Sounds like a metal band. A screaming, melt-your face, head-banging group of metal masters. But, alas, it is not…rather they are the avian creatures gracing the labels of Grimbergen beers. Love those images! After recuperating from a Belgian beer and tequila-soaked Cinco de Mayo, and an evening of work, settling in with a few beers was just what this tired girl ordered…
Grimbergen Blonde Ale: 6.7% ABV: An Abbey ale from the monks in a monastery just north of Brussels. Dates back to the early Middle Ages, label says ‘Anno 1128′ Wow. Just for a bit of historical context, this is about 200 years BEFORE the Black Plague, which for us folks in the ole’ US of A is like ancient history.
Tasted in two different glasses, a chalice, as instructed on the side label, and a wine glass for swirling. I found more aromatics in the wine glass. From the chalice, honey notes on nose, while the wine glass revealed a sweet malty nose, soaking grains, almost over-ripe fruit and fruit peelings . They use of “Gatinais” barley explains the grain note. And considering the diet of the large majority of people during the Middle Ages was barley, it’s not surprising it is the overlying aromatic tone. Touch of ginger as it warms. Some other spices make spotty appearances, but difficult to discern/nail down.
Not a huge fan of this beer. Forgettable. Skip it. Sorry monks. Please don’t send a bad word to the guy upstairs.
Grimbergen Dubbel: 6.5% ABV: MUCH more interesting nose. Dried fruit of fig and cherry, light brown sugar,but with a surprising fresh note, like the tiniest squeeze of citrus over the dried fruit platter. Some baking spice. Nice, easy, malty-smooth palate with some brown sugar, light molasses on the finish, makes this a beer you can drink without thinking. No sharp edges.
People don’t normally associate Belgian beer and the word sessionable together. But if you are of a fan of a slightly darker stature without sending the ABV scales into the stratosphere, this is a good choice. So if you happen to be in a bar that has a big list but little complexity in their selection like Lager’s in New Orleans, pick this one over the blonde.
Affligem Dubbel: 7% ABV: I selected the Affligem because I wanted to compare two well-known and fairly easy to find dubbels in the same night and look for both similarities and differences within the style.
Lots of carbonation in this guy. It took very little coaxing before the cork popped right out. Ripe to over-ripe fruit on the nose, with darker dried fruits of fig and date, and a measurable dose of orange. Definite cola notes on the palate, particularly enhanced by that high carbonation. I just can’t get past it. I would prefer it less, as it gives me that same chest pressure Coke causes. Grainy aromas and flavors, reminding me of a dense multi-grain bread. The notes of dried dark fruit follow through on the palate as well, and leave a lingering sweetness on the finish.
And as my yawns become constant, I know delirium has set in and this day has drawn to a sleepy close. Night night my dear beer friends.