The Beer Gatherer

Blogging about Israeli beer in general and Israeli craft beer in particular, following 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die and other beer musings.

Archive for the category “Pilsner”

August Recap

Been quiet over the past couple of months. That’s because I’ve been posting more in my Hebrew blog and at the Sanedrink website (Hebrew alert: bar reviews and interviews with local brewers, as long as an MA thesis.) Actually, I’ve been lazying around for the better part of August, gathering energy for the new and exciting phase in my career, that is joining The Milk & Honey Distillery team – the first craft distillery in Israel.
I knew that joining the team was the right thing to do on my first day. I opened the fridge, wanted to see if they got soy milk by any chance – dunno why I did, cos no one else is vegan there – only to find out that the only thing in the fridge are a couple of dozen bottles of beers that Tomer, our head distiller, brewed for us to drink. Fun!

Then came September, with holidays that never ended, followed by the world’s most annoying exam that took place yesterday – keep your fingers crossed for me, so I won’t have to repeat that tedious Corporate Law course.

As usual, I continue my trip down the 1001 list, dedicated this entry to the month of August, which was quite fruitful, beer-wise. Teva Boy’s rare appearance at a tasting brought a bunch of bottles he brought from Italy, two of which were lagers: Ducato VIÆMILIA is a kellerbier, with a clear-to-hazy blond colour and a white head. Sweet and a little malty aroma, malt and grain and a little vegetal taste. Light-to-medium body, malty, grainy and warm finish. Lambrate Montestella is a lager from Milan, hazy blond with a thick white head. Grainy and toasty aroma, bitter, toasty, some minerals in the mouth. Medium body, slightly bitter finish, quite carbonated. Nice.


Next is 32 Via dei Birrai Oppale, an Italian Belgian ale that comes in a pretty bottle, and is surprisingly light and refreshing. Hazy-cloudy blond with a white head. Fruity, pear and peach aroma. Sweet, fruity, cantaloupe taste. Soft bitterness, soft carbonation, fruity finish. Brùton Stoner is Belgian Strong Ale with 7.5% abv. Hoppy, tropical, pineapple and mango aroma, sweet taste, a little oxidized, honey and fruit. Full, syrupy, mildly carbonated, somewhat bitter finish.

rokporterAt the same tasting we shared a bottle of Nils Oscar Rökporter, a smoked porter I got from a Summer Secret Santa Swap on Ratebeer. Very dark brown-black with a tan head. Smoky, sausage, chocolate and smoked keifli snack aroma, smoky, a little bitter, and roasty taste, followed by onion. Full body, long, roasty and smoky finish. Smoked is my favourite style, if you can call it a style, as smoky notes can be found in plenty of beer styles, and Rokporter is in my top 10 smoked beers, according to my stats.

A week later, at Max’s place, we shared a can I got in another trade, Sly Fox Pikeland Pils. This Pennsylvanian pilsener  must’ve been decent when it was fresh, but sadly my can wasn’t. Clear pale gold with a white head. Old grain and yellow grass aroma, old bitterness and some hay in the mouth. Light body, bitter and a little hay finish. Stas brought a bottle of Forstner Styrian Ale from his visit to Vienna, just two weeks or so before I got there – thanks for the bottle and for all the tips! Brown ale, 6.2% abv. that are a wee bit heavy for Tel Aviv’s August. Murky dark brown with a frothy beige head. Nutty aroma with a little caramel. Nutty and a little bitter taste. Medium body, fizzy,  bitter and nutty finish. Would’ve liked it more in October, for sure, but it was quite alright still.


Later in August, Tomer from Ratebeer hosted a tasting for his 50th birthday. Plenty of people, so we shared two big bottles: Jämtlands Heaven, that for a schwartzbier was quite heavenly, courtesy of the above-mentioned Secret Santa Swap. also from Sweden, it pours very dark brown, and topped with a beige film. Malty and a little dry toast notes in the nose lead to  dry, bitter, toasty and a little rye spiciness in the mouth. Medium body, fine fizz, dry, malty bitter finish. We also shared in that tasting a bottle of Montegioco Demon Hunter, an Italian Belgian Strong Ale that my Excellent Little Brother bought in New York when I was in Paris last year. It comes wrapped in a crepe’ paper, all fancy and stuff, but I really don’t understand why it’s in The Book, as there’s nothing remarkable or unusual here. Murky honey-brown with white film. Honeydew, yeast, a little spicy, perfume-like aroma, sweet and yeasty taste with some honey. Medium-to-full body, some plastic and soft fizz.

Ducato VIÆMILIA, Lambrate Montestella, 32 Via dei Birrai Oppale,  Brùton Stoner, Nils Oscar Rökporter, Sly Fox Pikeland Pils, Forstner Styrian Ale,  Jämtlands Heaven, Montegioco Demon Hunter are beers #444, #445, #446, #447, #448, #449, #450, #451, #452 I Must Try Before I Die. That’s 9 Book beers in the month of August. Not bad!

Greetings from the Bygone Empire

trumer hadmar

Has it really been a month since the last time I wrote? An intense month it was, I guess. Some university stuff, the jobseeking, plenty of errands and a spontaneous trip to Austria and Hungary! while I ended up drinking plenty of beer, mainly due to bottlesharing and samples, I used my time in Central Europe to walking and relaxing. Some cemetery visits, strolling by the Danube and visiting Zentralfriedhof, Vienna’s largest cemetery. I believe that the best way to get familiar with a place is to visit its drinking joints and cemeteries. Both Hungary and Austria are experiencing a craft beer revolution, with the emergence of breweries, specialty shops, brewpubs and craft beer pubs. First published in 2008, The 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die book which I’ve been following ever since starting this blog, has either overlooked the local scenes. They may have been too small to notice at that time, as far as I know. There was one Hungarian beer in the book, Dreher Bak that we drank in 2012, and 12 Austrian beers. We’ve already covered Urbock 23, Stiegl Goldbrau and only recently – Samichlaus which stands out, as most of the Austrian beers in the book are generic lagers, sort of. Yet, finding them was hard. Some are seasonal, other local. Out of the 9 remaining beers, I only got a hold on two.

I found Trumer Pils at the first bar I visited. The Krah Krah is a noisy, smoky (like everywhere in Vienna) old-school bar, not far from the Canal. At 16:45 in the afternoon it was full of men who were socializing after work. There are a bunch of taps of  mostly Austrian beers, and some bottles, with Leffe being pretty much the more exotic option. Trumer is served in a flute-like glass, thin and quite elegant. It pours clear gold with a big white head and has fine aroma of grass and grain. It tastes bitter and slightly buttery, but not in a way that really fucks up with the beer. Light-bodied and quaffable, perfect for that hot summer afternoon, in this unair-conditioned venue.

My friends and hosts Anna and Roey, had a bottle of Hadmar, an organic pale lager, and shared it with me. Clear and fizzy gold with a white head, cereal and grain aroma, light bitterness and malty with some grass. Medium body, with a mouthful bitterness and malt. It tasted great but I cannot help but wonder how a different ambiance would’ve affected my impression – colder weather, different people…

Trumer Pils and Hadmaer are beers #437 and #438 I Must Try Before I Die. Budapest and Vienna are great cities to visit: beer is good, people are friendly, prices are between reasonable to dirt cheap and food is awesome and surprisingly vegan-friendly. Head to for beer and for food. As for the rest of the Austrian beers on the book – I guess I’ll have to visit there again. Next time with The Secret Agent.

Quaffable and German

Veltins Pilsener is a harmless German beer. Pale in colour, slightly grassy aroma, mildly bitter and light-bodied. Augustiner Edelstoff, brought by Teva Boy to a bottleshare (only canned) is a light Helles beer, with a soft bread-grainy aroma, light body and a mildly bitter, yet grainy taste. This too is harmless and true-to-style for sure. Teva Boy also shared with us Andechser Weissbier Hell, which is a pretty amazing Hefeweizen. Cloudy yellow with white film. Classy aroma – banana and clove. Yeasty bittersweet taste. Medium-to-full body, slightly dried banana finish.

These 3 German beers, all suitable for summertime drinking but only the latter actually recommended, are Beers #425, #426 and #427 I Must Try Before I Die.

A and B in a Nutshell

I had zero expectations from Alhambra Negra. Brewed by a Carlsberg-owned Spanish brewery, commercial and Dunkel. I was glad to find out that it’s an easy-to-drink beer, raisin-smelling and fruity but still bitter in the mouth. Nothing outstanding but its light body and mild flavours make Alhambra Negra an alright alternative for summery pale lagers.

It’s definitely better than 3 Fonteinen Beersel Lager. The latter sure stands out compared to better known Belgian lagers such as Stella Artois and Jupiler (if you haven’t watched this gem brought to us by Swedish TV, please do. It’s quite amusing), but it’s still not very good or exciting. Cloudy golden with white head. Smelly peach, a little cardboard and perfumed sweetness. Bitter and rather watery taste. Medium-to-light body, mild fizz, bitter finish.


Alhambra Negra and Beersel Lager are beers #233 and #234 I Must Try Before I Die.



budweiser_budvar ???????????????????????????????

Pardon the cliche’, but I just had to write about the following two beers in one entry.

Czech Budweiser Budvar Světlý Ležák and Slovak Zlatý Bažant, both pilsners, both available in Israel and sold for rather cheap. Also the rating I gave to both beers are pretty similar, with a slight, almost insignificant preference to the former.  Without further ado, here are my tasting notes:

Budweiser Budvar is clear and golden fizzy, with minimal white head. Its aroma reminds me of straw, faint malt,flowers and lemon but it also has this typical mineral thingy.The taste is refreshing and bitter, body’s light and carbonation is fair. Poured from a can, Zlaty Bazant is also clear and gold-coloured and has a nice, frothy white head. Its aroma too has minerals but other than that I smelled apple juice concentrate and honey. The taste is bitter too, but I noted sweet, caramel undertones. Compared to other Czech pilsners, Zlaty Baznat’s body is a little heavier than Budvar’s and it has malty finish.

Both are alright beer and relatively cheap for import. Which one wins? I think that the Slovak one because of the maltiness and the body.

Budvar Světlý Ležák and Slovak Zlatý Bažant are beers #230 and #231 I Must Try Before I Die.

Tripel Pilsener

Been accumulating a bunch of German brews in my notebook, too many to fit in one entry. Today is German Pilsener time, at least in writing, as drinking plans for tonight include an Israeli Belgian Tripel and maybe a visit to the Dancing Camel.

Weihenstephan_pilsWeihenstephaner Pils is the third and last beer from the brewery whose name I hate to type the most that is listed in the book (look here for notes about Vitus and the Weissbier). We’ve been drinking Weihenstephaner quite a lot recently: Carlsberg Israel, who also represent Weihenstephan in the country, just started marketing bottled Weissbier. In the 10 years since its landing in the local market the beer was only served on tap, gained popularity – Israel is the largest Weihenstephaner drinker per capita – and now we can finally drink this great beer at home. Anyway, I was invited to a press event that included an interesting tasting guided by Herr Frank Peifer, Head Braumeister and got a generous swag bag with bottles that are widely available elsewhere but not here – lucky us. One of the beers in the bag was the Pils, a bless since the bottle we had sampled from a couple of months ago was already a little old and off. The freebie beer poured clear and golden and had a great bready aroma, a little grassy, a little lemony, and a very grainy taste. highly carbonated, light-bodied, smooth and very refreshing.

Weihenstephaner Pils, Jever Pilsener and Flensburger Pilsener are beers #214, #215 and #216 I Must Try Before I Die and I’m glad I drank them.

jeverpilsenerWe brought a  Jever Pilsener can from Switzerland – that was a while ago already! First brewed a year after NSADP was ‘democratically’ elected (why do I have to mention this? cos my geekiness expands to other fields, WWII is one of them, that why). This is a straight-to-the-point pilsener: grainy aroma, a little sweet with hints of melon. Bitterness follows the initially sweet taste, the body is light and the aftertaste is grainy. Very drinkable and nice.

flensburger-pilsenerLast on today’s list but definitely not least is Flensburger Pilsener that comes all the way fom Germany’s northernmost Bundesland Schleswig-Holstein. The 1001 book tells us that the flip-top “Plop” sound was trademarked by the brewery. I can’t remember what it sounded like when we opened the bottle that Teva Boy shared with us. It must be different than, say, the sound of Grolsch’s flip top bottle: different glass, different size, different sound, but since pouring and opening sounds aren’t rateable, at least not among our peer group, no one seems to notice, I think. What did we notice then? The grainy and a little grassy aroma; the fresh, grainy bitter taste; the light body; and the sweet and a little metallic finish. Fun to drink as well, but less than the previous two.

(edited 19/4: where the hell did the last and most important sentence go?!?! These three German pilseners are beers #214, #215 and #216 I Must Try Before I Die!)

Catching Up With The Czechs.

Shachar organizes beer tours to beer countries: Belgium in the spring and Czech Republic and Germany in the fall. The lucky bastard’s work actually includes traveling to beer countries. Well, what can I say? At least to some extent one is responsible to one’s destiny, right? Anyway, he always brings beer from his trips and like the others in the beer crew, he too is granted an access to the 1001 list. Here are a bunch of stuff from that book that Shachar shared with us lately:

Chodovar Zámecký Ležák Special is a bohemian pilsener, Clear, bubbly and headless with a sweet malty aroma that bears grain and laundry detergent notes as well. It tastes bitter, metallic and a little watery. It has a light body and sweet finish and it’s far from being amazing – time and travel probably didn’t do her good.

Pardubický Porter is a baltic porter dated back to the late 19th century. It pours dark brown with tan head, has a sweet, malty, somewhat liquorish aroma. It tasted bitter and malty and has a medium body. Nothing too exciting.

Last beer for today’s entry is Svijanský Rytíř Bitter that despite its name is another pils. Not that it’s a bad thing. Quite the contrary. In the long Israeli summer few things are more enjoyable than fresh Czech pilsner slowly poured from the tap. Well, this is a bottled beer sampled in a (relatively) cold night in January. It wasn’t bad, mind you. Clear, dark golden in colour, citrus pulp, sewage and artificial banana aroma and sour taste, but in a good way, like lemon juice. Then comes malt, but for a short visit. Light body and a surprising spicy finish – I sensed some cumin.

So here we have it, 3 Czech beers, none is too amazing (or at least the bottles we put our hands on weren’t), but, well, they’re listed. Chodovar Zámecký Ležák Special, Pardubický Porter and Svijanský Rytíř Bitter are beers #176, #177, #178 I Must Try Before I Die, they say.

Multi-Taps in Israel

Despite the recent craft beer renaissance, With an annual beer consumption of 14L per capita Israel still has a long way to go until it truly becomes a beer country. Like in many other countries, the local industry is dominated by two multinationals: Heineken (represented by Tempo Industries) and Carlsberg (represented by Israeli Beer Breweries). Each markets a number of beers. The former has local icons such as Macabbee, Nesher and Goldstar as well as Murphy’s, Newcastle, Samuel Adams, Paulaner and of course, Heineken. The latter has Wheinstephan, Guinness, Carlsberg, Tuborg (and Israel’s own Tuborg Red), Stella Artois, Leffe and probably a bunch of others. The duopoly enjoys a market share estimated in 95%-98%, which means that until a serious shift in consumers’ taste occurs, importers and local craft breweries hold 2-5% of the market.

The way things are, it is a miracle that Israelis are actually in the business of making and marketing beer  in the first place and a wonder that there are bars that serve more than the taps offered to them by the big player they are connected to. There are a bunch of places that offer 10 or even 15 taps, but real multi-taps that operate a system consists of 50 taps or more are still a rare sight here. As far as I know there are three bars like that. All three are located in Central Israel.

porterandsonslogoThe first and oldest, i.e being in operation for 3 years or so is Porter and Sons in Tel Aviv city center. Opened by industry veterans, owners of Norma Jean bistro/ former owners of Norman bar/ the people behind Norman Premium who import brands such as Duvel Moortgat, Chimay, Brooklyn Brewery and Fuller’s. With 50 beers on tap, dozens of bottles and special keg-events in occasions such as Independence Day (Israeli craft beers), Oktoberfest and winter – time for heavy Belgian ales, this is a favourite spot and a must for beer lovers. We sit at the Porter and Sons quite alot and the place has been mentioned in the blog before. Recent visits yielded notes about Erdinger Dunkel on tap, that had sweet plastic, caramel, malt and raisin aroma and sweetish yet slightly bitter taste. Of all the German beer available in Israel, I think that Erdinger is our least favourite. It just isn’t as great as other, even commercial, German brands have.


I also got to drink a couple of Belgian beers there lately: Hoegaarden is widely available and its jar-sized glass can be seen in plenty of bars, only The Secret Agent and I don’t frequent plenty of bars. Visit The Beer Gatherer’s Facebook page to see where we usually drink – we posted a link to DSG’s picture gallery that sums it up. Syncing my 1001 follow-up list  to my Andriod allowed me on our last visit to the bar to look up beers that need to be sampled, so Hoegaarden it was, and it was not bad at all – quite good even. Fresh, citrusy, chewy and as rich as Belgian wheat beer gets. We also ordered Tripel Karmeliet on tap. I used to love Karmeliet but now it’s just too sweet and heavy on my taste buds, with too much honey and too much flower.

2 more multi-tap bars joined the local scene last summer. Both are located in the monstrous suburb Rishon LeZion (which is actually the 4th largest city in the country). 55 Drafts & More is a corporate bar that is a part of a cinema multiplex in the western industrial area. Size matters, the owners think, and quantity counts more than quality. Mostly commercial beer, apathetic staff and high prices to captured audience or perhaps an audience that doesn’t really care about beer and is just happy to have another faceless, soulless night out option in the ‘burbs.

The Pirate Pub is the complete opposite. Located on the other side of town, in the old eastern industrial area in what used to  be a wedding hall and then a night club that caters to the Russian immigrant crowd, the Pirate is huge, filled with endless wooden boots and a great, rustic atmosphere. Despite the trilingual menu, it is clear that the target audience is Russian: the food served there is not your typical bar food but mostly Russian dishes, the beer in the 50 taps includes plenty of German and Czech brews that are popular among this crowd, the staff is Russian and so is the default language you’ll be approached to. The rustic atmosphere mentioned above is expressed in the relaxed, homey feeling on one hand, but on the other hand it is also apparent in the somewhat low-maintenance of the taps and some lack of knowledge among the friendly and willing staff.

The Pirate Pub. This goes on and on (note the ceiling)

The Pirate Pub. This goes on and on (note the ceiling)

Being Tel Avivians who don’t drink and drive but are also too busy to take the long bus ride to the suburb we don’t frequent the Pirat as much as we would have liked. Last time we visited was 3 months ago. They threw an Oktoberfest event with Bischoff Kellerbier, Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier and Tucher Bergkirchweih Festbier on tap. We drank them all and also took a mug of Gambrinus Premium that was a bit old but we drank it anyway because it’s a pretty hard to get pils. Its aroma was delicate and crispy and it tasted somewhat sweet and a little medicinal – not what you’d expect to taste. Old. The Pirate Pub is one of those places where it’s good to ask what’s popular or keg was recently replaced, but despite all its flaws, which might have been fixed since our visit, it’s one of the nicer places for beer in central Israel.

Erdinger Dunkel, Hoegaarden, Tripel Karmeliet and Gambrinus Premium are beers #163′ #164, #165 and #166 I Must Try Before I Die.

A Night Out With The Belgians

I went out by myself last night. The Secret Agent was working and I visited my grandma after work. Dealing with my family would make a devoted Scientologist resume to psychiatric medication, but I just headed up the street from grandma, walked past  my beloved Little Prague, turned right in the alley and at the sight of the usual madding crowd at the Minzar kept walking. Don’t care much about that smokey hipster bar near Salon Berlin so I stopped at Norman’s.

Opened like 10 years ago by the people who run Norman Premium, probably the biggest marketers of craft beer in Israel,  the drinks that are poured and served at the bar are still mainly Norman products, even under the new ownership. We are not big fans of the place: the tiny space is claustrophobic, prices are high and the tap selection is pretty much limited to Belgian stuff and seems to never change. Anyway, it wasn’t as full or familiar as the other bars around and I just wanted a quiet drink. A quick look at the tables and I knew what to order: Bel Pils, light beer to lighten up my mood. That’s a Belgian Pilsener brewed by Duvel Moortgat that I first saw served in bars some 2 years ago. Guess that Norman Premium had to add a light lager to their line of products for the sake of the pubs that pour their stuff or something. This is a clear blond beer that has fresh grassy saaz hops aroma  and lacks the smell of lemon that so many pilseners have. As the beer sits in the glass malty aroma is released and does it good. Taste is bitter, lemony and tangy,  the body is light and carbonation is lively – a little too lively to my taste – and its finish rich for its kind.  To sum up, Bel Pils is a fun choice when you are surrounded by heavy Belgian ales and fancy something lighter. It cannot be compared to the Czech goodness that’s poured up the alley, though.

I was going to drink one glass and head home, but Ms. Dover responded to my FB check-in, saying she’s on her way there so I waited and ordered another glass, this time St. Bernardus Abt 12. When I started to mind what I drink, this used to be my favourite beer. Its complexity fascinated me and The Secret Agent and I bought it and ordered it whenever we could. I reviewed it last year in my Hebrew beer blog and it tasted a little strange to me. At that time I related the strangeness to a hoppy phase, but last night’s taste revealed that I just can’t stand this beer anymore. It smelled of raisins and spices and was heavy on my nose. I sniffed it for quite some time, making a fool of myself at the bar, scared to taste. Finally I closed my eyes and sipped. It’s been a long time since I last drank St. Bernardus, any St. Bernardus. I expected sweetness, but the alcoholic smack was a true surprise. Sweetness came afterwards but what I used to enjoy now feels too crude. Full body, carbonation, long bitter alcoholic finish and general WTF sensation.

a long time ago we used to be friends

Shocked, I left Ms. Dover and her friend and took the bus home. It happens to be that we live right by Chouffeland, a small street bar that pours Brassarie d’Achouffe ales from its 3 taps but mostly serves commercial bottled lagers to the d’Ouchebags of the neighbourhood. The Shmupis, two AVID fans of Belgian ales, such avid fans that calling them avid fans is belittling the phenomenon, had checked in there so I stopped by and called The Secret Agent, who just returned from work. In need of hop-infusion, I ordered Chouffe Houblon. The Secret Agent opted for Mc Chouffe which I’ve already written about. Mine was exactly what the doctor prescribed: Hazy golden blond liquid protected by a bright white frothy head that smells hoppy; some grass, some fruit and grapefruit, a little alcoholic too, but nothing to fuss about. It tasted bitter, hoppy and fun. With a light-to-medium body, long, bitter finish and a surprising balance, it was a fun beer for a summery night. Yup, late September, sun sets practically in the afternoon, thanks to the thoughtless arrogant bastards that run this country, but temperature is still in the upper 20’s (Celsius, right?).

How was the Mc Chouffe? It was good. Sweet, bun-like aroma, a little malt and some wine. It tasted sweet and malty and had a full body, mild carbonation and a long malty finish. Good beer. I was happy that I could enjoy a full dose of strong Belgian ale; during tastings we only sample beer and at home we share bottles and hardly ever drink Belgian beer these days. All in all it was a good experience.

With the Mc Chouffe and beers #113, #114 and #115 I Must Try Before I Die in my system, falling asleep and putting family shit behind, if only for a short while, was easy.

Another recap, oh no!

It’s this time of the year again, the end of the semester and the realization that unless I wake up – literally – I’ve been developing narcolepsy, I swear! –  doomsday is near. Between sleep, work, procrastination and study, I get to drink beer but not to write about my imbibing adventures. Thus, here’s another long list of cool stuff I drank and ticked.

I’m glad I got to drink Stone Smoked Porter again. I actually tried it in a blind tasting that took place in the winter, but the listing in the 1001 book went under the radar. I have a thing for smoke and perhaps because I knew what I was drinking I liked it better. Context is a huge thing and it’s stupid to ignore or deny its existence. So, smoke, wood and a little peat aroma, soft smokey bitter taste, Bitter, alcoholic finish, medium body, soft carbonation. How can this go wrong? It can’t.

I tried to score a bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale from my colleague, The Witch from Zamość. She took her son on a trip to London last April and I provided her with a list of bottle I assumed are widely-distributed. She looked for Fuller’s Vintage, shopkeepers looked at her, puzzled, and her search was cut by a sprained ankle. Small batches of this beer have been produced annually since 2005, with the recipe slightly changing each time. A fine beer it was, that 2010 vintage.  Pours reddish nutmeg, cloudy with a white head. Berry, honey and cherry aroma and a bitter, somewhat dry taste. Body is medium, finish is malty and carbonation is soft. Perhaps next time  The Witch from Zamość visits the British capital I’ll get a newer batch (hint hint).

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale comes in a can which is cool. An APA, it pours clear and golden and has a delicate peach, flower and citrus aroma. The beer is very bitter, but rather soft and not dry. Body is light and finish is strong and bitter. Not bad at all.

Pilsener is not what people seek after when shopping for beer in the US. We tend to look for IPA’s or heavy stuff like imperial stout or sour ales, but since I’m on a mission, I take what I can. Since the mission called for Stoudt’s Pils, I got a hold on a bottle and shared with the gang.  The beer pours murky pale golden with white film and barley, flowers, honeysuckle aroma. It’s a really, really light beer. So light that it hardly has any taste at all. Then, suddenly, it becomes toasty. Texture is smooth, finish is light. I liked this beer. I wonder whether I would’ve liked it if was shared by someone else. Our tasting buddies weren’t too crazy about it.

When the Beer Greek flew to a beer marketing conference in Copenhagen, I asked him to fetch some bottles from the book. And so he did, on the last few hours before the flight home. One of those beers was Little Korkny Ale from Nørrebro Brewery. Barley wine with a deep sweet heavy taste (and cherry), and aroma that bears wine, yeast, a little alcoholic, berry and dried figs. It’s a heavy beer, with a long finish  that ends with cherry. One bottle is sure to put you to sleep.

Back in May we drank Goose Island Sofie, a mildly-sour Saison. Matilda is a Belgian ale, Sofie’s sister. Matilda is also sour, but whereas Sofie leans towards sweetness, Matilda bears some bitterness instead.

Not only Belgian-style ales did we drink. We finally opened De Struise Black Albert, a bottle bought in a small, shady shoppe in Brugge last October. In fact, this is the beer that inspired my 1001 Project. Last year, while ticking beers in the Hebrew blog on an almost-daily basis, I stumbled upon this blog, an attempt to follow the book that apparently went on hiatus after 133 beers. I hope they get back to writing, though. Beer #125 was Black Albert, which label stunned me. I had it on my mind on our trip and without knowing anything about De Struise I bought a bottle, in case I’d embark on this journey. This is one great beer: black, opaque, alcoholic and somewhat burnt. Wood and sweetness in the mouth. I’m so glad there are more De Struise beers down the road. It’s a great to have an excuse to hunt them.

Bear Republic is another brewery we sampled two beers from within a month. Pete Brown Tribute Ale was rich and awesome, with a beige head, aroma that reminded me of soy sauce, plum and chocolate and overall sweetness in the mouth. Bear Republic Racer 5, the brewery’s IPA, is fun and bears both citrus and pine in the nose. It’s a bitter beer, of course, but its bitterness is soft, almost muddy. It has a citrus finish, and hoppy aftertaste.

2011 edition of Anchor Brewing Company  Our Special Ale was alright. I can’t compare it to earlier editions, but the bottle we shared contained murky brown liquid with a yellow-beige head, wintery aroma of sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and clove, and dry, sweet taste that wasn’t too amazing.

Who brought a bottle of Brewdog’s Paradox Jura? Isle of Arran and Smokehead has just been tasted not too long ago. Jura must be my favourite though. Smoke, peat, salt in the nose, woody, bitter, metallic in the mouth, oily texture and smokey finish. Doubt I could drink this regularly, but it’s a wonderful sipping beer for special occasions, and a good reminder that last time I’ve been to Scotland was 12 years ago. About time to return, isn’t it?

I’m reaching 1000 words so I’ll stop here. Racer 5, Our Special Ale, Black Albert, Stoudts Pils, Little Korkny Ale, Fuller’s Vintage, Stone Smoked Porter, Dale’s Pale Ale and Matilda are beers #76, #77, #78, #79, #80, #81, #82, #83 I must try before I die.


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