Category Archives: Beer Articles

Coming Full Circle

First off – I know – it’s been forever and a day since I last posted. Life has taken me many different directions and the writing fell by the way side, my apologies. Geeky Beer Gal is is very active on social media so please take a moment to follow me on FB, Instagram @geekybeergal and Twitter @geekybeergal.

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Brasserie d’Achouffe N’Ice Chouffe

Coming Full Circle. One recent Friday all I could think about, while trying to survive the work day, was how much I wanted to kick back later and enjoy a beer. As you know, I love beer but what you probably don’t know is that I actually don’t drink it as much as one might think. I enjoy and savor it when I do. My decision wasn’t whether to have a beer or not but wether to pick one from my beer frig at home or to go out and have something on tap. Home was winning until my brother texted me a pic of himself enjoying a Brasserie d’Achouffe N’Ice Chouffe at Uno Hamilton. Decision made! This Gal loves N’Ice Chouffe.

Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t match up so I missed having a beer with the World’s Greatest Brother. As I was enjoying my Chouffe it hit me….after all these years of traveling round, enjoying a variety of craft beers and my beer taste changing (next blog) in the end this Gal enjoys Belgian beers the most. So much so I once had an amazing cat name after the beer Chimay!

I enjoyed Belgian beers long before microbrews and craft beer became a thing. Back then the only place to really get them around my area was Isaac Newton’s in Newtown. They still have a nice selection of Belgian beers on tap complimented by a variety of craft beers. I find myself in need of a visit every Christmas season. For what ever reason Christmas screams Belgian beer time to me. Not sure why – it just does. Not that I don’t enjoy them year round, I do, just Christmas time I enjoy them even more. Part of my Christmas tradition is going to NYC to see the tree and enjoy a few beers at BXL Cafe…this Gal’s fav Belgium bar. It’s not Christmas until I sit at the BXL bar with a Delirium Noel!

Thing is it doesn’t matter if the beer is hoppy, malty or, in the case of a Framboise, fruity…I enjoy them all. They have such a rich, smooth quality to me that is meant to be savored and respected. I still love craft beers to the moon and back but Belgian beers will forever be my first love.

Some of this Gal’s fav places to find Belgian beers on tap: BXL Cafe, The Belgian Cafe, Monk’s Cafe, Uno Hamilton, Isaac Newton’s, and Bridgids.

Some of this Gal’s favorite Belgium breweries and beers: Chimay, Leffe, Delirium, Duvel, La Chouffe, Rodenbach Grand Cru, St Feuillien, Leifmans, Westmalle, Tripel Karmeliet, Westvleteren, Orval, Duchesse De Bourgogne, Arabier, Rochefort Trappistes 10, Cantillon and Lindeman’s to name a few cause really there are just too many to name. Cheers!

 

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Where are the Browns?

For the longest time I felt two styles were missing from tap lists – sours & browns. Well, as we all know, sours are everywhere now but where are the browns? Why is this style overlooked again and again? I’m perplexed as to why folks don’t appreciate this style more. I get so excited when I see a brown ale on a tap list and there are some really good ones out there. Brooklyn Brown and Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale helped me fall in love with craft beer. Right now I have Weyerbacher Easton Brown & Down and Cigar City Maduro Oatmeal Brown Ale in my beer frig.

Perhaps browns aren’t complex enough for folks but isn’t it nice to sometimes just enjoy straightforward drinking beer with a solid taste? I love the nuttiness to browns, the malt and subtle hops all combine to make a really smooth easy beer. Whenever I see a brown ale on a tap list you can count on this Gal ordering it. I once wished for more sours and my wish came true. Fingers crossed my wish for more browns comes true.

Brewers PLEASE brew some browns.
Drinkers PLEASE give the browns a chance.

Fat Tire or Flat Tire – would you say it?

Most of you have probably heard New Belgium Brewing beers will now be available in New Jersey. Some folks have wondered why I’ve been so quiet about this news when most in the beer world are clammering about it. Ummm, because I don’t think it’s that big a deal. There I said it. Boy does it feel good to get that off my chest.

Now don’t get me wrong I think New Belgium brews very good beer but so do numerous other breweries. Which leads me to ask is everyone really that excited or are they feeding off each other?

New Belgium has been available in Jersey’s neighboring state of Pennsylvania for several months now and since this Gal’s go-to-beer store, Trenton Road Takeout, is located in PA I’ve had access to New Belgium since the early fall and have tried various styles. I did enjoy them but not to the point that I understand why people are tripping over themselves in their quest to do the happy dance about the Jersey release. Mind you most of the folks doing the tripping have tried it before so  I wonder do they really think it’s incredibly awesome or do they feel that they have to say that?

Let’s look at some of the Holy Grails of the beer world. You know the ones I’m referring to Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger and Heady Topper. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying 2 out of the 3 – eventually I’ll try the Younger. Yes, Elder and Topper were both very good. No, I did not wait in line for hours, fight my way through throngs of humans nor did I pay some ridiculous price. I tried them for free via kind individuals. A bottle of Pliny the Elder was left on my desk by a client as a thank you for helping him with a project. I was excited to finally get to try it but thankful I didn’t knock myself out doing so. A good friend was given a can of Heady and chose to share it with me one night while enjoying dinner at a BYOB establishment. Very enjoyable indeed. BTW – if forced to pick I enjoyed the Heady more but both were wonderful. I would love to try the Younger and feel it will happen one day but nope I’m not going to great lengths to do so.

The whole thing of making customers jump through hoops to get these Holy Grails has become increasingly annoying. “Watch for our post of when it goes on tap so you can rush like a mad person to get here and wait in line for hours for the golden ticket”. Have fun and I’m sure some wonderful beerships will be formed from the experience but this Gal will be chilling with a good beer elsewhere.

But seriously do folks really think the beers are worth all the hoopla, is it bragging rights to say you had them or does one feel pressure to says it’s good? Would one dare say they didn’t think Pliny was all that?!

So yes, New Belgium is now available in Jersey. I’m happy for the brewery expanding their market and for my fellow beer lovers who can’t wait to try it but I’m not jumping on the band wagon doing the happy dance because I don’t feel it’s dance worthy.