09 November 2010

BREWS OF CHOICE FALL 2010: TWO BELGIAN STYLE ALES

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Brooklyn Brewery's Local 1 reminds me a lot of a favorite true Belgian beer, Atomium Grand Cru which so far cannot be found in my area save for on tap at Horizons in Philadelphia. Thoroughly complex flavors with sweet and deep orange-citrus notes, especially after a good mouthful, nicely mask the higher alcohol content making this an amazingly refreshing and enjoyable drink. Great to share over dinner, with a friend on a brisk night, or enjoy the whole bottle... over a few hours of course.

From the brewery's site:
Behind the full golden color you'll find an alluring aroma, a dynamic complex of flavors, Belgian flair, Brooklyn fortitude and a dusting of our special yeast. To create this beer, we use the old technique of 100% bottle re-fermentation, a practice now rare even in Europe. It gives this beer a plate of unusual depth.


STYLE: Belgian-inspired Strong Golden Ale
MALTS: Two-Row Pilsner Malt, Bamberg, Germany
HOPS: German Hallertaur Perle, Styrian Golding
ALCOHOL: 9.0% by volume
ORIGINAL GRAVITY: 18.5 Plato


Brewery Ommegang's Rare Vos is brewed and cellared in Cooperstown, NY by this craft brewer recently acquired by Belgium's famous Duvel Moortgat Brewery. Rare Vos means "sly fox" in Flemish which seems appropriate enough. In October I enjoyed this with friends at a pumpkin carving party in Philadelphia. It was hit. Pre-carving, we paired our drink with delicious creole seasoned and then smoked turkey (for them) and tofu (for us) along with an assortment of rolls, cider donuts, and other fallish baked sweets. With these pairings in mind, I would recommend this drink with other spiced (not necessarily spicey) meats and dishes. The food's spices bring out the flavor in this gem that even separate from food is truly delightful. With only a 6.5% ABV, Thanksgiving dinner, or after, would be a great and safe time to share this.

Check out some thorough reviews at Beer Advocate and this from the brewery's site:
Named after a Brussels bar made famous as the starting point for bicycle and pigeon races, our Rare Vos Amber Ale is also a great place to begin your virtual taste test. As you pour, you’ll notice the beautiful coppery-amber color and the rich creamy head. Lift the glass to your mouth and enjoy the aroma of spicy orange blossoms. Taste, and the pleasant mellow flavor of caramel malt glides easily into a dry, hop finish. Once you’ve finished, start again (after all, this isn’t a race). Intended for the café as well as the dinner table, Rare Vos is an amber ale of medium color and strength. It sports aromas and flavors of caramel, orange, hops, plus an elusive fruity-yeasty flavor which will have you tasting in circles.


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