BeerCast #16 – Belgique a Londres

Posted by on May 26, 2008 in BeerCasts, Belgian Beer | No Comments

As we’ve recorded fifteen BeerCast podcasts, we thought we’d try something a bit different for number 16 – so we hit the road and travel to London for a recording. Here we join up with Andy (of Andy and Jess), and BeerCast debutant Elliot – a committed trappist fan and Belgian ale enthusiast. As a result, he brought with him four examples of the type from UtoBeer at Borough Market, and we have a Belgian special in London. We start with a famous name – Chimay Trippel (or Blanche) (8%abv), before moving on to a naturally fermented Lambic – Mort Subite Gueuze (4.5%). The alcohol ramps back up with a 9%er, Delirium Nocturnum from the Brouweij Huyghe in Melle (sister beer to Delirium Tremens). We round off with another famous Belgian producer – as we try Duvel’s ‘other’ brand, Maredsous 10˚ (conveniently at 10%).

1. Chimay Blanche (8%abv)
Bieres de Chimay, Abbey Notre-Dame de Scourmont.
500ml glass bottle

Bieres de Chimay are located inside the abbey Notre-Dame de Scourmont, in the Wallonian region of the country. Since 1862 the Cistercian trappist monks have developed beer, which is still brewed on site. They produce four types – Rouge, Bleue, Blanche, and Doree. The latter is only drunk at the abbey, and is the monk’s own tipple. It’s so secret, no mention of it appears on their official website (apparently some are snuck out and sampled by lucky tasters). But we more than make do with the Blanche, a light coloured 8% abv beer that will hopefully go down as well as Chimay Rouge, which scored 60% in BeerCast#5.

What They Say“Topped with a creamy head, Chimay Blanche gives off a light fruity apricot aroma. It’s taste, which imparts a silky sensation to the tongue, is made refreshing by a light touch of bitterness. To the palate, the taster perceives a pleasant astringency which complements the flavour qualities of this beer very harmoniously.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Nice and fruity with typical trappist bitter alcohol taste 8
Elliot – A lovely beer, would be perfect as an evening drink 7
Andy – Smells like an alcoholic banana and walnut cake 6

2. Mort Subite Gueuze (4.5%abv)
Kobbegem Brewery (for Alken-Maes), Pajotten.
500ml glass bottle

Mort Subite – ‘Sudden Death’ – takes it’s name from a Brussels bar which was originally called Le Cour Royale. Bankworkers drinking there often had to cut short their lunchtime dice games, shouting out that the one final throw was winner takes all ‘Mort Subite!’. Eventually the bar became renowned for this, and was renamed accordingly. The beer – a spontaneously fermenting lambic – comes from Kobbegem, one of the umbrella of producers owned by the Alken-Maes group (who in turn are owned by Scottish and Newcastle).

What They Say“Mort Subite Gueuze is a spontaneously fermented lambic of malt, wheat and hops. Ripened in oak wooden barrels, it is an amber-coloured, crisp sour-sweet thirst quencher.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Elliot – Easy drinking, this would get people into Belgian beers 7
Richard – Very sharp with a cidery acidity that gets too much 6
Andy – Pleasant enough but without a distinctive taste to it 5

3. Delirium Nocturnum (9%abv)
Brouwerij Huyghe, Melle.
330ml glass bottle

The prolific and hardworking Brouwerij Huyghe turn out an enormous range of beers, of every possible style (from Belgian sour ales to Coconut beer). They are best known for Delirium Tremens, the ceramic-effect bottled beer with the famous pink elephants (which mustered a controversially disappointing 40% in BeerCast#6, back in October). A stronger, darker stablemate of D.T., D.Nocturnum comes in the similar faux ceramic bottle – but it tastes very different. Will our panel go for this, or consign the Huyghe concern to another poor mark from the BeerCast (and if so, will they care)…?

What They Say“Elle est à la fois forte en goût, amer d’écorce et de houblon, ainsi qu’en saveur alcoolisée. Son évaluation finale n’arrive qu’en fin de dégustation, avec une prolongation assez longue de son amertume. Chaude et veloutée, elle plait généralement au vrai connaisseur, mais ne la prive pas de découverte auprès des curieux pionniers de bières de caractère.” [Website Officiale]

What We Say
Richard – Big upfront taste then trails off to molasses sweetness 8
Elliot – One of the best dark Belgians, comforting, warming finish 7
Andy – Total opposite of the last one, not sharp or cidery at all 6

4. Maredsous 10˚ (10%abv)
Duvel Moortgat Brewery, Puurs.
330ml glass bottle

Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat started up in 1871, and are world famous for their flagship beer – Duvel (Flemish for devil). But in 1963 they started another brand under license of the monks of Maredsous Abbey, a benedictine monastery at Denee near Namur. The eponymous brand on behalf of the monks features a blonde (Maredsous 6˚), a bruin (8˚), and today we sampled the hefty tripel (10˚). It’s impossible to write a Belgian beer post without mentioning the late, great Beer Hunter Michael Jackson – and he was particularly fond of these beers – “These [Maredsous] have long been my favourites. Above all the 10° is an especially tasty beer.”

What They Say“Dark blond Maredsous triple with 10% alcohol content is characterised by a fine, almost festive sparkle. Sour, sweet and bitter flavours melt together harmoniously in a full fresh flavour with a sweet aftertaste. Its gastronomic bouquet of flavours makes this triple an appreciated ingredient in the kitchen.” [Official Website]

What We Say
Richard – Heady marzipan alcohol taste to it, this is really nice 8
Andy – The more I drink the more I like it
Elliot – Warm and heavy and not as fruity as other trappists

BeerCast panel verdict

Maredsous 10˚ – 23/30
Chimay Blanche (Trippel) – 21/30
Delirium Nocturnum – 21/30
Mort Subite Gueuze – 18/30

Panellists – (from top left) Richard, Andy, Elliot



We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with episode 17 – a return to the UK with four beers from North Yorkshire. Stay tuned for details…and please leave us comments on the blog or iTunes, or emails. Cheers!

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