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Topics - John B

Beer News / The Hidden Beers of Belgium book
May 27, 2023, 07:28:32 PM
Forgive me for not providing more information at the moment. I'm on my phone and having some connectivity issues and also have to go to work very shortly.

Just saw an interesting post on the BeerAdvocate website in the "Beer News" section of the forums in regards to an upcoming book due out next year called "The Hidden Beers of Belgium" which looks promising.

A few links there to check out in regards to the book and what they have planned. See what you think.

Cheers! - John
Beer News / The Future of Fantome
January 12, 2023, 10:06:19 PM
Today I happened to come across this article featuring Dany Prignon, the man who IS Fantome. It was posted about a year and a half ago, but contains information I wasn't aware of until now. There's an interesting 16 minute interview with Dany, who mentions his intentions of finding a partner brewer who would eventually take over Fantome. Like I said, I think Dany IS Fantome, and can't imagine anyone else running that brewery.

Filip, or anyone else who might have any information, do you know if anything has changed since this was published a year and a half ago? Has Dany found someone to partner with? Has there been or will there be any upcoming changes that you know of? I wish Dany and Fantome (whoever may be running the brewery in the future) all the best.

Ghost Cheers! - John

Beer Tastings / Duvel Single Fermented
December 22, 2022, 12:52:51 AM
This is one I picked up as it was offered in a 4 pack gift box with some golf balls included. I used to play golf quite a bit 30 to 40 years ago and was decent at it. Then I pretty much stopped for a couple of reasons, and now it's been almost 20 years since I've played an actual round of golf.

Well, my 77 year old neighbor gave me a very small set of clubs (not a complete set, but enough to get by) because he can't play anymore, and there's a golf course only 3 minutes from where I live so, I am considering getting out there again and swatting that little round ball back and forth. And so I saw this gift set with the sleeve of 3 golf balls and thought "Why not?". I love the game, and I need to get outside more often, so ...

This is the 4 pack of cans of the Duvel Single Fermented edition. It's not a bad beer, and for the price, along with the golf balls that I hope to use, it was a good deal. Yes, I prefer the "regular" Duvel, but this one is pretty good.

Cheers, and Fore! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Abt 12
December 18, 2022, 11:25:33 PM
And finally, the last beer in the gift box but certainly not the least, St Bernardus Abt 12. Clocking in at 10% abv, but you'd never know it. There's no booziness about this one. Smooth as can be, a real easy drinking masterpiece of brewing. Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Tripel
December 18, 2022, 10:43:48 PM
Next up, the St Bernardus Tripel at 8%. This has always been one of my favorite tripels. Beautifully balanced, creamy, a great representation of the style. Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Prior 8
December 18, 2022, 07:57:05 PM
Beer number four from the St Bernardus box, the 8% Prior 8. It's never been one of my favorites of theirs, but it's still a very nice beer. I opened this one up and drank the first sips of it too cold without letting it warm up sufficiently. Initially it was somewhat one dimensional, and had a very prickly mouthfeel for this style of beer. However, letting it warm up a bit made a huge difference, and the flavors opened up and the mouthfeel was much smoother. Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Pater 6
December 18, 2022, 06:48:31 PM
The third of the six different beers from the St Bernardus box, this is the 6.7% Pater 6. It's the "smallest" of the dark beers from St Bernardus. It's one that I rarely, if ever, see available around my neck of the woods. Not as well known as it's bigger brothers the Prior 8 and the Abt 12, but it's still a very enjoyable beer to sip and savor, especially as it warms up. Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Wit
December 18, 2022, 06:07:38 PM
Another one from the St Bernardus gift box that I picked up a couple of days ago, the 5.5% Wit. A beer I'm sure most people here have had before, probably many times. The Wit is another winner from the good people at St Bernardus. Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Extra 4
December 18, 2022, 01:28:25 AM
Yesterday I picked up a St Bernardus gift box. It contained 6 different beers, along with two small taster glasses. Today I started off with the "smallest" beer of the six, the Extra 4. It's a 4.8% blonde beer. Nice and crisp, beautifully balanced, a beer that I could happily drink on a regular basis if it was normally available here and affordable. Unfortunately though this isn't a beer you can find in my neck of the woods, which is one of the reasons I purchased this gift set. A real nice, very drinkable beer. Cheers! - John
Chit Chat / Lagunitas Willettized Stout
December 18, 2022, 01:13:26 AM
This is one that I've been waiting for. It comes out once a year, usually sometime in January. Well, this time it took until now, almost a year late, to arrive. Covid related issues are the reason Lagunitas said it was delayed this long. Whatever the reason, I finally managed to pick some up yesterday, and gave it a whirl today. It's Lagunitas Willettized Stout. A 13.1% dark beauty aged in Willett barrels. Best of all, a 4 pack of this is a bargain, one of the best you're likely to find. I picked this 4 pack up for $11.99. Smooth as silk. The coffee notes aren't as prevalent as one might expect though, but I certainly don't mind. Good stuff! Cheers! - John

Chit Chat / Tired Hands Alien Church
December 09, 2022, 04:45:31 PM
Hello to each and every one of you! Well here's another IPA, this one from a brewery which I'd never tried before because I've never seen one of their beers distributed to my area. Tired Hands Brewing from Ardmore Pennsylvania. I'd heard good things about their beers, and was surprised to see this one, Alien Church sitting on the shelf at a small convenience store near me.

So, I snapped up this 7% abv hazy IPA and hoped for the best. Well, I was very impressed. Well balanced in taste, and with a very smooth feel in the mouth. Really one of the best beers of this style that I've ever had. I'm going back there to grab another can or two.

Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / Wizards Wand
November 23, 2022, 12:42:20 AM
Here's one from a brewery I've never tried before, McIlhenney Brewing from Alpine California, located near San Diego. They're a small family owned place that opened up in 2021, so one of the newer breweries out there. I'd heard a lot of good things about their beers, but they don't distribute outside of that general area, and a drive out that way would run me about $100 in gas, so up until now their beers have been elusive to me.

But ... a few days ago they decided to offer direct to your home shipping, at least on that one occasion, so I jumped right on it and ordered a sampler of the beers they had on offer. This is one of the three different beers that I ordered, Wizards Wand IPA. It comes in at 6.7% and Strata and Mosaic hops are the star attractions.

This one has a nice crispness to it, and the hops are front and center. Gotta say, it's a very nice IPA and I'm looking forward to cracking open the other two beers from McIlhenney. If they're as good as this one then I'm either going to have to finally make that drive down to Alpine or hope McIlhenney decides to offer direct to home shipping again. Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / 2022 Trader Joe's Vintage Spiced Ale
November 17, 2022, 07:40:26 PM
Here's a seasonal beer which can be found this time of year at a chain of small markets called Trader Joe's. TJ's is one of my favorite markets, but unfortunately the closest one to my location is about 45 minutes away, so I don't go there often. They have some different items which aren't usually found in larger markets, and the prices are for the most part very reasonable. The beer selection is small, but well chosen and inexpensive. They also let you break up 4 packs and 6 packs of beer into singles it you only want to buy one, and they don't charge you a higher price per can/bottle like everyone else does.

Anyway, I always get a bottle or two of this Spiced Ale each year when it comes out. It's actually brewed by Unibroue for Trader Joe's, and it's delicious and very inexpensive for the quality that you get. $5.99 per 750 ml bottle at 9% abv. Really hard to beat that these days. There's a nice thick tan head, a smooth mouthfeel, and the flavor opens up as it warms like many of these types of beers do. I'm getting thirsty now ...  Think I might just have to make another trip down to Trader Joe's again very soon.

Cheers! - John

Beer Tastings / Russian River Blind Pig
November 17, 2022, 07:25:58 PM
Another one from Russian River, Blind Pig. It's an IPA which has been around for many years. Some people think of it as Pliny The Elder's little brother. Not as well known as PTE, but some people prefer it over the "big brother". Hard for me to pick between the two, but while I like Blind Pig very much, I still enjoy Pliny a bit more. No complaints from me though, you can't go wrong with this one.

Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / Russian River Citra Flash Mob
November 17, 2022, 07:20:13 PM
Here's one from one of my favorite breweries anywhere, Russian River Brewing located north of San Francisco California in Santa Rosa. I've been fortunate to have tried many of their beers in many different styles, and they have all been good to amazing. This is one of their newer IPAs, Citra Flash Mob, and it's another winner. Crisp and refreshing, with the Citra hops being the showcase and they are in full bloom here. That's one thing about Russian River's IPAs, assuming you're drinking a fairly fresh bottle, you really get the full hop affect in both the aroma and the taste. And the mouthfeel always gives me the impression that you're drinking a top quality beer, which you are of course.

Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / St Bernardus Christmas Ale
November 17, 2022, 07:08:28 PM
'Tis the season for the Christmas/Holiday beers. Here's an old favorite, but in a new (for me) package. St Bernardus Christmas Ale in a can. I was a bit skeptical trying this one from this format. It surely felt a little strange pouring this beer from a can. For some reason in my mind pouring IPAs, Lagers and similar beers from a can seems natural. However darker, stronger beers such as this one just doesn't seem right coming out of an aluminum cylinder. Well, here goes anyway ...

Hmmm, it smells as nice as usual, and look at that head. No problems with the appearance or aroma. Now for the most important aspect of any beer, the taste ... well what do you know, it tastes as good as I remember it from the bottle. A nice full mouthfeel too. I'll be darned, I may just have to pick up another 4 pack of this soon.

Cheers! - John 
Belgian Beer Abroad / De Garre
June 14, 2022, 01:26:19 PM
Hey, what is a post about De Garre doing in the Belgian Beer Abroad forum? Well, I'm sure the sharp eyed amongst you have already figured it out by looking closely at the background in this picture. See, I decided to take a bit of a trip yesterday ... but no, unfortunately it wasn't to my beloved Belgium.

This trip was to a smallish city about an hour from where I live here in southern California called Claremont. I went there for the purpose of attending a class to renew my CPR and First Aid training. And alas, only 5 minutes from this class is a place called The Back Abbey. It's been a couple of years since I've been there. Think I posted about it here on the BBB last time, but here's a picture from yesterday's visit.

The Back Abbey is a small bar/restaurant with very good food and a very nice taplist of beer. Most of them are Belgian, many of which can't be found elsewhere anywhere southern California, including the Garre tripel and Klokke Roeland among others. After attending class and renewing my CPR and First Aid certificates I decided to stop by for a beer before heading home. I would have loved to stay for more, but I chose to have only one beer because first of all I had to drive home and second of all this place can get very expensive quickly and I still need to watch my budget.

So, because this is the only place that I know of within hundreds if not thousands of miles to get that excellent Garre tripel, that's what I ordered. And boy did it hit the spot nicely! Had a nice chat with the youngish bartender, and he informed me that The Back Abbey will be opening a second location next month, slightly closer to where I live (about 45 minutes from my home). So in this day and age where a lot of bars and restaurants are struggling to stay alive, The Back Abbey seems to be doing well. I will have to pay a visit to that new location sooner rather than later and report back here.

Garre Cheers! - John

Beer Tastings / My Easter Beer
April 17, 2022, 10:56:22 PM
This afternoon I stopped by a local gas station, one of the only places in my area who actually attempt to stock good beers. I'd (surprisingly) seen this green label Chimay Cent Cinquante, a 10% abv blonde there on my previous couple of visits. It's the only time I've seen this particular beer anywhere near where I live, but passed it by with the assumption that it would be prohibitively expensive, as this place doesn't list prices on their shelves for the beers, a practice which I don't like.

On my travels to other beer stores outside of my area the usual prices seemed to vary between $28 and $32 for a 4 pack of this beer, so I expected it to be about the same or more here in my neck of the woods. However today out of curiosity I asked the price and was shocked to find out they were asking $15.99 for the 4 pack. Well, yes please, I'll take a 4 pack at that price thank you! So I happily made the purchase, and opened one up this Easter afternoon. Also grabbed a can (my first time from a can) of Delirium Tremens which I hope to open up later today. Hope you're enjoying your weekend with some good beer my friends!

Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / Rochefort Triple Extra
March 23, 2022, 03:17:32 AM
Hi everyone,

Here's a beer which I know has been posted about in the past. I believe Filip was the first to try it and mention it here on the Belgian Beer Board, but it appears that was on the "old" board and is no longer available on this board. If I somehow missed it and it is available here on the new board to post, please feel free to move this to the older thread.

Anyway, after waiting patiently for over a year the Rochefort Triple Extra has finally made it's way to our shores here in the US. As well all know Rochefort beers are quality. One of my favorites. And triples (tripels) are also one of my favorite styles. So I looked upon trying this new (to me) Rochefort Triple Extra with great expectations. I wasn't disappointed. It is easily right there among my favorites of the style. A real masterpiece of brewing. Hard to believe this is their first new beer since 1955. It's right up there with the best tripels (triples). My single disappointment is that I only purchased three bottles. It's a long drive, but I need to go back and get more. What a great beer this is.

P.S. Sorry for the "incorrect" glass. I once had a Rochefort glass but it has disappeared. So the only other Trappist glasses I have are this Westvleteren glass and a couple of Chimay glasses. So I went with this one.

Cheers! - John
Beer Tastings / De Struise Dark Horse Reserva
January 28, 2022, 08:30:24 PM
Here's one from De Struise Brouwers, called Dark Horse Reserva. There's a fantastic liquor/beer store about an hour from me, so anytime I'm in that area I make a point to stop by. I picked up a few beers yesterday and this is one of them, a beer from this excellent Belgian brewer that I hadn't had before. Not a bad deal on this one either, as the nice fellow who runs the store let me have it for $14. I've seen it selling for as much as $55, although it usually sells for about half of that. Described on the bottle as a hybrid dark sour ale and coming in at an abv of 7%, it's aged in French wine barrels from Bordeaux for 4 years. This particular bottle was a 2014 vintage.

The bottle opened up and that typical wild ale fruity and sour aroma came rushing out. It poured a cola color, without maintaining much of a head for very long, as to be expected from this type of beer. I'd describe the taste as being moderately tart rather than strongly sour. You do get a good representation from the wine barrel aging coming in play, along with some dark cherries and a light hint of vinegar. As the beer warmed I picked up some plum notes.

All in all, a nice beer to sip and savor.

Cheers! - John