Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

This years Adventures in Food special Christmas beer comes from the Belgium brewery De Dolle and is called Stille Nacht. Apparently Christmas fire sales do not apply only to holiday decorations, apparel, and other Christmas themed items normally found in department stores. I walked into Binny’s to pick up some good wine for my holiday party and found their entire display of Christmas themes beers on sale on an end cap display. I had recently read about Stille Nacht as a faux holy grail to beer lovers around the world and felt that I was never going to get a better price.

Stille Nacht pours a beautiful cloudy, tangerine orange. This is another one of those impossible beers to pour and the head far outweighs the liquid and quickly fills your glass. What I did love, though, was that the head resembled fluffy mounds of snow. I’ve attached a movie below to show the sheer amount of carbonation that lifts from the glass after pouring only 6 ounces into a pint glass. The head is snowy white, but sticky and does not disappear for some time. I  wound up drinking several mouth fulls of head before I ever got to the beer itself. The aroma bursts of sweet malts with bananas, cloves, and tangerines. The first sip immediate burst of sweet malty goodness with a tinge of heavy orange syrup. The spice notes quickly take over and tantalize different parts of your palette until finally a taste of banana takes over before beginning to fade from existence. This is not a gulping beer, in fact, I’m embarrassed that I even poured this into a pint glass at all. This would be a fine sipper drunk straight from the bottle or poured into a snifter.

I want you to know that words cannot accurately describe everything that is going on with this beer. De Dolle clearly has an understanding of what it takes to make a good beer and this is near perfection. I have no complaints, nor any critiques. Any mistake in pouring to create too much head is my own fault. If this beer cheated on me with my best friend at our wedding, I would probably still take it back. It’s that good. However, perfection comes with a pricetag that many might be scared of. You can purchase a 12oz bottle of Stille Nacht only around the Christmas season for around $6 ($4 if you wait for the fire sale). The 12% ABV is prevalent while drinking this beer, but by no means is it overwhelming. I can tell you that you will feel it by the end of your bottle. You probably shouldn’t plan to drink more than two of these in one sitting. Stille Nacht is a perfect beer in my world and should be heralded and replicated year round. It receives the highest rating in my book.

Grade: A+

Don’t hate me (because I rather hate myself for this), but I originally ordered the Sprecher Abbey Triple because there was a corporate suit sitting at the bar who butchered the name of the brewery (his rhymed with the word stretcher) and the bartender did not correct him. I was having a particularly nasty day and wanted to just take a minute and win one for the little guys, for whatever that’s worth. Although the suit did look up at me when I ordered my beer, he clearly still thought he was correct. Here’s to quiet victories.

Sprecher Abbey Triple comes in a globe glass as an orange fireball swirling with a cloudy haze. Bartenders really do have a gift for pouring beer and mine came perfectly with two fingers of head that spilled over the glass and settled on the coaster below. Visually, I found this to be a stunning display. Like other triples, the aroma is floral, fruity and contains a high concentration of yeast. I was intrigued after my first taste because I couldn’t quite place my finger of what I was tasting. There was the expected clove and orange taste supported by a solid framework of alcohol, but I swear I was tasting campfire. Not strong like an actual fire, but hidden deep in the recesses of this beer, there is a hint of smoke or perhaps darkened bread crust. The next few sips did not contain this flavor and I thought I was stark raving mad, but then it came back, never out in front, but always in the background. My one complaint about this beer is that it does not finish clean and contains a mild alcohol burn. While the pleasant taste lingers in the cheeks and gums, but my esophagus felt attacked.

Having had the Yard House Triple only a month ago, I thought picking this offering from Wisconsin based Sprecher would be a sure fire win. I’m still up in the air about this one. It showed such promise at the beginning, but failed to contain itself during the end game. The Abbey Triple contains 8.4% ABV which may account for the alcohol burn. I have seen 4 packs of Abbey Triple for around $8 in the Midwest, but have not found it anywhere else. This is not an exceptional beer and I would certainly purchase others over it. That said, this is a good offering from Sprecher and one I may try again in the future just to see if my initial impressions are correct.

Grade: C+

I purchased a 4 pack of Pranqster from Trader Joes and wasn’t convinced of its worthiness until I cracked open the third one a week after drinking the first two. I was originally drawn to Pranqster due to its packaging revealing a joyous scene of grotesquely obese men drinking in a tavern in what appears to be the 18th century. The bottle itself is short and fat which only adds to the humor.

Pranqster pours a straw yellow color and quickly forms an off white head.  There is a slight haze that clouds the glass. The aroma is sweet, almost fruit like, with plenty of yeast filling in the undertones. I can’t quite place my finger on which fruit, but I get hints of banana or perhaps star fruit. The taste is immediately sweet as the malt and yeast flavors form a tornado on your palate. The taste quickly fills your entire mouth before disappearing, leaving behind a haunting memory of the beer that was (I know that was deep. Thank you for your appreciation). There is almost a dirty feel to this beer without ever being unpleasant. I wouldn’t quite place this beer on the heavy end of things, but this is by no means a thin or light beer. Perhaps the best way to describe this beer is medium bodied with a lifetime membership to the gym.

I like this beer quite a bit. It’s fun and refreshing. I made multiple attempts to extract any specific flavors, but the beer kept changing its mind as to what it was. At first, it was a general blonde beer that anyone could enjoy, at other times, it was a guest speaker from a bakery, and other times, transformed to something else altogether. I appreciate a beer where different flavors emerge at different times. It’s makes it much more fun. You can find Pranqster in 4 packs for around $7 or in 750ml corked bottles. The 7.6% ABV should keep you plenty entertained. But be warned, it sneaks up on your quickly and all at once. In the fine art of the Belgian tradition, this is a well crafted ale that I would be happy to serve to my close friends.

Grade: B