Along with the Leffe Ruby, I also picked up a bottle of Ciney Brune, a Ramée Ambrée, a Carrefour Kriek, and a Mont des Cats Trappist beer. Over the last week, I made sure to drink them all before today’s journey to London!
If you read my British Beer Bottles post, you would know that I have been cleaning out my room. While in that post I disposed of several bottles that I had never even sampled, this time around I have managed to get rid of several bottles that I did personally consume, some of them even for this blog.
You’re gonna love this blog post!
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.”
Date a boy who drinks. Date a boy who spends his money on fine alcohol instead of cars, who decorates his house with empty bottles instead of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit posters. Date a boy who has a list of beers he has tried, and a list of beers he aspires to try.
Find a boy who drinks. Not one who drinks ten Budweiser every Friday night, but one who tries a new beer every time he visits the craft beer section of the specialty liquor store. He’s the one who spends half an hour browsing in the liquor store, only to buy one beer. You see that weird guy asking for his whisky neat, and then having to explain to the sports bar waitress what that means? He’s the one you want. He can’t resist analysing the nose of the cheap whisky he just ordered.
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!
After two months of tree planting I am once again in the position to post somewhat regular blog updates. Like many people, I have been watching as much of the FIFA World Cup as I possibly can, and along with my blood allegiance to England, I took a fancy to Belgium’s team this year. Alas neither team is still with us, but for one brief afternoon Belgium helped me to a wonderful level of intoxicated bliss. That’s right; during Belgium’s Round of 16 battle with the United States I decided to drink Belgian beer until they lost, or if they won, until it was no longer a good idea. At the beginning of the match I poured myself a Rochefort 8. This delicious beer is one of the finest ales on earth, brewed by Trappist monks and extremely complex. I really ought to write a post about Trappist ales sometime, but suffice it to say for now that every Trappist is worth tasting. As they say in Belgium, “a Trappist a day keeps the doctor away!”