Friday, October 5, 2012

Delirium Hoppy Loft (Brussels, BE)


Moved upstairs from the noisy Pub to the quiet Hoppy Loft, and quickly I'm drinking a draft of Mikkeller 1000 IBU Light. I've never heard of it, which is happening a lot to me today. A note on BA says it's all the hops and half the alcohol of their 1000 IBU, which explains some of my perceptions further down.  The bartender at the Monasterium told me to drink it because it's supposedly the hoppiest beer in the world.

Drafts at the Hoppy Loft of Delirium Cafe
It does bite a bit, and grows thick like black licorice. Initially, it seems to be no big deal, but then it hits. Body is light but not thin, so the hops float way above the base beer. Perceived hoppiness is high, especially in the taste, but the nose is big but not overwhelming.

I've smelled bigger like Stone Ruination IPA and better. It's a big, hoppy beer but it doesn't meld together beyond good. Worth a try for the novelty; however, I won't be ordering a second glass.

As for the Hoppy Loft itself, it's pretty cool. Wagon wheel tables and a much lighter musical background that's just above the normal voice tone chats going on around me. Crowd up here is older than in the Pub and the atmosphere is more more relaxed.

The purpose of the Hoppy Loft is to showcase American, Danish, Italian and Dutch microbreweries. So while I haven't actually had the Dark Horse, Anchor and Anderson Valley selections listed, those taps are off limits for me. Thought I might delve into the list a bit deeper later in the week.

Star Trek time shift.

So, it's later in the week now and back to the Hoppy Loft to have a brew on the way home to the hostel. While I am loving Belgian beers, I am craving hops.

To feed the beast, I try a I Beat You Double IPA by Mikkeller. Very dark amber and looks heavy for an IPA. Good lacing around a thick, grassy pine resin with spices in the nose. Blistering strong bitterness that lingers like grass clippings over an off putting toffee and caramel for the malt. For me, DIPAs come in two forms: sublime and stupid. This is not sublime. But, if you're looking for an over the top chewing on hops, this is your IPA.

The bartender offered to help me find some Belgian IPAs, which led to a Dutch beer named Ignis & Flammable by Brouwerij de Molen. Not pretty in the glass. Amber to copper ale with a uneven, large bubbled head.  Bottle says it has Galena, Chinook, Simcoe, Cascade and Amarillo hops, and dry hopped with Amarillo. Nose is day old grass clippings, pepper from the 7% ABV and a sweet caramel underneath. Belgian funk from the yeast blends well with the hop. Taste is earthy with a clear hop presence; a subdued grapefruit messes with the whole concoction listed as a Flanders IPA. I could see where some would dismiss the beer, but it really is growing on me.  If there's a path to hops for Belgians, this is it.

Nice night at the Hoppy Loft, which cut such a difference compared to the relative solitude and relaxing atmosphere of Moeder Lambic. Even on a Monday night, the party is in full tilt, though mellow compared to the thumping sounds coming up from the Pub and Cafe downstairs.  While a bit raucous, it's a great place for  a beer that's well served with bartenders that are knowledgeable and, in the Monestarium and Hoppy Loft, helpful.

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