Lefebvre Barbar

September 3rd, 2009 beckel

Today I have what is sure to be an interesting Belgian brew produced by Lefebvre Brewery. I found this 11.2 oz beer on the shelves of The Four Firkins and had no clue what it was aside from the neat ancient looking symbols on the bottle and the very reasonable price tag of just a couple dollars. After reading a bit it appears Lefebvre has a very long family history dating back to 1876 but this particular brew wasn’t distributed until more recently in 1996. Barbar is said to be based on ancestral knowledge of the brewer and was crafted with some very interesting ingredients including honey, bitter orange, coriander, wheat and of course water, barley, hops (Hallertau & Styrian) and their unique yeast strain. This ale pours a unique hazy brownish copper hue that is very opaque but doesn’t appear tio have any sediment present. Head is a solid four fingers of tight pure white bubbles that slowly dissipates leaving a solid millimeter of head on the surface even after over ten minutes and a small amount of lacing around the glass. Aroma is also quite unique, smells strongly of rich spicy honey, oranges and caramel. This is unquestionably a sweet beer but the gentle coriander and alcohol notes do a decent job making the aroma a bit more dry. Flavor is much lighter than the aroma but still contains plenty of herbal notes, a moderate does of honey, soft caramel, a good deal of pale malty sweetness which is contrasted by a nice light wheat character and gentle citrus hop notes. Body is quite light for such a strong ale and the mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and not overly sticky particularly considering the honey used in this brew. With an ABV of 8% this isn’t something you can drink all day but the sweet flavor of the brew may make you think otherwise. If you enjoy Belgian Strong Ales and are looking for something with additional sweetness and spices this might just be the beer for you. The aroma of this beer really blew me away though the flavor in contrast seemed a bit lackluster, regardless this is a neat ale that shows you can make a successful brew with unique ingredients. Something I would happily consume again, particularly at a reasonable price. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Lefebvre Barbar Honey Ale

De Block Satan Gold

August 6th, 2009 beckel

When I saw this little bottle on the shelves of The Four Firkins a few months ago I couldn’t help but pick it up. One look at the picture of Satan smirking back at you holding a cup of this brew was more than enough to justify the few dollars spent. Knowing nothing about this beer or its brewery De Block other than the fact that they operate out of Merchtem-Peizegem, Belgium I decided to look them up. Apparently this family run breweries history dates back to the 14th century and they produce a number of interesting looking beers including a Satan Red Ale. But you can read all that on their website, onto the beer. Poured straight into a tulip at just under room temperature this beer produced about three fingers of loose highly carbonated white head that faded very quickly leaving little lacing around the glass though more carbonation easily builds up when swirled. Color is an attractive hazy golden hue that is moderately translucent when brought to light. Aroma is quite alcoholic and reminds me a bit of a white wine in some ways and is accompanied by light fruit notes. Flavor is remarkably less alcoholic than the aroma but still present up front but is nicely contrasted by fruity flavors such as apricot and a gentle flavor that reminds me of caramel and even more so toffee as well as some light bready yeast notes. From the aroma of this brew I really didn’t expect a particularly pleasant experience but after taking a number of sips this really is one interesting and nicely flavorful Belgian Strong Pale Ale. The body of this brew is medium and the mouthfeel is very clean, provided the 8% ABV doesn’t get to you first this should be an easy beer to consume. I had no idea what to expect when I opened this bottle but I am pleased to say I have really enjoyed it and would definitely purchase it again. Alcohol is a bit more noticeable than in some beers of the style such as Duvel [review] but I didn’t find it overly offensive, just a bit startling in the aroma. If you enjoy Golden Belgian Ales and are not opposed to alcohol I think you too will enjoy this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

De Block Satan Gold Belgian Ale