Saturday, April 11, 2009

Two more Belgian beers

These two beers are from a small, craft brewer in a Flemish borough of Bruges, Belgium
Called Assebroek.

The Brewery, De Regenbook (which means The Rainbow) was founded in 1995 by Johan Brandt and they currently produce about 300 HL of beer per year, making it one of the smallest of the Belgian craft breweries. Johan is also a bee keeper.

When Johan fist started the brewery, he was brewing only one barrel per week . 4 years later, he increased to 1.5 barrels per week, which meant full time, all year. The brewery now produces just under 5 barrels per week (300 HL per year). Half of their beer is exported.

The first beer:
BB Bourgondier 't Smisje
12% ABV
Bottle conditioned

Brewed with:
malt, hops, candi sugar, Valerian and Lemon Balm, yeast and water.

The herb Valerian used in this beer, has been used since 400 BC for treatment of insomnia. But, at 12 ABV, I don’t think insomnia will be a problem.

Not heavily carbonated
Beautiful Copper color
Smokey and moderate maltiness in the mouth

Yeasty, but with a nutty character that goes well with the beer.
More of the spice became evident as it warmed up, and the citrusy notes, probably partially from the lemon balm, but mostly from the yeast was noticeable.

The finish was nice, lingering for a while. It was a bit hot, mostly because of the high
Alcohol level, but the malt balanced much of that out.

The second beer:
Also, an ale brewed with spices.
5% ABV
Bottle conditioned

Traditional Belgian white ale (witbier)
60% barley malt, 40% wheat malt, hops(Kent Goldings & Challenger), coriander and fresh orange peel

Clean nose, Coriander but no pronounced citrus
significant carbonation, maybe even too much
Not much lacing or head retention
Light body, very crisp
Mildly acidic

Not enough body to support the level of carbonation
As it warmed up, it got a bit of a soapy character and had lost all
of the orange

This beer started off promising. I expected that it would open up as it warmed, but it flattened out and did not finish well.

In some ways, it reminded me of some Berlin weisen beers with its sharp edge and zesty fiz, so this would be worth trying again on a warmer day. That might suite it better than a cool evening for tasting.

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