Monday, January 09, 2006

Ultra and Ultrabrune, from the Brasserie d'Ecaussinnes.

Later this week, I’ll be stocking two recently arrived Belgian ales: Ultra and Ultrabrune, both from the Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes.

Ecaussinnes d’Enghien is a village in northern Hainaut province, perhaps 30 KM northwest of Charleroi. This is Saison and farmhouse ale country, firmly French, with much to see and do.

Nearby Enghien is a larger town, one whose name you see reflected in the Silly brewery’s Double Enghien.

The d’Ecaussinnes brewpub is modern operation, only six years old, and it began with a kit salvaged from a defunct Czech plant. According to beer writer Tim Webb, 90% of its production is exported – a very high percentage even by the standards of Belgian craft brewing.

I’ve not been to visit this brewery, but the very thought of it causes me to daydream about bicycling through the Belgian countryside.

Actually, virtually anything conjures such daydreams.

If I were to do so and choose an Ecaussinnes product strictly for restorative purposes, the better choice would be Ultra, a fruity and very drinkable amber ale of 7% abv, and reputedly spiced, which might account for a light finishing bitterness that doesn’t taste like hops.

Later, under more contemplative circumstances, I’d opt for Ultrabrune (10% abv), a large and malty brown ale with an intriguing trace of Scotch caramelized malt flavor, a fine and full mouth feel, and a noteworthy impression overall.

Ah, beercycling. It doesn't get any better ... even when confined to the imagination.

They’ll be priced and available by Wednesday.

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