07 June 2009

KOTBR #75 - Secret Meeting of the (Expanded) Knights of the Beer Roundtable

Last week we used the latest (and perhaps least reliable) in internet technology to send out a message to 945 of our twitter followers - a message that read as follows:
Interested in helping us review a few beers next Wednesday (maybe even for free)? Limited Seating... Send us a tweet/message.
The idea: bring the Hoosier Beer Geek Knight of the Beer Roundtable experience to the people.

The response was quick, and within two days we had a full list of attendees. What they didn't know was where they were going. To keep the event (and the supply of free beer) under wraps, we held onto that detail until the day before.

The results of all this mystery? A Belgian-style beer roundtable (via World Class Beverages) at Broad Ripple's Union Jack Pub. This time we asked our guests to write the reviews for us. We pushed for haiku... and had a few takers.

The results of the expanded KOTBR:

Beer #1: Wittekerke - 3.25 Mugs

* Lemony, crisp, clear. I wish there was more spice though.
* Very crisp and clean. Good summer beer.
* Tastes like an orange /Had sex with a bottle of /Tasty, tart champagne.
* Citrus-y vanilla/tart but refreshing tasting/I love witbeers.
* Mild, light + fizzy with crisp finish. Beer though was lacking in a bit of flavor.
* Light, crisp, something that I'm not sure if I would order too often.
* Very refreshing, smooth and subtle, but leaves some complexity to be desired. Mineral aftertaste...Perhaps a "good in large volumes" beer.
* Very mild Witte beer/Tastes of spice and mineral/No hops, but not bad.

* My fiance' hates beer and she would love this. Light + mild, but lets the flavors and spice shine through. Perfect for a hot afternoon.
* Easy drinking white/With a bubbly aftertaste/Real champagne of beers.
* Looks like a Hefeweizen. Has a heavy carbonated feel/aftertaste. Doesn't have a strong scent or taste. Overall decent, but not very exciting.
* Clean, crisp, refreshing/light.
* Tempered, bitter finish (nice, not bad), lingering effervescence. Orange?
* They call it a wit/But it tastes like a lager/Bring me another.
* Very light. Has a lager aftertaste. A little bit cider taste in the end. If you like American lite beers, this is for you w/ a little more creaminess.
* Pale straw - color - rich white head. Medium mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn even at 5% - Slightly herby, much less pronounced than Hoegaarden - Tartness seems cidery.
* Mild aroma/slight sweet followed by sour. Mid spice (hits nose). Follows through with a little heaviness - Mild overall, good standard wit.
* Green apple, dry white wine. Not as fruity as expected, refreshing, highly carbonated.
* Aroma is a mix of floral and fruit. Not too fruity. Light and easy to drink.
* Light, spritzy, refreshing. Could have a fuller mouthfeel. Some tartness. Could use some more spice in flavor. Could be a bit more complex, lacking some flavor components - Spice, citrus.
* Less spicy than standard wit. Good balance of wheat malt flavor + light yeast character w/ background spices (white pepper, coriander ?). Tartness good for style, would improve w/ more bottle carbonation.
* Nice light wheat flavor. Slightly effervescent. Spices don't overpower the beer but support + bring the wheat flavor forward.
* Very mild, not spicy, light, crisp.
* Nice spicy nose, mild spicy flavor character, good mouthfeel. Overall respectable.
* Pretty light tasting, spiciness is understated.
* Cloudy, citrusy lemon rind taste w/ a bit of spices. The nose is very similar to the taste; citrus and spice.

Beer #2: Ommegang Hennepin - 3.72 Mugs

* Hammy nose, cloudy in appearance. Spicy lemony flavor.
* Very flavorful and would be great with food.
* Grapefruit. Lots of grapefruit in the aroma. Very strong taste, I can almost taste the alcohol. Can't place the spice, but there's an almost bitterness I'm not a fan of. If I get bitter, I want hops.
* Strong scent of lemon / Many bubbles bite my tongue / Oh dang, bitter now.
* Big bold fruity flavor.
* Great nose which barely lives up to the intense woody and citrus fones. Hint of strawberry? Wonderful aftertaste, well layered. Yum, yum, yum.
* Man that is good hooch / Flavors of citrus and spice / Strawberries, slight hop.
* Beautiful spices / Wrapped in golden honey cream / Ready for one more.
* Beer is dry and sweet / And just like a Hilton girl / It's rich and easy.
* Great flavor with great taste / Orangy smell and a citrus airy crisp / I suck at doing haikus.
* Slight tart/sour aftertaste / golden color / nice head. Smell ban...(?I think that says banana?) / like it more when it warms up a hint.
* Banana nose, some flowery, sweet notes.

* Very bubbly. This one tickles the mouth. This is a bit dry and fairly sour. Very strong spice flavors. Better sipping beer than gulping.
* Good head w/ a clear light amber color. So much carbonation, difficult to taste the subtle flavors. Hint of coriander + pepper.
* Better w/ a mouthful. Too little slips to the side of the palate. Overwhelmed by foam - very effervescent. Malty, slightly peppery with a sour, dry finish.
* "Slight" sour nose / Good Belgian head / great body good finish - melts on palate - mild finish for higher alcohol content - SOLID SAISON.
* Much more robust than wit. Funky fruit smell. Yeast flavor. Light for its high alcohol content. Like mixing wit with Delirium.
* Distinct taste - some sort of spice, crisp.
* Spice and alcohol big in aroma. Black pepper + rubbing alcohol. Candied orange, marmalade, dries out the mouth. Alcohol warmth. Bitter aftertaste, Bubble-Yum.
* Reminds me of long walk in Southern IN during a summer afternoon. Clovey, thick & ripe with flavor! Just like the poison songs - it's "hot skicky sweet from your heads to your hops" - not really how the song goes but fits well within this context plus I don't think Brett Michaels will sue me; he's too busy on the Rock of Love bus.
* Dryness is near perfect for style. Carbonation + white fluffy head present with distinction in the glass. Would like to get more malt complexity to balance yeast character in the mid-palate. Alcohol warmth in finish complements spicy yeast.
* Spicy, clove aroma. Dry finish, very tart. Very slight orange peel flavor.
* A bit more clove spice, nice citrus linger. Taste the alcohol more than Wittekerke (which I like!)
* Good nose, good carbonation, nice malt start, good Belgian character, dice dry finish.
* Smooth, nice bitter aftertaste.
* Stable head that fills 50% of the cup. Nice hoppy bite that is balanced with some spice. Not much on the nose. Very bubbly. Bitterness settles on the back of the tongue.

Beer #3: Orval - 3.53 Mugs

* Soapy, spicy.
* Tons of head. More head than a red light district. Starts off spicy, then levels out to a nice aftertaste. No idea what flavors I'm tasting, but I like it.
* Like baking muffins/It's the head that never stops/Otherwise, bitter
* A very unique taste to this one. Very earthy with nice hop side flavors.
* Leaves a dry memorable taste. Would definitely drink more than... trailed off here.
* Musty and strangely sweet nose, very peppery but "live" flavor, mild hop aftertaste. Would be great w/strong cheeses.
* What a unique brew/Brett and hops unlike most/Aroma fights taste.
* This beer has a massive dome. Very muted flavor and aroma. Very smooth.
* Easy on the tongue/ And it's funky on the nose /Would not pay full price.
* A smokey scent fills nose, fills the mouth with religious blows It is the Trappistry bandit.
* Fruity aroma / not like anything I've ever had before. Lots of foam, very smooth aftertaste.
* Tastes like biting a cigar - earthy but full of tannins. The more I drink it, the less I like it - but thanks for presenting it!

* Thick head on thick flavor. Darker with medium dryness and a hint of the sour flavor from earlier. This would go great with a chocolate raspberry or strawberry.
* This is Bananas / B-A-N-A-N-A-S / Frothy + tasty (was crossed out on sheet) Cloudy, dark golden color. Slight banana aroma. Good!! Would have another.
* Medium body, thick gold head - cloudy golden color well-balanced slightly malty.
* Mild nose, great bite - would agree that it is a pale/possible Belgian IPA -> without finish of bitterness > Leaves a great aftertaste.
* Slight sock smell. Slight Rose smell. Hoppier than others, but still sour apple hint. Extreme carbonation steals flavor.
* Very carbonated, hoppy. Sour taste at the end.
* Little Funky...(a word I can't read...looks like BASEIRFWL) Goaty? Very fizzy, bitter aftertaste, Some citrus. Dries out quick. Cane-Sugar, carbonation really makes the beer disappear off the tongue.
* Reminds me of the Mr. Ed show. You're amazed that the horse is talking & is quite educated. But the you find out that they just put peanut butter in his mouth - disappointing. You shattered my dreams Nick@Nite and Orval. I expected something much more fruity & less spicy.
* Profuse white fluffy head! Extremely floral nose. Moderate bitterness w/ dry finish. Light horse blanket, spicy noble hops, will improve with age.
* Very floral, dry finish, slight bitterness. Aging would bring out more of the flavors. I've had it before that was past the date and it was wonderfully floral.
* Sour notes, bitter, sharp hop characteristic.
* Tasty Belgian Pale / Malty start, Tart hop finish / Would order at bar.
* Very sweet aroma, fruity taste with bitter aftertaste
* Slight licorice smell, bitter pale ale taste, aftertaste is like cacao dark chocolate. Cloudy.

Beer #4: Ommegang Rouge - 4.14 Mugs (new to Indiana, and available at Union Jack and Brugge Brasserie (check prices before you order))

* Nose has a nice tartness, big pucker.
* A lambic without the fruit!
* Kind of smells like a lambic, but with more character. Taste is odd to me. I can't place it, like a really sour cherry lambic. There's an oily mouthfeel I'm not a fan of.
* Smells/tastes like a lambic / Perhaps a splash of berry / I'll have another (Almost like a cherry/raspberry lambic flavor).
* Super clean sour flavor. The favorite of the evening for me. Yummy.
* Strong flavor, very sour. Not sure if I like.
* Word. Slams your face in tartness, but just enough sweetness to win you over. Cherry tones, super clean aftertaste, great texture. I'm a fan, yes a fan.
* People don't know sours / tartness, citrus and cherry / Pour me another!
* Tart Tongue Tingling / Clean and Bold and Flavorful / Black Cherry Finish.
* Holy F**king Sh*t / Beer with the smell of red wine / Tastes of pickle juice.
* Smells Great! / More Filling! / Smells great! Oh, and bitter.
* Wow, didn't see that coming. Wonderful aroma, bam in your face tart sour, yum yum love love.
* Vinegar-y, cherries, very tart.
* Sweet tarts! Very tart and sour with a wonderful hint of sweetness. Strong on the palate. I would love to have more but any more than 1 and it might lose appeal.
* Sweet aroma start / mouth watering soury punch / wow very tasty!
* My favorite! Sour yet not bitter. Med amber body holds well - first impression is striking! crisp, distinctive
* Good wine nose (not whine), mid movin body is incredible - good sour finish hit top of palate.
* Bubble gum smell. Tart. Lighter than normal. Slight strawberry. Has a pinot noir flavor.

* Not much of an aroma. Tastes like a sweet and sour candy but not too sour. Tart.
* Balsamic vinegar, sweet tarts. Some earthiness. Very sour...A little barnyardesque. The sweet + sour play very well together in the aftertaste.
* Batter Up! I haven't had something this sour in my mouth since I ate a whole package of sour patch kids on a dare at Broadripple Havaford Little League in 1995! Very surprising since it smells like sweet apples - the taste mellows and ends on a crisp note. I would definitely like to enjoy this beer cheering on a Reds game.
* Acetic Acid dominates the nose + palate, cherry, currant, green apple, light oak character, finish is dry and tart, light musty quality closes out the perfect night.
* Nice tartness, deep cherry notes, clean finish. As it warms up more of the oak flavors come out.
* Dark cherry, sour, tart. Can feel the sour-ness at the back of your mouth. Still a clean, crisp feel.
* Delicious tart cherry, excellent sour character on par with Rodenbach Gran Cru. Devilishly Delicious!
* Amazing! Tastes like a cherry sweet tart.
* Tart cherries abound / Saliva forms in my mouth / I have a new love!

Thanks to everyone who came out - and for those of you who missed this event, stay tuned. We hope to have enough of these sort of events to keep everyone involved.


  1. lol, I like that you used everyone's comments. Wishing I would have written something more... substantial.

    Had a great time! Looking forward to future events.

  2. Is the Ommegang Rouge going to be a regular in Indiana or was this a one time thing?

  3. Ommegang Rouge is on at Brugge and Union Jack right now. I'd guess that the staying power of Rouge will be directly related to the price - it's not a cheap beer, and I wonder how easy it is to sell a high dollar sour beer to the general public.

    I'd say if you're interested in it, you'd better hop on it soon.

  4. Time to put the GEEK in Hoosier Beer Geek. The mug score sample sizes with a group this large actually made standard deviations meaningful, so here are the SDs (with averages) for the 4 beers we tasted:

    Ave: 3.257
    St Dev: 0.47

    Ave: 3.727
    St Dev: 0.65

    Ave. 3.537
    St Dev: 0.60

    Ave: 4.141
    St Dev: 0.94

    Not too surprisingly, Rouge had the highest SD. Sour beer is definitely a love it or hate it kind of thing, and the mugs scores bore that out.

  5. Thanks to everyone who came out. We had a great time and hope that we can do it again soon!