.