Archive for the ‘Belgian Style’ Category


Beer Review: Goose Island’s Matilda

March 27, 2010

Goose Island Matila Belgian style ale

The bottle and the cool wood packaging in which it was sent

Goose Island is not a brewery I am very familiar with.  I reviewed their Bourbon County Stout last year, and it was a great, nuanced beer with neverending depth of flavor.  Recently, they sent me a press release about Matilda being available in the West, and they followed it up with a bottle of Matilda herself, to be reviewed on this blog.

About the brewery
When the first Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in 1988, domestic, mass-produced beer was deeply ingrained in Midwestern culture. The craft beer industry was still in its infancy, with only a handful of brewpubs in existence in the Midwest. In his travels across Europe, beer-lover John Hall had enjoyed a distinctive local brew in each region he visited. Hall was convinced that Midwesterners could produce beers as good or better than those he’d tasted in his travels. Living on the shore of the largest system of fresh water on the planet Earth, in a city with rapidly evolving tastes – John decided that his hometown, Chicago, would be the ideal place to do just that. (Source:

The beer, according to the press release:

Since 2005, Matilda has garnered accolades from food and beer critics around the world, medaling in both the prestigious World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival. With an alcohol by volume of 7% and a shelf life of 5 years, the finished product is true to Belgium’s tradition of brewing with spicy yeasts. Harkening rich aromas such as coriander and allspice, Matilda is brewed with a rare yeast strain that also lends a slightly fruity flavor.

The Pour
This poured semi-thickly into the glass. An orangey amber color, this beer was quite hazy from the yeast that remains in the bottle.  The tiny head it poured to dissipated very quickly.  I was writing notes on the color of the beer itself when I looked back and the head was already gone. (I pour the first half of a beer with the glass at 45 degrees, then pour the rest at 90 degrees to try to generate a decent head without overflowing the glass.)

The Nose
This beer has a great yeasty and fruity nose.  It almost has some of the characteristics of a hefeweizen in the nose as well.  The fruitiness behind the yeasty, bready notes may be mango or some other less common fruit. 

The Taste
Upfront crispness, sweetness and bready flavors give way to a fantastic spicy (peppery, if you ask me) flavor on the back of the palate and lingering through the finish.  The finish also lets loose some slightly bitter hoppiness mingling with nice yeast.  I would say this is a slightly full-bodied beer, with a slightly cloying mouthfeel, though the first drink seems crisp and clean. 

Matilda is a lady, and what an interesting, sophisticated lady she is.  She’s sweet when you first meet her, but her spiciness and personality really shine the more you get to know her.  They say women are like fine wine…they just get better with age.  Matilda is a cellaring beer, suitable for cellaring for five years, but even now, freshly bottled, she is showing signs of her future elegance.

Yes, the spicy notes are terrific and this really feels like a peppery white wine, though it only contains about half the alcohol.

Price: This was a sample sent by the brewery/PR folks.

ABV: 7% ABV according to the press release


Beer Review: Biere Du Boucanier

January 14, 2010

photo courtesy

Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s episode of “Pirate Beers and the men who love them”! This beer came in a mixed variety pack of beers I bid on and won at a silent auction late last summer/early fall. They’ve been hanging out (aging? :D) in my closet for some time and I was finally able to try some of them recently.

This one was Biere Du Boucanier, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I wasn’t sure what to expect, really, especially from looking at the bottle. I didn’t expect much, really. The bottle made me feel like I was about to enjoy a bottle of whole milk, not beer.

But then I tried it…

The Pour
This pours to a nice deep, dark ruby brown color. It has a nice thick, pillowy beige head. Looks promising…

The Nose
This smells of chocolate and roasted malt with hints of caramel. It smells very sweet but it also has a dryness on the edge of the nose. There are also hints of oak and dark, tart fruit.

The Taste
The malty sweetness of this brew is offset by a subtle sourness that really grows on you the more you experience it. Tastes a little like good tart cherries barely coated in chocolate. This is a very smooth, medium bodied brew. The mouthfeel is slightly oily but with a crispness on the edge of the tongue. There are slight hints of the higher alcohol content on the finish, which almost gives it a whiskey hint. This warms the palate nicely.

This seems far more complex than I was expecting, with a lot to enjoy and experience with each swallow. The sourness of tart cherries keep it from being overly sweet. After drinking this beer, I found myself craving more beers that show this sourness to their character. I enjoyed it a great deal.

Recommended: Absolutely! I can still, days later, taste the sourness of this beer, and I want more!

Price: Unknown (part of an auction package)

ABV: 9%


Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch hits shelves January 2010

December 10, 2009

Direct from Flying Dog comes word of Raging Bitch hitting shelves in January of 2010.  Brewed to celebrate Flying Dog’s twentieth anniversary, Raging Bitch is “…an American IPA fermented with Belgian yeast” and “is beautifully balanced between the Belgian fruity and citrus hop characteristics at the relatively high alcohol at 8.3% ABV.”

Aside from celebrating with the release of this Belgian-style IPA, Flying Dog will also be “… hosting a 20th Anniversary party at the Brewery and events in major markets across the country throughout 2010.”

Below is the press release in it’s entirety. You can visit Flying Dog on the Web at or on twitter at



FREDERICK, MD, December 10th—Flying Dog Brewery proudly announces the launch of RAGING BITCH, a Belgian-style IPA, to celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2010. Raging Bitch, both the beer and the art that graces its label, prove that even after 20 years Flying Dog is as edgy and provocative as ever.

The cutting edge art on the Raging Bitch label is yet another contribution from Ralph Steadman, who has created original art for all of Flying Dog’s beers. “The Raging Bitch label is my personal favorite”, said Stephanie Kerchner, Director of Marketing for Flying Dog. “This package reflects everything that Flying Dog stands for and the women of Flying Dog absolutely love it”, she added.

The beer itself, an American IPA fermented with Belgian yeast, is beautifully balanced between the Belgian fruity and citrus hop characteristics at the relatively high alcohol at 8.3% ABV. Raging Bitch comes on the heels of Flying Dog being honored as Mid Sized Brewing Company of the Year at this year’s Great American Beer Festival Flying Dog and after winning a string of medals and honors across Europe and Asia. “This has truly been a milestone year for Flying Dog. It is very exciting to be celebrating our 20th Anniversary and Brewery of the Year going into 2010 with Raging Bitch,” said Kerchner.

The decision to celebrate its 20th Anniversary with the Belgian IPA became apparent after multiple successful batches and great consumer, distributor and retailer feedback. “Raging Bitch represents what is fun about the recipe creation process and what goes into creating high-quality craft beer. The brewers of Flying Dog are very excited to have a beer like this to celebrate our 20th anniversary,” says Matt Brophy, Sr. VP of Brewing Operations.

Flying Dog will be hosting a 20th Anniversary party at the Brewery and events in major markets across the country throughout 2010. “Details are still in the process of being finalized but I can assure you the events will all be true Flying Dog celebrations full of Raging Bitch and Gonzo spirit,” says Kerchner.

Raging Bitch will begin shipping on December 8th and will be available in 6-packs and draft in January of 2010. Raging Bitch 750 ml limited edition hand-corked champagne bottles, which include a numbered poster are available for purchase at the Frederick, MD brewery on Saturdays during tours.

About Flying Dog
Flying Dog was founded in Aspen, CO in 1990, relocated to Frederick, MD in 2008, and is currently Maryland’s largest brewery. The Flying Dog Brewery is located at 4607 Wedgewood Blvd., in Frederick, MD and its world-class “litter of ales” is available in 48 states and 29 countries Flying Dog’s core values of “purposeful, provocative and irreverence” flow through the veins of the brewery’s founding owners George Stranahan and Richard McIntyre. George and Richard were good friends with the “Gonzo Journalist” Hunter S. Thompson, who coined the brand’s tagline “Good People Drink Good Beer,” and also with the “Gonzo Artist” Ralph Steadman, who illustrates the brand’s packaging. For more information please visit

Stephanie Kerchner
2401 Blake St., Denver, CO 80205