Saturday, October 27, 2012

Anniversary Ale 2012 (Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN)

Happy anniversary to one of the best brewpubs anywhere.  This year's Anniversary Ale has a great punch, especially in the growler.

Dark copper ale with a dirty snowdrift head that fall with a thick lace.  Massive nose of northwest hops that's grassy from the growler almost like a fresh hop ale.  Same caramel and toffee malty base in the draft last night, but the hop nose wasn't nearly as big.  Green hop bite on the tongue that overrides the full, sweet mouthfeel.  Grapefruit in the nose that's stronger on the tongue. Over balanced hoppiness, but nothing I'm upset about.  A great IPA that I'm enjoying, surprisingly, more in the growler than on site.

Anniversary week is a always a special week at Town Hall.  Ten times I've quaffed the anniversary ale in a row, starting in 2003, and they all rank high.  We returned on Saturday after the disappointing Purdue vs Minnesota game (disappointing for Boilermakers) to drink the coconut porter Three Hour Tour and Eye of the Storm, a honey ale. Both excellent, and the porter oddly went especially well with the iconic Town Hall fries and chipotle ranch.  On a bartender's recom, we sampled and then ordered two more of the cherry spiked Eye of the Storm to finish the night in spectacular fashion.

Cheers to many more opportunities to drink Town Hall anniversary ales.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sorachi Ace (Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY)

Happened to be driving by Petschen's and picked up a few brews to fill the fridge.  Sorachi Ace is a favorite that I haven't had in a while.  In fact, in my opinion, it's one of the best beers from Brooklyn Brewery.  Bittered and dry hopped with the rare Sorachi Ace, it's a showcase single-hop beer.

Frothy, stark white head settles a bit on the second and third pour, then falls to a thick lace. Sun gold colored saison sparkles in the glass from a continuous effervescence.  For me, the nose makes the beer with a clean lemongrass, citrus and underlying sweetness like Hawaiian bread.  An assertive and lingering twang on the tongue from carbonation and a blended hop/yeast spice combines with lemongrass and a slight pepper note through the dry finish.  Lemongrass turns to tart lemon as it warms.

Love this hop.  Drink this worthy beer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rhombus Guys (Grand Forks, MN)

Tall New Belgium Hoptoberfest and my
brother-in-laws Bud Lite with the pizza menu

We headed to NoDak to see our nephew Ben and watch UND versus Montana: amazing game.  UND won in the closing seconds 40-34 with a touchdown.  Very fun and my nephew chose to take us to Rhombus Guys.

The place was packed after the game, so we ended up walking around downtown Grand Forks (just as fun as it sounds) until a table opened about 45 min later.  The Blue Moose had an hour and a half wait, so this was the good deal.

Rhombus Guys downstairs
From the dozen or so taps, I tried the Hoptoberfest from New Belgium, but the draft was a little warm.  My nephew's Deschutes Inversion IPA was off, though I'm not sure if it was the draft line, the age of the keg or something else: just not 100%.

But, the pizza--spectacular.  We had the roasted garlic and nibbled on the remainder during the drive on the way home today.  Great hot and cold.  The crust is somewhere between pita and flatbread--delicious.  I'd go back from the pizza in a heartbeat, but the beer isn't up to par, unfortunately.

Rhombus Guys is a great name with a story on the botton of the menu online.  The focus on pizza and lack of beer knowledge can be read between the lines.  I love the story of Matt and Aaron, and lust after the great pizza.  Hopefully, some day, they will learn to serve beer as well as they make pizza.

Note: Adam of Rhombus Guys contacted me after a repost to TripAdvisor.  He says that they take great pride in their beer selection (which is very good) and that they are installing an upgraded cooler in the near future to address beer issues.  I was very impressed with the response and look forward to returning to Rhombus Guys again for some great beer to go with their fabulous pizza.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More beer--reading, please!

Stack of recently no read beer magazines
I've been blogging on Pint Sized Revelations for nearly a year now and starting to see some of the impacts of my work.

Of positive and negative impacts, I didn't anticipate this very simple one.  As an English teacher, I'm a big believer that reading is the base for good writing.  However, I've been falling behind lately.

Part of the reason is the proliferation of good beer writing that is available today compared to even a few years ago.  Beer writers today are pushing new boundaries and maturing along with the industry.  I hate missing any of these issues.

However, spending time writing mathematically takes away from my quality beer reading time.  Free time has limits and there will inevitably be choices.  Personally, I need to return to this reading, in part, because it's a source of inspiration and information.  But, also, it's enjoyable and more relaxing than the rewarding but hard work of writing.  The theme of my personal and professional life lately: the search for balance.  So, I've organized my stack of periodical beeriness and attempting to get to them in the near future.

And, yes, I was aware of the irony of this post while writing it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Smashed Shoulder Stout (Scott Lyke, homebrewer)

I'm not an award winning homebrewer.  But the next best thing is to have a friend who is.  To the left is Scott Lyke's Smashed Shoulder Stout, state fair blue ribbon winner in the stout category this past summer.

The name alludes to a rather nasty bicycle accident that tore up Scott's shoulder.  As a result, he was unable to brew for a while because of lifting restrictions.  Recently back to brewing, congrats to Scott for a prize brew.

Taking the first sip, I can see why it's a winner.  Fluffy head the color of malted milk ball center; it floats fully until it falls with to a thin lace.  Great nose that's thick with chocolate, oak and bourbon and a bit of citrus spice underneath.  Creamy smooth taste that brings up a little roast to compliment the nose.  Slightly acrid taste on the back side that lingers pleasantly with the chocolate and oak.  Overall, a fun, full sensory stout that would be warming on a cold night.

Chatting with the brewer, no oak or bourbon in the recipe, but a secret ingredient pushed the alcohol high.  I surmise the yummy added tastes were from the combination of higher fermentation blended with the stoutish flavors.  Beer is always interesting.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Prohibition: A movie by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick

I just finished watching the three part documentary Prohibition via Netflix.  Between being gone much of this summer and the popularity of the movie on Netflix, I'm a little slow viewing the film.  However, it was worth the wait.

Even for the veteran beer reader, the documentary does a fantastic job of explaining the entirety of the time period.  For me, many of the details of the politics of repeal were completely new.  Another excellent Ken Burns' film.  Rather than doing a scene by scene analysis, here are three thoughts I found especially interesting that won't spoil the film.

First, the interplay of women's rights, the suffrage movement and temperance.  While many are aware of the role of the Women's Christian Temperance Union to passing prohibition, this is only one aspect.  From the early temperance movement to the final repeal made possible by the efforts of Pauline Sabin and her Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform, the history of prohibition is intertwined with a growing personal and political independence of women from the late 1800's through the jazz age until repeal in 1933.  The conflicted story of Mabel Walker Willenbrandt, the nation's enforcer of prohibition, is worth the viewing alone.  Women were searching for identity and voice in this time period and prohibition was one of the defining issues of this fight.

Second, the complexity of prohibition.  The inability, or lack of will, to enforce prohibition is an exemplar to understand the limits of democracy.  While the our government can pass whatever law they wish, prohibition demonstrates that the will and consent of the people must be behind it.  The difference between what people thought they 18th Amendment meant and the application of the Volstead Act is also a lesson in being an informed citizen to prevent moralistic forces from using government for their own ends.

And, finally, how eerily similar the divided politics of prohibition is to today's political morass.  Through out the film, I saw parallels between the dry/wet politics of prohibition and our modern red/blue state split or the FoxNews/MSNBC dichotomy.  Beyond noting the analogous demagoguery and moralism, I will refrain from continuing the comparison further since this is a beer blog rather than a political statement.

Great beer film and worth the effort for any beer geek or student of history, especially since beer related analysis was probably left out of your high school history class.

Brimstone Tripel (Boom Island, Minneapolis, MN)

Creamy white head with small, tight bubbles on top of this straw gold tripel from Boom Island. Spicy nose with lemon, slight citrus, pepper, some alcohol hotness and a surprising earthiness on top of sweetness.  Not overly complex, but elegant and inviting.  I poured it into the glass I had beer clean; I think a tulip glass would enhance the experience.  Next time.  Mouthfeel is a little light but has a full carbonation bite from the bottle conditioning.  Taste is sweet and bready with a woodsy note, fruit and hop spice.  Semi-dry finish lets the spice and fruit linger nicely on the tongue.

At 9.5% ABV, it's a super easy drinking Belgian ale that lives up to their dangerous reputation. Brimstone seems to be light for the style, at least compared to my mental image.  An approachable beer, it would be great to share at a party.  As it warms, the balance improves and the spice crescendos.  I like it and I'll buy it again, but not impressed to the point of buying it often.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bitter Neighbor (Third Street Brewhouse, Cold Spring, MN)

Hard pour of Bitter Neighbor
Picked up a six pack of Bitter Neighbor from Third Street last weekend and on my next to last bottle.

Nearly black IPA with hints of ruby around the extreme edges with back light.  The very light brown head  fall slowly and lingers as a full film.  Chocolate, acrid coffee and multi-layered hoppiness in the nose.  The taste lives up to the name: harsh roast plus a significant hop bite over a light body.  Bottle lists Magnum, Hersbrucker, Amarillo and Cascade hops, which gives it the feel of a Cascadian Dark Ale but surprises with an earthiness underneath that counterpoints the bitterness.  Drinks incredibly fast and smooth because of the light body--can hardly keep it in my glass.  

Looking at the reviews on BA, there's a fairly wide range for the beer.  I like the beer, but can see where the lightness in the body might put off some geeks and the bitterness might put off those experiencing a Black IPA, or just dark beer, for the first time.  Interesting beer that I like having around for a daily dose of flavor that's pretty easy drinking.

The brewer at Third Street, Horace, used to be my next door neighbor.  I joked with my wife that maybe the beer was named after me.  She wisely warned me to not asked--just in case.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blasphemy (Weyebacher Brewing, Easton, PA)

Fluffy light head on top of a burnished copper ale.  From almost 12% ABV, the alcohol spice is assertive over top of dark fruit, dried cherry and chocolate malt.  Bourbon barrel aging is there too, but languishing underneath.  Sweet quad taste seems to be a bit thin from the aging. Blasphemy is Weyerbacher's Quad in bourbon barrels, but the ABV is the same on both beers, so the barrel aging didn't up the alcohol to thin it out.  In my memory, the Quad has more body, but I don't have a bottle to compare.  The finish is sweet, hot and warming.  Bottle conditioning gives it a yeasty twang, or I didn't decant well enough.  .

Sweet, big and limited, this is a fun beer.  Definitely worth a try but not necessarily an improvement on the Quad.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Woodenville Whiskey 8 gallon barrels

While I'm not ready for this at the moment, the idea of aging homebrew in a barrel like the big boys has always sounded fun.  My homebrew club has done a club brew to fill a full sized barrel, but I'm no where good enough to make the short list of brewers needed to fill it.

Woodinville Whiskey comes to the rescue by selling 8 gallon barrels made from American Oak and used once to age whiskey.  Not cheap, but the option to barrel age your own beers by yourself in your own way in a manageable size may be worth it.  In the April 7, 2012 Barrel Stand video Andy Sparks of Basic Brewing has one already and gives some advice for set up.

I'm not familiar with Woodinville Whiskey, but I applaud their business sense and support of more barrel aged brew in the world.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Palm Buster Blonde (Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN)

Stopped in Monday night for growlers of Town Hall's fresh hop and guest drafts of other fresh hop brews.  But, with a max of two fresh hop growlers per person, I said the first new beer I remembered from the growler board for number three: Palm Buster Blonde.

In spite of a hard pour right down the center of the upright glass, the shockingly white head of tight bubbles falls almost before I can take a picture.  Effervescence flows continuously up through the golden tinged yellow ale.  Solid hop spice in the nose that overshadows cream corn and apple.  Taste is sweet and slightly warming with the taste matching the nose.  Made with Thai Palm Sugar (thus the name), it has a slight alcohol hotness, even though it's only 5.3% ABV.  Ends with a sweet bitterness that's refreshing.

Not a bad beer and not disappointed to have taken it home, but won't go out of my way to have another.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fresh Hop week at Town Hall (Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN)

Surly Wet w/ walleye and fries
Arrived a bit early, so I started with the Indeed Fresh Hop contribution to wet beers. Stark white over a pale yellow ale the looks watery but has a full mouthfeel. Sharply bitter with lots of citrus, lemongrass and a slight green taste. Clean and crisp, but I wouldn't say it's a fresh hop beer just from the taste. I'd put it as pale ale strength; however, lots and lots a pretty, pretty hops on top makes me happy.

Town Hall Fresh Hop 100

Next, on the list is the evening's goal: Town Hall's Fresh Hop 100 for 2012. The 100 is for 100% fresh Simcoe hops--nothing else.  Off white head over a dark amber ale. Straight Simcoe hops come through as fresh, clean spice and earthiness. Strong caramel and toffee flavors with a full, robust mouthfeel. Chewy maltiness more than supports the big hop; guessing the IBU is higher than it tastes.  Simcoe covers the palate but isn't overwhelming. Another great Town Hall beer and glad I got my two growlers to drink at home.
Indeed Fresh Hop

The other advertised wet hop I wanted to try, Lucid Wammo, wasn't on tap until later in the week, so I "settled" for Surly Wet, only one of my very favorite beers.  I was chatting and eating dinner with this pint, so didn't get any impressions down.  I've been drinking the canned version of Wet at home this week; while the draft was very good, the nose and bite of it seems muted compared to the can.

Tonight's epiphany--fresh hop beers have come a long way baby.  If memory serves, proto-versions of fresh hop beers tended to be grassy and a bit hop stupid.  Since they were the only game in town, any fresh hop beer was a fun treat.  However, they tasted a lot like my homebrewed version that needed six months to settle before the cut grass flavor dissipated.  While still full of aromatic, fresh, beautiful hops, tonight's drafts have a sophistication and range that goes far beyond a novelty act.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

LongShot 2011 American Homebrew Contest (Boston Beer, Boston, MA)

I love the idea of Sam Adams LongShot contest.  Homebrewers duke it out for a major brewery to distribute their winning beer.  Sadly, I've never actually acquired any LongShot beers in the past.  Found the 2011 winners at MGM recently and finally getting to try them.  I've never entered the contest because, well, I'm not a very good brewer.  If I improve some day, I hope to develop the confidence to enter for my long shot chance.

Derf's Secret Alt: Dirty white head on a top of a dark copper alt bier.  Nose is not assertive, but I find it with a swirl: heavy dark malt and fruit, a bit of alcohol hotness from the 9.3% ABV and a hint of spice.  Luscious mouthfeel, silky malt, and dark fruit fill the palette that ends sweet.  A strong beer in a style that normally doesn't excite me.  Strong beer that I'm enjoying a lot.

A Dark Night in Munch:  Light brown head over an almost brown ale with ruby highlights.  Biscuit and toffee in the nose with a hint of spice underneath.  Very smooth dark lager in the mouth with a full nutty flavor with toffee.

Five Crown Imperial Stout: Brown head piled with vacuous bubbles and a heavy lace.  Chocolate and roast in the nose with strong malt, light fig, cherry and spice.  Opaque black body is velvety and thick on the tongue with an hint of acrid roast of the back end that counterpoints the slight slickness from the alcohol.

Nice assortment with Five Crown and Derf's in a virtual tie for me.  Glad that I was finally able to get a set of LongShot beers.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Delirium Cafe (Brussels, BE)


I finally made it to the actual Delirium Cafe after four attempts. And now I'm a bit disappointed compared to the hype. The beer is served well and I'm enjoying the destination, but it's Saturday night, the music is loud, and the youngsters are starting to tie one on. I sit quietly with ear plugs in to survive. Lots of energy in the place, but not the beer geek mecca of legend. The upstairs Hoppy Loft lives up to that reputation better than the Cafe.

To start, I get a draft of Buffalo Belgian Stout by Br. van den Bosche.  As advertised in the giant book of beer, it's a smooth Belgian interpretation of a stout: dark with a light brown head in a soft, elegant glass, chocolate nose with near black malt, but the Belgian yeast spice clearly influences the final beer to create something that's stout-ish though something else. Nice beer and a great example of how culture and beer can cross to create new tastes.

Sitting at the bar, the range of bottles going out is incredible. All served well, poured and presented with the empty bottle, seemingly whole or decanted by style.  Standard in Belgium, but such knowledge and service is an amazing sight to see and transplanting it to the US would push us to a whole new level of beer consumption.  If only.

Next, I ordered a St. Idesbald Tripel; it's the first beer I've had that's not in it's own glass--just a plain chalice. Guessing it's a small brewery. A light bodied tripel with a serious funk in it--it's adequate.  Looked in the book later and it's Brouwerij Huyghe of Delirium Tremens fame (pronounced her-ga according to Elke and Sven, locals I met earlier on the trip).

For a snack I ordered a Cheese Portion Gouda Jeune. A lot of words for a bowl of gouda cheese chunks that seems to be meant for a group, but I'm happily eating some excellent Dutch kaas that's not changed by American rules. Odd thing, to me anyway, is that it came with a shaker of celery salt, which is surprisingly good sprinkled lightly.

Decided to get off the taps and landed on a bottle of Kasteel Donker; it's an 11%, nearly opaque ale with a light brown head. Heady nose of alcohol, fig and chocolate. The alcohol overpowers the smooth maltiness and dark fruit of the beer. Adequate but not up to other Kasteel brews I've had in the past.

I looked through the entire list and it feels a bit like channel surfing.  200 choices and nothing to drink. Not nothing, but not as much of a selection as imagined.  Delirium Cafe is a very fun stop for a vacation, but if I lived nearby and could delve into the list, I would enjoy it more.  Too my surprise, this visit is increasing my motivation to drink my home state more--appreciate great local beer rather than longing for beer far a field.

I might return to the Hoppy Loft later, but my guess is that this is the end of Delirium Village for me.  Off to find Mannekin Pis to finish of my day.

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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fulton Beer brewery tour (Minneapolis, MN)


I've lost track of how many brewery tours I've done--one of the few items I don't track.  I keep doing them because I learn a little something each time (after the mandatory beer is made of four ingredients lecture).  Also, every brewery has a unique history and physical set up, which I find interesting.  Fulton epitomizes my reasons for continuing to do brewery tours.

Our tour guide was Jay, dad and father-in-law of two of the founders: Jim and Peter.  Jay was friendly and spoke like a proud papa as he related Fulton's genesis as an alternative assignment for an internship.  Check out Fulton's story page for a well written summary.  In short, four buddies learn how to brew good beer together and their passion starts a brewery through research, hard work and faith.  The Local was the first bar to give them a draft line and they have grown from there. I admire their courage and resourcefulness--I would not have gotten over so many hurdles.
New pilot system that passes code--
unlike the original homebrew set up
that's on display in the taproom
"How Fulton beer is Made" display
According to Jay, Fulton's goal as always been to have "approachable and session-able beer."  Giving examples of great beers (that I'll leave nameless) that he loves but can't drink more than one or two, Jay contrasted Fulton's aim to be the beer to drink with friends at home for an evening or a tailgate for a day instead the beer geek trader.

Beginning of tour and art work of founders in upper left

The distance covered in the tour isn't far, so grab a pint to sip while listening to Jay entertain and inform.  He ranged from a Homerian quote (Simpson version: "Beer has food value, but food doesn't have food value") to beer politics to how much the cows of a local farmer love the spent grain.

Second part of tour by brewhouse
In one section, he discussed the value of the taproom and Fulton's investments in the brewhouse from the Surly bill profits: two tanks, a chiller, and new employees. Plus taxes from more beer and salaries are going to state.  By Jay's estimate, all of this is about 18 months ahead of schedule compared to how Fulton would have grown under previous state laws.  He also attributes beer expansion in Minnesota since 2009 to this change.  While formal analysis of the law's effect is beyond my scope, Fulton is clearly a fan and believes that it's allowed them to be a more successful business, faster.

While a trip into the business of beer was unique for tours and interesting, I marveled at the feel of Fulton--it's like a large homebrew operation.  Well designed, I can see the influence of their homebrew background, right down to the same brewing friend that I cherish: a spray bottle of sanitizer hanging by its trigger.

The brewery seems rather labor intensive compared to some that I've seen, but it felt to me like I was seeing an intermediate step, which Jay confirmed late in the tour.  Fulton is looking to expand to another location and do everything in house, including bottling.  Hopefully, in the future, I'll be able to repeat the tour in a new facility and hear the next chapter of the Fulton story.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Delirium Pub (Brussels, BE)

Delirium Pub main bar on main floor that's up and to the right.
DrinkingCaracole Forestinne Mystery

On my way out of the Delirium Monesterium, I saw the sign that said Delirium Village. I found my way back that night to the Delirium Cafe proper--kinda.  I headed upstairs to the larger, seemingly main bar, and later upstairs to the Hoppy Loft. I learned from the bartender in the Hoppy Loft that I still hadn't been in the Delirium Cafe after three attempts. Persistence is key in every pub hunt.

The beer list is daunting--wow. And that's just the draft list. The short list doesn't have the breweries listed, so it was difficult to decide. I haven't felt this confused ordering a beer since the very early days of the beer path. I feel like a newbie.

Order what ever looks interesting at first glance and ask for the book of beers--it's a must!  Each beer on draft has a full page with art, prices, brewery and a description--most of it in English. First beer for me is Brouwerij Caracole, Forestinne Mystery, a hazy old gold ale with an off white head. Sweet spiciness to offset a very strong earthiness that lives up to the forest imagery and elves on the bottle art.

Belgoobeer's Belgoo Arboo
Similar to my first Great American Beer Festival, showing up at Delirium at night puts a hard spin on the place. The myth and the actually don't match.  Yes, they have a lot of great beer and the serve it well, including the glass rinse, full tap pull, Euro head shave with a wet knife and the final water rinse of the stem.  But the party atmosphere is unnerving and not comfortable.

Back bar is industrial and made for pouring a ton a beer without worrying about the mess. Kegs are out in the open and hooked up like a top notch homebrew set up.

When I walked in the bar, the table of young women behind me was singing along at the top of their lungs with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. The clientele, tonight anyway, is very much towards the young and loud, but the bar isn't very full on a Thursday night, so not a problem yet.

My second beer is truly a Belgium--looks good and no idea what the style is. I'm going with Belgian IPA as a catch all:  Belgoo Arbo from Brasserie la Binchoise. The Delirium description says "Belgian 4 hops amber tripel beer."  Label art says "Hoppy Amber Beer."  Style doesn't matter in Belgium, or so I've heard.  Belgoo Arbo has heavily earthy hops with no real bite, blended with a light yeast twist underneath. Heavy, dirty white lace over hazy gold to amber ale, depending on the light. Myriad of nut and light fruit flavors underneath. Not a new favorite, but an interesting beer that I can honestly say I've never tasted the likes of before. Which, for me, is the purpose of travel abroad for beer.  As it warms, the flavors blend a bit more.

Delirium Pub, Brussels, Belgium
At 9 pm the sound doubled--the music and the young people yelling to each in conversation. The bartender very nicely let me pay for both beers after the second one, even though they don't run tabs in here. I learned earlier today that there's a 5 Euro minimum to use a card, so I used that to talk the bartender into holding it open for the bald guy typing at the bar.

As I was finishing at the Pub, two guys at the bar asked if I was writing a blog.  Answering yes, he made me promise to say that Pakistani's love beer. He and his friend attended university in England and this is their graduation party. Cheers to the Pakistani beer lovers!

The Pub is worth the effort to visit and a very fun place. The original bar is the downstairs section, which I haven't done.  Tonight, I went directly into the draft only pub. I planned to drink the Cafe next.  But I when walked down the spiral stairs, it was as loud as the pub, so I headed up to the Hoppy Loft and got, understandably, lost there for another draft.

The Cafe will have to wait for another day.