Sunday, October 3, 2010

Belgian Ale Flight and Another Stout Flight

Rich, W. and K. were over last night and we tried out some more new and interesting beers.  Upon my request, we started with a Belgian Ale flight as Belgian Ales are generally my favorite kind of beers.  Not too bitter (hoppy), not too fruity, just enough spice and fruit to keep it interesting while still refreshing.
We had two trappist ales (made by monks), the Orval and the Trappistes Rochefort 10.  We also had a Tripel Karmeliet, which has always been one of my favorite Belgian Ales.  The Rochefort 10 was a quadruple, which also made it the strongest and most alcoholic, and the Tripel was a triple (duh).  What was interesting to me is that when we started drinking it, the beers were actually too cold and didn't have much flavor, in the taste or the finish.  However, once they started warming up, the flavors really started becoming more pronounced and complex.  The Orval grew on me, but I still preferred the Rochefort 10 and the Tripel; I felt like the Orval's finish was too short and overall it wasn't as complex as the other two.  Still perfectly drinkable though. I enjoyed the Rochefort 10; it was very rich and started to taste more porter / stout-ish, with some oakiness and smoky flavors.  It's pretty strong though, so I wouldn't drink more than a couple of sips.  I still like the tripel; crisp with some spice and citrus and an almost creamy long finish .  It was really interesting to taste them all side by side, they were all incredibly different.

Next, we had a lovely dessert-esque stout flight:
We had Southern Tier's Imperial Creme Brulee stout, Great Divide's Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout and AleSmith's Speedway Stout.  I loved the Creme Brulee Stout, so rich and tasted just like dessert!  It just tasted like vanilla buttercream frosting to me.  I think it was a little too sweet for some, but I enjoyed the taste.  Probably couldn't have more than a few sips though.  I also liked the Yeti.  By this point though, the beers were starting to blend together.  I can't really describe the Speedway Stout.  It was good, but I think I preferred the other two.  I think the Speedway was a little more bitter.  Good times!

Another discovery: I went to Bevmo, a large California chain liquor store, for the first time, which just opened about 5 minutes from my house.  They had a really impressive beer selection (to me, a novice); about three aisles of mostly craft / imported beers.  It was actually a lot better and bigger than Whole Food's selection, which is where I usually pick up my craft and imported beers.  Prices were a lot more reasonable too; the Tripel usually goes for 11.99 at Whole Foods and was 9.99 at Bevmo.  I was also impressed by their liquor selection; better than most wine stores.  I didn't spend much time looking through it, but I'm not so impressed by their wine selection.  They were having their famous 5 cent sale (buy a selected bottle, get a second for 5 cents), but I wasn't interested in any of the wines.  They all seemed to be mass-produced wines; nothing intriguing to me.  I've cut down a bit on my wine purchasing and generally buy from a small selection of mostly Pinot Noir mailing lists to maintain my allocations (this year, I only bought Kosta Browne, Rivers Marie, Sea Smoke, and Copain), or at wineries / vineyards during wine tasting.  Otherwise, I buy everyday drinkers (<$12) from Costco (usually the Norton Malbec) or Wine House (usually Italian wines and sometimes South American wines).

3212 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 453-5600

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