Monday, June 29, 2009

Chimay Grande Reserve Magnum 2007 vintage

It's been a long time coming but I'm bound and determined to do a review of one of the most famed beers in the world, the Trappists.

First some background on me acquiring this bottle then on the Trappists.

A few weeks ago while I was in Chicago I got some very interesting news, it seems my girlfriend was pregnant and we didn't know it and she was in labor ( gave birth to the most adorable baby girl ever names Zoey, we aren't sure who the father is yet though.) Well me being out of town there really was very little I could do so I continued working. During some of my free time I wandered about the city looking for something to do, this particular day I found a little place called Sam's it was a beer/wine/liquor store. Me loving most things alcoholic I decided to wander about a bit. I decided to see if I could find a bottle of USB ____ wine witch is not sold here in the great state of Pennsylvania, sadly there was only one place in Illinois who carried it. Then I decided to go upstairs where they kept the Beer. Now being from the great state of Pennsylvania I am unaccustomed to Beer Wine and Liquor all being in the same store as we have an odd separation of wine and liquor from beer. We also have case laws. For those Unfamiliar let me lay this down for you. When you want to purchase beer in PA you must go to either a bar or a beer distributer. what about grocery stores and six pack shops you say? Technically bars since you must be allowed to drink any beer you purchase on premises. Why is this so strange you say? Because at a beer distributer you must buy a case or more (24 cans/bottles at 12oz. or 288oz in any combination this includes Kegs), and at a bar you must buy less then a 12 pack (six pack under each arm). Oh and the beer in bars' price is over inflated. Now what gets even stranger is that if you walk out of a bar with 12 beers, throw them in the car and walk back in, guess what, you can buy 12 more beers (12 12oz bottles cans ect. so 144oz or less in any combination.) Anyway where I was going with this was that the singles and six packs were nice and cheap here. Walking through I saw the Belgian section, my eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. Orval, Roquefort, Westmalle, Chimay oh my! I quickly snagged a 1 Liter bottle of Westmalle Dubbel for $11 and a 12oz of Roquefort for $4 and when I looked up I was greeted by the sight of a magnum of Chimay Grande Reserve 2007 for only $26. Now for those of you out side of PA no big deal but for me, that's huge! To give you some Comparison at one of my favorite beer bars here that same bottle goes for $130 and at a six pack shop it's about $67. That's when I realize my girlfriend loves Chimay and that this bottle will make a wonderful congratulations gift.

Now I have mentioned a few time the Trappists, and I'm sure you are wondering just who or what these Trappists are. The Trappists are an order of Monks that follow the order of St. Benedict albeit a relaxed order. They are allowed drink and are allowed to sell it (along with other goods) in order to support the monastery. There are about 170 odd Trappist monestaries in the world and not all of them make amazing beer, but the ones that do certainly did it right. The distinctness of the Trappist ales is generally in the yeasts they use, they bring a certain unique flavor to the party that I just can't describe, it's almost a bread-e-ness.

This beer in particular was just incredible, the Grande Reserve or Bleu is a darker ale with a nice thick head. I loved the nice balance of hops and malt, it's not overly dry nor is it so heavy you can't drink another glass. It has a sweet but deep flavor, carmel figs cherries and the like with some spiciness too like a little touch of cinnamon. I would recommend this to anyone who is feeling like getting pampered, because that exactly what drinking this felt like.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three Floyd's - Gumballhead

Last week I spent some time in Chicago on a business trip thanks to the little bit of free time I got and coworkers who share my love of beer I was able to try a few things I couldn't get here in PA.

The first one I want to talk about was a little something called Gumballhead, "Gumballhead you say?" Yes i say Gumball head, mainly cause I like to say Gumball head. Alright I admit it sometimes I do like to order beer based off of the name alone, I'll drink any beer once and I like to tell people I drank something I couldn't pronounce, had so many umlauts that it put metal bands to shame, or was just as strange and unique as Gumballhead. That being said I've had some disappointments in my time, and i have disproved my German friend's theory that more umlauts equals more better. Not this time though, I was not disappointed. though I have to say I was a little surprised.

I was at a little bar called Kasey's in printer's row with one of my coworkers having a few beers while watching one of the games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I had just finished off a Hop Devil and just found the tap list. Scanning quickly I couldn't pull my eyes from that name for some reason, I knew I had to try it.

Fast forward to today I know know that Gumball head is made by three Floyds Brewing in Indiana (imagine that) and it's considered an American pale wheat ale. That right there is what surprised me.

This is the first wheat I've ever reviewed and for good reason. I don't drink many wheats. Don't get me wrong it's not like I hate wheats or anything it's just, I usually find something else i like better and would much rather go for something maltier or hoppy-er (honestly I'm not sure if either of those are real words or not but they work for me.)

Whell when it came to my table I was amazed to see this brew with a pale yellow hue and thick white head (ok not so surprised about the thick white head.) I looked through the glass or at least attempted to as it was quite hazy. I got a big ol' whiff off the top of it almost putting my nose into the foam, rather citrus-ey I must say. Finally I took a sip and it's got a bit of hops I taste nice and crisp something I wish I got from more wheats. Honestly this is what I want when I order a wheat a nice refreshing beverage. Extremely drinkable went down nice and easy. If I can find this in PA I'm defiantly keeping it around for an outdoor drinking experience.