So… we’re flying to Switzerland for the weekend.
Ain’t the above sentence sounds, well, European? A featherlight getaway, one in a few that The Secret Agent and I take every year. Not as exciting as the tracks in Vietnam or the parties in Ibiza, but still fun and necessary break.
Of course, being Israelis who struggle for every shekel that enters our bank account, this weekend getaway is anything but obvious: we are going to The Young Gods’ show at the Rote Fabrik, a silver jubilee of their first album. Needless to say, we plan to cram the weekend with as many beer tastings and hunting as possible, although neither Basel nor Zürich seem like big beer cities (you can buy Mongolian beer there and we know enough people who consider this fact a good enough reason to visit a town but still…).
Before heading to the Land of Expensive Brews, we stopped in Jaffa, at REL’s parents’ lovely apartment, for a short tasting in Riedel glasses, with a smaller group than usual and a smaller variety of beer than usual. Yet, there was a variety. We brought 4 beers from the book and Teva Boy, a lucky bastard who has just returned from a business travel to Copenhagen, provided two more listed beers.
We started the tasting with Boag, James Boag’s Premium Lager. A mediocre lager that traveled from Tasmania to Tel Aviv via New York, and spent too much time in metal containers for its own good. I find it hard to believe that there was anything special about this beer when it’s fresh. Apparently there was a clash of kings between the Late Michael Jackson to Boag’s brewery owner regarding the nature of Australian beer. You may call it hubris, but as opposed to The Beer Hunter, I cannot praise this generic pale lager.
Next followed Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor that Alma7 brought back from her visit to Bruges and Unibroue Blanche de Chambly, both from breweries I appreciate, both I was looking forward to drink.Unfortunately, both were rather disappointing. You’d expect a beer named Hopsinjoor to be hoppy. Well, there were *some* hops in the aroma and there was *some* bitterness in the mouth, but the general feel of this Belgian Stong Ale was of yeast. It’s an OK beer, but I find it a case of false advertising. Blanche de Chambly was disappointing in a different level. A Belgian-style white beer/ witbier/ wheat beer this one’s supposed to be, but instead of bold coriander and citrus aroma and taste, we drank a delicate, almost tasteless, peach-coloured and peach smelling brew that was very drinkable but that’s about it. There’s nothing to this beer besides drinkability.
The one good beer we shared was Green Flash West Coast IPA. Its mild skunkiness can be attributed to age, but I can live with that. Piney hoppiness, green, grassy bitterness and light-to-medium body.
Other than the 4 bottles we brought, we should thank Teva Pharmaceuticals for sending Teva Boy to try out machinery in Denmark. He brought a bottle of recently retired Nørrebro Bryghus Bombay Pale Ale. As the name indicates that’s an IPA. A retired beer, it’s waaaay past its prime. The one we shared was skunky and watery and smelled of yeast, malt and cleaning detergant. What a shame.
[Edited to add:
We actually drank Nørrebro Bombay Pale Ale (Økologisk) which is a new, all-organic version of ye olde BPA, launched last November. This makes it even sadder that the beer was off. Thanks, DSG, for yet another correction.]
Luckily, the other bottle Teva Boy shared, Limfjord Dark Porter, a baltic porter with an unattractive label, was superb. Roasty, woody, a little port and fenol in the nose, apparent barrel in the mouth and all in all an interesting and good beer.
To sum up this tasting, no heights but not true lows. Just beers #142, #143, #144, #145, #146 and #147 I Must Try Before I Die.