So, I’ve been on holiday for two weeks, and just before that I didn’t get around to blogging much. Also, our laptop broke, which leaves me not many means of blogging. Add to that the fact that I got a bit fed up with blogging for a bit and suddenly weeks and weeks have passed with virtually no posts, compared to my earlier regimen.
Anyway, I spent my holiday in France, so the beers I had there were all kind of crappy, with a few minor exceptions. French beer is a bit like Dutch wine, I guess. It exists, and it’s potable, but that’s about it.
So, holiday beers first:
Brasserie ‘R de Ratz‘ is a brewery that’s been running since 2001, according to their website. I found their product in the supermarket in Villefranche-de-Rouergue and picked up the Blanche, Ambree and Blonde. That was all that was available. Apparently there are quite a few specials available elsewhere too. Quite a shame, since all those specials look far more appealing than those three I had. These were all rather middle of the road, in the safest of styles.
Then, on a market in St. Antonin-Noble-Val I picked up two beers by Merchien Brasserie, the Noire and their Ambree. The Ambree was slightly more interesting than R de Ratz’s, but the Noire was actually a rather good beer. I was surprised, and it came in a nice 0.5 liter bottle too! Good stuff!
I had some ciders too, since I kind of got the hang of that last year in Brittany. These were fairly random, simply based on what was available in supermarkets and in bars.
- Cidrier Breton Brut – Loic Raison
Forgettable, but not bad.
- Val de Rance Cidre De Bretagne Brut – Les Celliers Associes
This is a very good one. It’s dry and it is far more interesting than just spiked apple juice!
- Reflets de France Cidre de Normandie Brut – Cidrerie de Livarot
This, however, is a shit cider. It’s pushed as a ‘reflection of France’, but it’s not a very shiny reflection.
During the second half of our trip we went back up north to Burgundy, and while we were obviously in wine country, I did pick up some beers from Brassereie de Vezelay. I only tried their Stout and their Bio IPA, and both were very good. Not too exceptional compared to some more exotic English concoctions, but very, very good beers nonetheless. Highly recommended if you’re in the area!
Than some random ones…
- La OiB – Brasserie Les Plains Monts
Not sure what this is supposed to be, but it’s utter crap. Sickly sweet and therefore really cloying. Everything a lager style beer should not be. I dumped it in the river. Literally.
- Thomas Becket Blonde de Bourgogne – Brasserie Larche
Not sure why I tried this. I knew the brewery makes uninteresting beers, but somehow I gave them another shot. I shouldn’t have bothered.
- Shilbrau – Brasserie de Saint-Omer
This was the first beer available to me, when we arrived at our first campsite. It’s really, really cheap lager, but the beer was cold, and the weather was anything but. It worked, but not based on flavor.
Obviously, I was home for most of June, so beers were had. The weather was quite kind, so some were had in the garden, on our new garden bench, with the sun in my face. Times can be good in The Netherlands.
- Flink – Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Not remarkable, but far from bad either.
- Open Rock’n’Roll – Birra Baladin
My wife brought this from Rome. Never heard of it before, but it was very nice, with some peppery notes on the palate. Good stuff!
- Trappist Westvleteren 12, 2010 – Sint-Sixtus Abbey
Well… I think this is here just to brag.
- De Strijdende Kater – Ramses Bier
A beer to remember a famous Dutch beer fanatic who passed away last year because of ALS. I believe there’s some charity involved, but the beer itself is rather good too. I missed the fact that it’s an Amber IPA or something, but it sure was good. Big flavors, big hops, big alcohol.
- Ale Epeteios – Left Coast Brewing
Good stout. I had a big bottle so this kept me busy for a large part of the evening and the beer suits that slow kind of drinking. Big, thick and rich. Great stuff.
- Black Bear XX – Alameda Brewing Co.
Slightly less intimidating and impressive than Ale Epeteios, but still good.
- Oude Geuze 2008-2009 – Brouwerij Boon
Awesome, awesome old Geuze. I found a bottle at The Old Pipe, stashed in the back of a cupboard, to the dismay of the owner of the shop who missed that one… It has far more depth than recent editions, and those are already good!
- IPA 395 – Mammoth Brewing Company
A really good double IPA, with big and dry hoppy flavors. Worth the tenner (I think) I had to pay for the bottle (it’s a big one)
And my latest homebrew came on steam! I hadn’t been brewing for about four years, so to get back into it carefully, I bought a kit and made that. It turned out as a nice, but not overly rich 80 Shilling Ale, to the Scotch style. I really enjoy
this stuff, so it seemed like the right pick.
Scottish 80/- Shilling – Cocky Rooster Brewing