Beer Reviews – May 2009

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It would seem that the newest style of brewing to come out of Utah is Belgians, and I am not complaining one bit. The Belgian style of brewing is a long-maturing process that places a strong emphasis on the yeast and conditions that it’s put under. The slightest of temperature fluctuations during fermentation can change the beer entirely, while the aging process can work wonders for the complexity of flavors. Even better than drinking these brews, I have a particular fondness for pairing these with foods that will bring out the best of their flavors, and why not pair these with the fair of Utah’s best new Belgian shoppe, Bruges Waffles & Frites?

Rêve (Bottle #1087)
Brewer/Brand: RedRock Brewing Company
Abv: 10.3% abv
Price: $14.99
Size: 750 ml Bottle
Rating: **** ½
Description: With a pop of the cork, this oak-aged tripel reveals itself as brilliantly clear, straw yellow in color and has a dense, off-white, sticky head. The complexity of the nose leads off with strong wild yeast notes, some tart cherries, a pinch of plum, mild green apples, and a touch of citrus and grass. The flavor is deep and complicated. It starts out with dried pears, lots of citrus, lightly vinous grape tones and a peppery tannic base to finish dry.   
Overview/Pairing: Head brewer Kevin Templin is still kicking ass with this brew, which recently took a silver medal at the 16th annual Australian International Beer Awards. Cheers, guys! The variation of this year’s brew seems to draw a bit more flavor from the white wine of the oak, and has a better carbonation pinch from the choice of bottle conditioning with champagne yeast. Pairing with this was pretty fun—the vinous character made me want to pair this with frites and curry mayo, but I also found that the Rêve pairs mildly well with a straight gaufre (waffle).
Where to Find: This can only be found at both RedRock locations on a seasonal release.

Brewer/Brand: Uinta Brewing Company / Four +
Abv: 7.0%
Price: $1.44 / Bottle
Size: 12 oz
Rating: ***¾
Description: This Belgian pale ale pours out of the bottle a golden straw color with a bit of haze and a clean white head. The  nose is full of a grassy hop-like character, firm yeast notes, an almost dandelion-like aroma, some bread and touch of spice in the end. The taste is very simple with some light straw, a definite amount of malt and a little lemon fruitiness to the finish.
Overview/Pairing: The major thing that I have enjoyed about this beer is that it keeps improving every time that it is brewed. The simplicity of flavor also is its biggest downfall for me—its too damn easy to drink. The “no-think, drink” character of this beer makes it a prime candidate for Pierre Vandamme’s Flemish stew and frites with the mammouth mayo.
Where to Find: This is only found at your nearest maximum-security prison for beer.

Hell’s Keep
Brewer/Brand: Squatters
Abv: 7.75%
Price: $14.99
Size: 750 ml Bottle
Rating: ****
Description: With much anticipation, this Belgian strong pale is dewaxed, uncapped and pours a golden yellow color with a dense, creamy head that lingers as long as the sticky lacing around the rim of your glass. The aroma is yeasty and complex, and soon leads you into the initial smells of lemon, some funky yeast tartness and a subdued banana with malt. With the first sip, you get dried apricots, lemongrass and a finish of a drying spice character.
Overview/Pairing: The Fifth Element and now this?!? Brewmaster Jenny Talley has done it again, and I am stoked to see what new Belgians she has to throw at us in the future. With such a deceptive alcohol content, be sure to heed caution, this is just as “devilishly strong” as Talley claims it to be. This was by far my favorite to pair, and it could not gone any better with some Flemish stew and a gaufre on the side for dessert.
Where to Find: This is only found at the two Squatter’s locations.