Before I start the diary, a list of five, as has become tradition.
Five favorite Hoosier Beer Geeks (in order)
1) Chris - doesn't mind if you throw up in his car, former guitarist for Alanis Morissette.
2) Jim - watches soccer, great dancer.
3) Kelly - apparently knows everyone, can perform emergency dental work.
4) Jason - helpful to strangers, quotes Shakespeare regularly.
5) Gina - stalks me, part robot.
On to the beer...
2 September 07 Location: Home
Two Brothers Brewing Co. Domaine DuPage French Style Country Ale (bottle labeled "Best by 8/15/04") - A trip to PartiPak last night brought home a mixed 6 pack featuring 4 beers I've never had before. This is one of the four. Really nice bottle - golds and maroons, a classy presentation. If I had seen the "best by" marking, I probably wouldn't have made this purchase, but nevertheless... pours extremely fizzy in the glass, more like a 7 Up than a beer. Thick pillowy head on top of a cloudy, dark pumpkin-colored body. A while back I had a beer at Brugge called "the sour" - this is the closest thing I've had to that beer. But this isn't nearly as good. Sour dominates both the nose and taste, but not in a pleasant, sour candy sort of way... just sort of a sour apple taste - I drank half and gave Gina the rest.
11 September 07 Location: Home
Stone Pale Ale - I've decided to only drink beers I've heard Jeffery T talk about - thus, Stone Pale Ale. Dark golden color, with a thin lacing. Light, slightly hoppy nose. Smooth, surprising taste - dry, earthy popcorn, with just a tiny kick of a hop aftertaste. Taste kinda stays with you. Pretty mild. Not bad, but wouldn't be my first choice - though my pale ale experience is pretty limited.
15 September 07 Location: My childhood home, Trenton, IL
Bell's Octoberfest - Left over from our tasting at Big Car. 5.8% ABV, pours like a soda with a head that quickly settles - this beer looks quite active and bubbly, with a dark copper color. A sweet yeasty, bready nose that follows into the taste. Then the alcohol notes come out - this tastes like a stronger beer than it is. I don't think it's very good, but maybe I should have let it chill a bit longer.
20 September 07 Location: Brugge Brasserie, Indianapolis
The Black - To be honest, every time I visit Brugge I worry that the beer won't be as good as I remember it. The Black is (obviously enough) black and opaque in color, with a tiny bubbly and pillowy head. At first taste, this isn't the beer I remember. Heavily alkaline - a penny-like taste that overpowers everything else. But the beer was served colder than in my previous experiences, so I gave it a minute to warm up. In earlier reviews of the black my fellow beer geeks noted chocolate, coffee, and nuts - but I don't get that at all. I think the beer has a sweet, slightly plum-like nose and taste - with none of the stout-like characteristics found in earlier reviews. The plum hints might make you think of other Belgian-style beers, but this isn't an overpowering fruit taste like some of those other beers - the beer is perfectly mild and endlessly drinkable. But it also packs more punch than any other beer I can think of - after just one glass the walk to the restroom becomes slightly more entertaining than it should be. I still don't know the ABV of this beer, but I suspect it's over 10.
Ratebeer.com says 7% - I don't buy that at all. Besides, ratebeer.com give the black a 69/100 score, which is a travesty.
I have to wonder if there's some inconsistency in the different batches of the beer - the alkaline taste that I got off the top wasn't something I remember from before, and this beer was really my introduction to good beer back before I was writing for Hoosier Beer Geek. I just can't imagine liking it so much back then with this much metallic taste.
Despite the inconsistency, drinking this beer is always a rewarding experience - I just wonder which version we're going to get once it's bottled. Despite my much larger beer background, the black is still a favorite.
Ommegang Hennepin - This is the first time I've had someone else's beer from the tap at Brugge - I'd imagine they're running a bit low on the home-grown stuff while they get things in line at the brewery in Terre Haute. Ommegang is a New York brewery brewing Belgian style beers, so the beer fits Brugge's concept pretty well. Hennepin has a cloudy lemon color, with a thin flat head. A sweet and mild fruit nose preceeds a full but not heavy mouthfeel. I wrote the word "mild" three times in my notes - it's just a refreshingly pleasant and agreeable beer; a perfect summertime drink. It's almost hefe-like in its drinkability and taste - fruity, but not overpoweringly so, and minus the banana hints of a typical hefeweizen. Hennepin calls this a "farmhouse saison" - and I don't have enough saison experience to compare this to anything else. But I do know it's pretty fantastic stuff.