Happy New Year to all my readers! Normally WordPress offers up a pre-made annual report, but this year they either didn’t do that, or I failed to encounter the pertinent notification of offer. No matter the truth, this has given me the opportunity to craft my very own 2016 in Review!
People often ask me, “what’s your favourite beer?” My response is usually along the lines of, “that’s hard to say, because it really depends on the situation, the time of year, the occasion etc. But I can tell you that the best beer I’ve ever had is the Westvleteren 12, a Belgian beer brewed by monks, but it’s so rare and complex that it’s not something I drink very often.”
I might have missed the boat on posting this review, since I don’t think this beer can be found for sale anymore, but on the off chance that someone has a hidden stash and they’re curious what it tasted like in August 2015, read on!
I recently had a delightful, short notice visit from my wonderful friend Kelci, and we decided to spend the evening with some drinks and the turntable. We started out with some homemade rhubarb pie and mugs of Murchie’s Government Street green and black tea blend, accompanied by some of Harmonium’s Si on avait besoin d’une cinquieme saison. Then we moved on to the “hard” stuff.
Part 1 can be found here.
Around the fire were two couples, and they were drinking beers while listening to Led Zeppelin. Lots of Led Zeppelin; all night long. I was impressed. The wives did not talk much, but their husbands sure made up for it. Their names were Bobby and Jim, and they were both Vietnam War veterans. As a Canadian, this was a demographic that I was unlikely to ever encounter back home, so despite how much overlap there truly is in the Canadian and the American experience, this would certainly be a treat for me. They quickly got me involved in their game of blow darts, which involved shooting foot long darts out of a long pipe towards a target which was about twenty feet away. When I reasoned that my beer intake was starting to affect my aim, I bowed out of the competition. Jim would not be reigned in so easily though, and he began to flip throwing knives up into the air in an attempt to have them land point down in a target near his feet. Bobby admonished him that one day he might stab his own foot, and that got us onto the lovely topic of healthcare.
I bought this bottle at a Safeway in Washington State during the summer of 2013. It cost me about $45USD back when the Canadian dollar was on par with the greenback. At a BC Liquor Store this will cost you about $100; which jurisdiction do you think has higher liquor and import taxes?
Ever since I returned from Belgium, we have periodically hosted Belgian beer drinking events at our home, each one known as a Stamhuis. I came up with the name by taking the Belgian term “Stamcafe,” which is a way of referring to one’s local pub, and then replacing “cafe” with “huis,” the Dutch word for house. We originally hosted several “tasting Stamhuizen” with friends who were interested in expanding their knowledge of Belgian beer. A typical tasting session involves 4 people each trying 1/4 of 8 different Belgian beers from 7 or 8 different styles. After several of these tasting events, we were able to invite people over for a”drinking Stamhuis,” where instead of having people taste specific beers, we would simply hang out and drink any Belgian beer we felt like. At every Stamhuis we use my extensive collection of glasses, serving trays, coasters etc. to create a temporary Belgian beer cafe inside the house. Stamhuis 20 was a combination of a tasting and a drinking event, with several certified tasters and 4 new recruits in attendance. Other than a bottle of Westvleteren 12 being shared between 10 people (silly I know!) the highlight of the night for me was trying the Fantôme Saison for the first time!