Beers of October

Here I was thinking that October would be a bit more quiet than September. A festival, a visit to a brewery and some get-togethers with beer-drinking-friends could hardly be topped in a month without too many plans, right?

Wrong. The get-togethers were there, and while I didn’t go to a festival or a brewery, I did go to some pubs and was away for a weekend with an amazing beer shop within a mile.

So, another long list with 55 unique beers (still slightly fewer beers than last month). Some I had some years ago but aren’t on the blog yet.

The fun thing about staying up late and alone and drinking awesome beers is that you get to contemplate drinking awesome beers a bit. I thought about some breweries that I find awesome and of which I more or less try to try everything. Also, there have been some additions to that list. BrewDog was already on there, as was Struise, Jopen, Windswept, Loch Ness (which is now out of business, unfortunately) and the Wild Beer Co.

By now I think I’ve added Buxton, Põhjala and new kid on the block De Moersleutel. What I also figured out that while Belgium, The Netherlands and America have great beer scenes, most of my favorite beers and breweries are from the United Kingdom. That was also the badge I maxed out first on Untappd. Apparently I love English beer (no surprise there).

Lastly, before the long list kicks off, October is Bock beer season in The Netherlands and I generally don’t like the style, I tried quiet a few.

Bock beers

  • IJsbok Hout (2016) by SNAB
    An oak aged bock beer from sort-of local brewers which comes in a rather fancy bottle. The beer itself I found slightly underwhelming. A craft beer, with some oak aging should bring some big flavors, and this was slightly more thin than I thought it would be.
  • Dubbelbock 2016 by Brouwerij ‘t IJ
    This is a big one in regards of ABV and has a slightly smoked flavor. Much bigger flavors than the previous one. Quite nice.
  • Heimdall Imperial Rye Bock by Walhalla Craft Beer
    I didn’t really pick up on the rye, and further more it was quite comparable to the Dubbelbock from ‘t IJ. Nice stuff.
  • IJbok (2016) by Brouwerij ‘t IJ
    Also not bad, but far less impressive than the Dubbelbock
  • Dubbelbock by Koninklijke Brand Bierbrouwerij
    Brown water, but slightly better than the Amstel that follows
  • Bokbier (2016) by Jopen
    Nice, but not convincing
  • Bock (2016) by Amstel Bier
    Brown water. Soooo thin.

IPAs

  • Of Je Hop Lust by De Moersleutel
    Yes. Just yes. Incredibly fruity, and while that’s not my goto IPA style, this one rocks it. Also, with not too much alcohol and the triple dry hopping hasn’t turned it too dry. Very well done!
  • Monteith’s India Pale Ale (IPA) by Monteith’s Brewing Co.
    Boring
  • Virmalised by Põhjala
    Good, but nothing out of the ordinary.
  • Damiate DRIPA #3 by Jopen
    I don’t even remember this one, but I rated it at four stars.
  • Crema by Põhjala
    A coffee IPA in which you really have to search for the coffee. Which means there’s not much there and the beer is a tad pointless.
  • Tree Hugging Wood Chopping Mother Nature Loving IPA by The Flying Dutchman 
    Yet another predictable but good IPA.
  • Oat IPA by Lervig
    Gentle and quite tasty. Better than I expected
  • Tap Handle IPA by Jopen
    Another oat IPA, but this time with lemongrass. I’m not a huge fan. Too smooth for an IPA.
  • Vuur & Vlam by Brouwerij De Molen
    They call it IPA-ish, but it’s an IPA. And, like the Tree Hugging one, and Virmalised, it’s good but fairly generic. Still, I’d be thrilled to make one myself.
  • Not Totally Black IPA by HillDevils
    Forgettable.
  • Hop Doom by Naparbier
    This one… This one is insane, but oh so good. Ridiculous ABV, ridiculously bitter. But so tasty.

Pale randomness

Anything not a dark beer, but of which I didn’t have enough to warrant its own category.

  • Undercurrent by Siren Craft Brew
    An American Pale Ale, which is nice but not amazing.
  • Monteith’s Summer Ale by Monteith’s Brewing Co.
    Not sure what’s happening here, but this beer is not tasty. Avoid.
  • Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale by Boulevard Brewing Co.
    A great saison, I think. And available in supermarkets, which kind of makes it a nice go-to beer. Really big flavors for a saison. Recommended!
  • Hop & Liefde by Brouwerij De Molen
    Another American Pale Ale, which is nice but not amazing.
  • Lava by Septem Microbrewery
    I think this was my first Greek beer. Quite a nice one at that. A strong beer with some nice coffee influences.
  • Gulden Draak Brewmasters Edition (2016) by Brouwerij Van Steenberge
    I don’t like Gulden Draak, or at least I don’t like the regular one. This one, however, packs a serious punch and is pretty tasty if you ask me.
  • Grimbergen Tripel / Triple (2016) by Brouwerij Alken-Maes
    When there’s nothing on the menu that’s interesting you have to revert to some standards that used to be ‘special’ in the 80s.
  • English Bitter by Bierbrouwerij Emelisse
    Nice! You don’t see many of these outside of the UK, which is kind of a shame. This one is a true craft variety. By which I mean it’s true to style but more intense and with a higher ABV.
  • Many-Faced Got by Jopen
    Now this. I never had a Gotlanddricka before, which is a Scandinavian farmhouse ale with juniper. I’ve had this one a couple of times now and I find it one of the more amazing beers I’ve had over the last couple of months. It packs a serious punch and some serious flavor. The flavors, because of the brewing and the use of juniper are so different than anything else that I find it a truly outstanding beer, in both interpretations of the word. This is f-ing awesome.
  • Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio (2013) by Brasserie Cantillon
    Awesome, as can be expected. Quite sour, but I made the mistake to try this after a sour cider. Which resulted in the first sip of this really tasting like you just threw up in your mouth. Luckily, a few more sips cured that and the true awesomeness of this beer could be enjoyed.

Stouts and porters

  • Grain and Grape by Buxton Brewery
    Stout matured in red wine casks. I’ve had such a beer before which I didn’t like, but this one was pretty okay. Albeit in a ‘once, but not again’ kind of way.
  • Vanille Ice Cream Stout by Bierbrouwerij Emelisse
    Far too sweet for me.
  • Zuster Agatha Houtgerijpt (Winter 2014) by Muifelbrouwerij
    This one was recommended by some folks on Facebook, but I didn’t like it all that much. It is however, very good for its price since it’s one of the cheapest wood aged beers I’ve come across.
  • Black Koivunen by Põhjala
    Porter with beach wood. I like that they made this a true Baltic beer with that. And it’s very good too, and nice and dry. Recommended.
  • Je Moer by De Moersleutel
    De Moersleutel’s stout, which, as everything I’ve had from them so far, is really good.
  • Black Block Bourbon Aged by Cervesa La Pirata
    Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Had this twice now and it’s so good. The bourbon is really present without overpowering the beer or making it too sweet. Insanely good and highly recommended.
  • Imperial Rye Porter by Nøgne Ø
    Yup. Great stuff.
  • Unknown Pleasures by La Quince Brewery
    Good, but not outstanding.
  • Zwarte Zee by Jopen
    An oyster stout with a tinge of salinity. I didn’t really like this one though.
  • Zwarte Ruiter by Brouwerij Broers
    A nice and (single) hoppy stout. Pretty tasty and the mandarina bavaria hops really do give an orange like flavor.
  • Black Albert (2015) by De Struise Brouwers
    An insane stout that everyone should try at least once.
  • Motorolie 10 (Coffee Bean & Barrel Aged Walnut Wine) by De Moersleutel
    While ‘Je Moer’ was a great stout, this ‘walnut wine’ (never heard of that before) barrel aged version is simply decadent. It does everything right, and better. Highly, highly recommended. This might have become beer of the month if not for the Black Block Bourbon BA and the Many-Faced Got.
  • Strongest Than Ever by White Pony Microbrewery
    Yeah, well. This isn’t bad, but so far I’m not overjoyed with White Pony’s beers.

Barleywines, Quadrupels and other random stuff

  • Quadrupel by Buxton Brewery
    Generally, when a craft brewery tries to make a quadrupel, you get some cloyingly sweet, over ABV’d beer that resembles a Belgian one. Not this. This is fairly dry and packs loads of flavors. I was in doubt of spending a fiver on this, but it was very much worth it. Very good!
  • Trappistes Rochefort 8 (2016) by Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy
    Not bad, but very predictable.
  • Brewers Reserve Barley Wine (2016) by Lervig
    See the description of Buxton’s Quad. This one is insanely good too, with the cask aging adding another layer of great flavors. Highly recommended.
  • Everything But the Kitchen Sink by Cocky Rooster Brewing
    I made this one with unripe hops, which means there’s virtually no bitterness. Unfortunately this results in a fairly sweet black beer, with a tinge of smoke from the peated malt. Not too bad though.
  • Westoek XXXX Quadrupel (2013) by De Struise Brouwers
    See Buxton’s Quad. Again. Highly recommended.
  • My first Eisbock

    My first Eisbock

    White Label Barley Wine Old Smokey Moonshine BA by Bierbrouwerij Emelisse
    I expected more of this. I don’t even remember it, and it’s not been long since I had it.

  • Sint Amatus – Oostvleteren 12 (2013) by De Struise Brouwers
    While this is not the most impressive beer by De Struise, it’s still good. There’s just too much competition from this brewery alone.
  • Grand Prestige (2016) by Hertog Jan (Eisbock)
    I fucked around with Eisbocking this for a bit. I might try it again and compare it to the regular one to see whether or not I have to do more experiments or can forget about it all together. Tasty stuff though.
  • Inglorious Quad by Inglorious Brew Stars
    Not bad, but not that great either.
  • Anniversary 2016 by Laugar Brewery
    Not bad, but not that great either.
  • Vintage 2012 (Barrel No. 170) by Brouwerij Rodenbach
    An oldie, and a great one. Great, fruity acidity. Big flavors. Everything you want from this brewery.

Ciders

  • Premier Cru Suffolk Cyder by Aspall
    Yup. Great cider, with a champagne like tang to it.
  • Old Rosie Cloudy Cider by Westons Cider
    A sweeter cider, but also a very good one.
  • Hollandse Gedrooghopte Cider by Oedipus Brewing
    Still my favorite cider, especially from The Netherlands.

And not even beer

  • Mandarin And Seville Orange Jigger by Fentimans
    A brewed orange soda with some proper sediment in it. I tried Fentiman’s stuff first in 2010 on our first trip to Scotland and have loved them since. However, I was more impressed in the beginning. Their Dandelion and Burdock one is great still.

Like last month, I’m having trouble selecting a beer of the month. The ones on the shortlist are:

  • Many-Faced Got by Jopen
  • Quadrupel by Buxton Brewery
  • Brewers Reserve Barley Wine (2016) by Lervig
  • Motorolie 10 (Coffee Bean & Barrel Aged Walnut Wine) by De Moersleutel
  • Black Block Bourbon Aged by Cervesa La Pirata

The strange thing is that there were some amazing IPAs too, but somehow these never make my shortlist somehow. I think I should add:

  • De Moersleutel’s Of Je Hop Lust
  • Napar’s Hop Doom.

On the other hand, I know they won’t be topping the list in the end. I guess this has to do with the really hoppy beers being great and seriously loved (by me at least), they lack a tad of depth to truly make me taste them instead of drink them.

In the end, when all is said and done, I want to pick an awesome beer from the list. A lot of things are important, but let it be said that any of these beers is five star stuff. I might not realize it at the time of drinking (which kind of invalidates my ratings on Untappd), but if I’d be making up some ‘beer box’ for others, I’d be proud to put all of them in.

The one I decided to go with qualifies on a number of levels: I like it being Dutch, I like it being something I’ve not had before, and I like it being insanely tasty.

My beer of the month is the Many-Faced Got from Jopen brewery in Haarlem. A-ma-zing.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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