This is really good, and it’s so cheap, at £1.39 in Lidl. It’s made by the Brouwerij Van Steenberge, and it’s a delicious, full flavoured Blonde beer that offers a lot more character than you’ve any right to expect at this price. So that would be a ‘buy’, then.
Bornem Blonde Abbey Beer, Belgium
Lively, fresh and citrussy with a lovely spicy twist, and some warmth to the texture. There’s a lovely rich mouthfeel here, and some exotic coriander spiciness. Long and complex with nice freshness. Quite superb. 8.5/10
So, Vedett. What do you reckon? Brand owned by Duvel. Big marketing spend, including hiring very smart brand consultants. Look at the website. Once you get past the age gauge, and select your country, you can even personalize your case. This is quite cool. But normally big brand means dull beer. This is where I am pleased to report that with their Extra Ordinary IPA (website here), they have pretty much got it right. They haven’t gone for the big hoppy American style, but neither have they skimped on expensive hops and produced a faux IPA. This is a super beer. It’s not a lame attempt to jump the craft beer bandwagon. It’s delicious.
Vedett Extra Ordinary IPA
Yellow/orange in colour. Lovely fresh, tangy, herby lemony flavours with lovely hoppy bitterness. It’s quite a fresh style with lovely grapefruit, a little passion fruit richness and a tangy bitter finish. 8/10
No formal tasting note here, just an impression of this remarkable Oregon beer. It’s the Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Seizoen Bretta, weighing in at 8% alcohol. I found this on tap at the Craft Beer Co in Holborn, and it was tangy, complex and totally thrilling. Logsdon Farmhouse Ales model their operation on the old-style Belgian farmhouse beers, literally brewed on the farm. The label design is really chintzy and retro (the paintings are by Seaberg Einarsson), and most of their beers are sold in 750 ml bottles, rather than the normal smaller sized ones. Truly sensational stuff, and worth a special detour because this is near impossible to find in the UK.
To Øl is Danish for ‘two beers’, and it’s a collaboration between Tobias Emil Jensen and Tore Gynther, who were students of famous craft brewer Mikkeller and who, like him, are gypsy brewers. Their goal is to make potent beers, full of flavour and character, and they started brewing back in 2010. This one is aged in white wine barrels, and brewed at De Proef Bruwerij, Belgium. For more about them: http://to-ol.dk/home/
To Øl Sans Frontière
A Belgian ale dry hopped with European hops and refermented with Brettanomyces. Deep copper colour. Sweet, slightly yeasty nose with a hint of caramel and fine notes of malt and pepper. Rich-textured palate is smooth with caramel and malt sweetness and some tangy, spicy, herby notes. There’s a little bit of citrus/grapefruit and a hint of apricot, as well as a faint hint of wild funkiness. Salty caramel core anchors everything. Distinctive. 8/10