Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 17 of the 31 beers of Christmas

Yes, yes, I know I'm late. If you want to ensure this never happens again, donate enough to this blog so that I can ditch that pesky job that interferes so much with my beer-drinking and blogging time.
Day 17's beer is Affligem, a Belgian Tripel. This beer was chosen and purchased by my brother John, who often comments here anonymously -- well, anonymously until just now. There is an important lesson in this, folks. If you have a request for a beer that you'd like the Green Genius to review, if you buy that beer and bring it to my house, your request shoots all the way up to the top of the list.

I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to do justice to this beer for several reasons. One you probably already about it and that is I'm not really able to do justice to most of the beers I've reviewed this month, my palate is quite an ignorant little thing -- but it's learning. However my inadequacies as beer reviewer were brought home when John -- who has a nonchalant attitude toward beer reviewing and says all that matters is whether you like it or not -- nonetheless after one sip of Backwoods Bastard he described its "pillowy head" and the tastes of blackstrap molasses, chocolate and coffee. Which brings me to the second reason for the tardiness of this review -- we didn't stop after Affligem (which is 9.5% ABV) but had a Backwoods Bastard (10 %) and then a Pabst Blue Ribbon (?!). Also I couldn't find a pen or a good cartoon movie to occupy John's kid, Hannah Banana. And I was enjoying his stories about his trip to Belgium too much to take much notes even after I found a pen.

Enough excuses? Okay, here we go:

This is a great label. It not only tells you what glass to use but how to pour it so the yeast at the bottom of the bottle does not go into the glass -- though they point out if you like a nuttier flavor, then pour the yeast out too, which is what John did. It won the World Beer Cup in 1996, 2004, and 2008. This is an abbey beer, brewed by monks, and the Affligem Abbey was founded in 1074 and "Artifacts indicate the abbey was brewing beer for pilgrims as early as 1129." Wow, that makes Guinness's 1759 (which I use as a benchmark for venerable brews) look like a Johnny-come-lately.

APPEARANCE: Beautiful copper color. We were using different style glasses and mine appeared more orange than John's. I hate to sound so unoriginal but I think the perfect term for the head on this beer is "pillowy."

AROMA: I smelled oranges, but I'm not sure if that's because there was anything orangey in he bouquet or if I had oranges on the brain because I had seen orange in the glass.

TASTE: Prefect blending of malts, hops and alcohol. Nothing dominated and nothing faded. I really enjoyed this beer, but I think the difference in where each of us are in beer journey became obvious after we shared one of my new favorites the Backwoods Bastard, and I could see that what John really likes is a clearing away of extraneous flavors and I like all that molasses and chocolate and stuff.

BURP TASTE: It seems sort of sacrilegious to talk about abbey ale belches, but the Belgians do like bubbles and you know what bubbles do. The burps were mild and enjoyable.

DRINKABILITY: This beer is very smooth, so easy to drink. According to Wikipedia the Affligem brewery (though not the abbey) is now owned by Heineken. Hopefully they won't dumb it down too much.

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