Monday, January 24, 2011

Office Hours tonight: Belgian and French Ales from Category 16 (Part Two).

Tonight's tasting of 16E. Belgian Specialty Ale has all the makings of a scrum.

This is a catch-all category for any Belgian-style beer not fitting any other Belgian style category. The category can be used for specific beers; to produce a beer fitting a broader style that doesn’t have its own category; or to create an artisanal or experimental beer of the brewer’s own choosing (e.g., strong Belgian golden ale with spices, something unique).

There is no doubt in my mind that as a catch-all category, 16E is a sprawling and imperfect mess, ranging from Trappists (we're holding these for their own night - see the comprehensive schedule for details) to Saisons (Moinette, Bon Voeux) and quasi-Lambics (Lindemans?) placed here owing to minute differences with the necessary arbitrariness of their own categories, and including products from Achouffe, De Dolle and Ellezelloise (Belgium); Unibroue (Canada) and New Belgium (USA).

In Belgium, my experience is that most cafes resort to geography: If it comes from the French-speaking region of Wallonia, it's a Wallonian ale, case closed.

Several of tonight's beers are on the expensive side, so I must ask for $10 a head this evening. In return, we will open a bottle of DeuS, which retails for over $30. Other choices will come from the discard list, i.e., excellent Belgians that we cannot purchase on a daily basis, placing them in the "rotating appearance" category henceforth.

This one's going to be a diverse tasting, with quite little rhyme or reason to it. Before I forget, if you missed them, Amy W. posted her photos from last week:

Photo essay: Office Hours with the Publican on January 17, 2011.

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