Beer of the Moment – Oude Quetsche Tilquin á L’Ancienne

Beer of the Moment – the beers that have been amazing, incredible and absolutely should be ‘must try’ beers on your list. In short, beers that I have LOVED …

Tilquin

Due to my poor set up of my blog, my ‘Beer of the Moment’ section was always written over and replaced so I’ve fixed that now and perhaps I’ll try to update this more than once a year!

Here’s the last post I did on this heading –

[December 2014]

On a stinking hot day or when you just feel like being refreshed it is hard to go past something a little on the tart side. Hello Oude Quetsche Tilquin á L’Ancienne for it’s perfectly refreshing, gorgeous complexity and stunning appearance.

Oude Quetsche Tilquin á L’Ancienne comes from the Gueuzerie Tilquin brewery in Belgium, it is a blend of one and two year old lambics and is spontaneously fermented with purple plums.

The result is nothing short of amazing, holding a glass of it always leaves me thinking about that Tim Tam commercial where the girl wishes for a never ending pack of Tim Tams. I’d love my glass of Quetsche Tilquin to do the same.

Aromas of plum, apricot, pear and funk. The flavour is slightly tart, nothing too confronting with dried fruitiness and rounded acidity.

Seriously stunning.

Quetsche Tilquin

Weekend Reading #30

This week features articles on Little Creatures Pale Ale and asking has it really changed or not, a beer geek science article on yeast and bacteria and a short case for wine glasses

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

It’s been a rather crazy busy week in my day job plus it’s been muggy and hot all week, this has resulted in me being in a constant state of sweat, craving sleep and my partner and I getting our ‘indoor camping’ on by sleeping in the lounge room to be under the air conditioning. This has also meant a heck of a lot less writing which I think makes me a very bad blogger for this week. Fortunately I have still been reading so here’s Weekend Reading #30 for your beery reading pleasure …

Australian Brews News | Little Creatures – Change for the Better

As far as Little Creatures is concerned I am happy to admit to some bias. I worked for the company for a couple of years as a sales rep and I genuinely enjoyed my job. I loved the beers, the people and its history and the weird little facts like that the site was previous a crocodile park, something I remember as a terrified child, and that the Pale Ale was actually called ‘Live’ when it was first released, so named in tribute to the yeast. Anyway, you get it, I like Little Creatures so when they were bought by Lion Nathan and I read the backlash on Facebook I couldn’t help but take a little offense.

I liked this article because it’s exactly how I remember the brewery and Russ, the head brewer. When I worked there, when it was independently owned, the brewers did their weekly tastings, they adjusted the brews when their new shipment of hop flowers arrived (that was a cool day at the brewery!).

Have a read of this article for yourself, even take in the comments if you wish.

I think there is a lot to be said for someone’s palate changing more than a beer and for the increased exposure of things. When you first had an olive it may have tasted like the biggest flavour you ever had, now you might eat them by the bowl full. At the same time, you’re really liking olives now so you’re trying different types of olives, marinated in different flavours and stuffed with feta or pickled. There’s so much flavour now, they’re all different, it doesn’t mean the plain black olive changed.

Larsblog | What is it that ferments lambic?

Unleash your inner beer geek with this article that I have bookmarked because I need to read it another forty times to really take it in. It tells of a study looking at the yeast and bacteria in play at Cantillon in one of their lambics. We’re talking graphs, science and two new types of bacteria. Oh yeah baby, this is one sexy article.

In all seriousness, it’s a fantastic read and I can’t wait to read it again.

“It’s no surprise that lambic is complex in flavour given the ragbag army of microorganisms that go on the rampage in the fermenting wort

Draft Magazine | The case for drinking big beers out of wine glasses

I have yet to convert to complete beer geekery with a full range of proper beer glasses at home, it’s more out of laziness than non-believing. I am pretty happy with our wine, tall & straight and tulip glass options for our home beer drinking needs. Besides, we don’t drink much wine at home anyway!

 

 

The Beer Boat that Rocked

Our last Good Beer Week event was the Boatrocker Palate Cleanser. Over the previous nine days my palate had been worked over and over again, it seemed to me that the title of the event was more challenge than promise.

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This was the only Good Beer Week event my partner and I attended without having “warmed up” with a beer or two beforehand. Probably something to do with the fact it had an 11 am start time, after all I’m a writer and not an alcoholic (a phrase that’s perhaps closer to a mantra).

We had reached the final day of Good Beer Week and survived. Not only had we survived but we had done it without a single Berocca and barely touched our packet of Asprin. Win!

Our last Good Beer Week event was the Boatrocker Palate Cleanser. Over the previous nine days my palate had been worked over and over again, it seemed to me that the title of the event was more challenge than promise.

We caught the train and were kindly picked up by taxis that Boatrocker had prearranged, a thoughtful touch for a brewery that was a little way out of the city.

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Our host for the day was Matt Houghton, co-owner of Boatrocker Brewery, together with the help of his wife Andrea, assistant brewer Matt and friend of the brewery, Sian. Together they made everyone feel welcome, served up some tasty food and presented us with down right amazing sours. From the delicate to the “deep funk” the journey was like Alice in Sourland through no less than a dozen beers.

Brewers Boatrocker

“Why sour beers?”, you might ask. Why didn’t Boatrocker host an event that featured their beers? Well, the answer is very simple – Matt wanted to do a sour beer tasting.

Matt’s aim for Boatrocker is to produce sour beers, he wants to play with oak aging and whiskey barrels. “Sour beers can be the next prosecco”, he said to us and he hopes restaurants will get on board the sour beer train.

Just ignore the beer nerd in the corner ...
Just ignore the beer nerd in the corner …

Matt fell in love with sours whilst backpacking in Belgium with Michael Jackson’s book ‘The Beer Hunter’ firmly in his grip. His first sour was served to him at Cantillon Brewery in Belgium, one of the best sour producers in the world. Matt recalls this strange cloudy beer being put in front of him and it completely opened his mind.

Matt showed us through the new Boatrocker brewery in which they had only been licensed to brew for a couple of weeks. Boatrocker had previously been contract brewed since 2009 at Southern Bay Brewing.

Boatrocker Brewery inside

We also got a look into the Boatrocker barrel room, currently home to 60 wine barrels.

The barrels are all cold stored within a massive coolroom that’s been divided into two parts – one half for kegs and the other a dedicated barrel room. The barrels are French oak from Yearling Station, a Yarra Valley winery and will impart delicate flavours compared to if they had American oak barrels.

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At the time of the event the barrel room was holding a Berliner Weiss and had another couple of months to go.

Barrels Boatrocker

With all this talk of sours it was time to sit down for the journey Matt had prepared.

New Belgium (USA) – Lips of Faith 2013 Sour Brown Ale

Lips of Faith goes through primary fermentation in stainless steel and secondary fermentation in wood barrels. The primary ferment in stainless would give brewers greater control over everything and perhaps allow less woody characteristics through.

It had a delicate sour black cherry taste and light caramel malts. Right there and then I think sour brown ales became my next big beer crush.

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The Bruery (USA) – Sour in the Rye American Wild Rye Ale

As the name and descriptor suggests this beer is made with lots of rye malt; it’s then aged in oak barrels to finish.

The rye gives soft spices like clove and nutmeg. There’s a tangy and warming spice finish, like a nice warm cuddle … but in your mouth, you know? You know.

Derek reading the back of the beer. Derek is a home brewer who got to brew a GABS beer with Red Duck - check out his story at http://www.hophead.com.au/centennial-men/
Derek Hales reading the back of the beer.
Derek is a home brewer who got to brew a GABS beer with Red Duck this year – check out his story at his website www.hophead.com.au

Liefman’s (BEL) – Goudenband Sour Red Ale

Fresh red berries and something sweety, like toffee, put it on your sour beer shopping list.

Liefmans

Birra del Borgo (ITA) – Prunus Kriek

Brewed using spelt this Kriek had that lovely rosey colour and tasted of bright red cherries with soft tartness.

Birra del Borgo (ITA) - Prunus

Rodenbach (BEL) – Grand Cru Flanders Red Ale

They use big wooden vats for this brew and it is a blend of 33% young red ale with older beer, at least two years old.

“A classic, you can’t go wrong”, Matt said as he poured and he wasn’t wrong. Definitely one of my favourites for the day. It was spicy sweet with a Christmas cake fruitiness and spices – think cinnamon, think raisins, think a little boozy.

Rodenbach (BEL) - Grand Cru

Rodenbach (BEL) – Vintage 2009 Red Ale

“It smells like a drunken sultana”, I said at the time. The vintage is selected from a single outstanding vat/cask.

It had a drying mouth feel, warming sourness and red fruits and maybe even prunes or perhaps something fruiter and sweeter. I struggled to put an exact name to the sweetness outside of “damn that’s nice”.

Vintage 2009 Rodenbach

3 Fonteinen (BEL) – Oude Geuze Geuze

“We are starting to enter the world of deep funk”, Matt said as he introduced this one.

It’s a collaboration brew between Armand Debelder of 3 Fonteinen and Tomme Arthur of Pizza Port/Lost Abbey. It’s made with four year old Boon Lambic and Armand’s 2008 lambic.

The smell was not unlike a stinky blue cheese. It was very tart green apple, dried apple and sour lollies with aggressive back palate sourness on the back. Oh and incase it wasn’t clear I really did enjoy that beer! (a beer that smells like my favourite cheese – not surprising I’d like it!)

3 Fonteinen (BEL) - Oude Geuze

Cantillon (BEL) – Bruscella Three year old Lambic

I wrote four points for this beer and they are as follows:

“Sour” (how is my excellent note taking?), “green apricot”, “flat” and “full on”.

I forgot to write down “yum”.

\Cantillon (BEL) - Bruscella

New Holland (USA) – Envious Vintage 2012

It smelt like cooked brown sugar with a hint of raspberries. A nice beer but not a stand out among a fairly outstanding line up.

New Holland (USA) - Envious Beer Vintage

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (USA) – Maracaibo Especial Special Brown Ale

Inspired by the brews of Belgian monks, it uses cacao, cinnamon and orange peel – gotta love those monks.

You could certainly taste the spices and it had a nice dry finish with a musty funkiness.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (USA) - Maracaibo Especial

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (USA) – La Parcela Spiced Pumpkin Ale

It reminded me of a mulled wine with those same spices and it had a distinctive savoury flavour.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (USA) - La Parcela

What an incredible line up of beers, it was so good to delve into sours – a beer style I really enjoy but until this event had only touched the surface of what’s out there.

Thank you Matt & Andrea for putting on a great event and for inviting us into the brewery as though it was your home. The gift pack to take home was both delicious (beers and lollies!) and extremely considerate (for including a bottle of water) – it was a pleasure to meet such genuine and passionate people.

Thank you to Sian for dropping us to St Kilda after the event.

Thank you to James Smith and Tiffany Waldron at Good Beer Week and Matt and Andrea at Boatrocker for allowing myself and my partner to go along to this event.

Duchessic + Curry

The result is spine tingling, heart fluttering beautiful. I got aromas of green apples, sour lollies and tropical fruit. The mouth feel is delicate, just light little bubbles the carry subtle sourness, straw, funk and stone fruit, in particular apricots. Oh and the colour … did you see that colour?! Heaven.

If I had one piece of advice for shopping at the International Beer Shop, Cellarbrations Carlisle or Mane Liquor or any of the other great beer-centric bottleshops in Perth it would be this … ask the staff because,

a) They know their stuff, love their beer and are just downright nice folk

b) They can tell you what’s new/fresh/limited release, and

c) They will point you in the direction of beers you will fall in love with / eternally lust after.

Here is a beer recommended to me by the guys at Cellarbrations Carlisle and it falls into all categories, especially the last – love at first sip!

Duchessic (frame)

Duchessic comes from a bit of a collaboration between Italian brewery Birra del Borgo and Belgian brewery Brasserie Cantillon. I was already a little familiar with Cantillon from their amazing lambics but this is the first beer I’ve tried from Birra del Borgo. The Duchessic is roughly a combination of Birra del Borgo’s regularly brewed Duchess beer, which uses spelt instead of barley, and a year old lambic from Cantillon.

The result is spine tingling, heart fluttering beautiful. I got aromas of green apples, sour lollies and tropical fruit. The mouth feel is delicate, just light little bubbles the carry subtle sourness, straw, funk and stone fruit, in particular apricots. Oh and the colour … did you see that colour?! Heaven.

The bad news is that it’s a limited release – very limited – I’d get your first born packed and ready to trade because the Duchessic appears to be leaving stores fast!

Now, food, what on earth was I going to match with this? Keeping in mind I had no idea what this beer was going to taste like I decided a quick Google search was required. Typing in the words “Duchessic Food Match” into Google picked up BeerAdvocate as the first result, I clicked on the link and saw the words ‘Cuisine (Curried, Thai)’ so that was that. I made a green chicken curry.

No longer in the mood for a long cooking session now that I had settled into the evening with this delicious beer, I did the cheats curry and used paste from the jar (but it was an Asian-y looking jar so I feel that somewhat redeems me).

Green Curry Paste Watermarked

I was a little skeptical about this match, my initial thought was that the curry would trample over the delicate Duchessic but the beer softened the chili and the mix of sour and heat was a nice little combo. How or why, I have no idea but I was happily enjoying my curry and beer and that’s good enough for me!

Green Chicken Curry (1)

Sour + Chocolate

Drinking lambics remind me of eating warhead lollies as a kid, there’s something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

Tuesday Night Sours
Tuesday Night Sours

Ah lambics … drinking lambics remind me of being a kid and eating one too many warhead lollies. There is something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

First up I had the Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour. It’s a wild ale from a Norwegian brewery which, according to the website, is run purely on a volunteer basis.

Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour

The beer pours a striking cloudy orange colour – it’s beautiful! There are soft aromas of under ripe cherries and watermelon. Taste wise it is softer than I had anticipated which is perhaps just because it’s been a while since I’ve had any sour beers (shame on me!). As I sipped on it I got sea salt, under ripe plums, a decent bit of tartness and cherries.

I tried matching this with dinner, spur of the moment, by making sticky soy and honey chicken. As a match it was a little off the mark with too much sweetness dominating the pairing. Still, the Sweet and Sour made a really nice beer to sip on over dinner. The contents of the beer seemed to disappear quite rapidly!

Sweet and Sour Beer with Chicken

For the next beer I moved a little closer to home, choosing the Melbourne brewed Moondog Perverse Sexual Amalgam, a black wild ale with cherry plums. Despite the word “black” printed right there on the label I was still surprised at the jet black colour.  The aroma was a strange mixture of cherries and mushrooms; flavours were a mash up of bitter black cherry, green apple and hints of rich dark chocolate. The finish was tart and leaves you with a slightly confused look on your face as you try to work out what just happened to your palate. It’s not a traditional lambic or sour beer and I don’t believe it was ever intended to be.

Moondog Black Wild Ale

I decided to try and match it with chocolate from one of my local chocolatiers Bahen & Co (who you may know from their collaboration brew with Eagle Bay Brewing to create a Cacao Stout). As the beer washed over the chocolate it raised those subtle chocolate notes to the front. It was a challenging pairing because in some aspects it really worked, bringing out dark chocolate notes that seemed to fit well with a bitter finish, but in other ways it was very much at odds with elements like funky mushroom aromas and fresh green apples.

It was great to experience two beers loosely from the same style completely different from one another and sours appear to be making a little noise lately. If you’re keen there are a few great reads to see what’s happening …

Tarting up Australia – Australian Brews News

Temple Brewing Scarlet Sour – Australian Brews News

The Power of Sour – Australian Brews News

The Sour Italian – Tipples Blog