My lists aren’t the typical countdown style going from 10 to 1 with a drumroll. Nope, mine are more a survey of a particular style and that is very apparent in this, the first list of 2014. Belgian style ales cover a striking gamut of aromas (horse blanket), colors (golden to dark cola brown) and flavors (too many to list) and I hope to cover as wide of a swath of California-brewed ales as possible. As usual, if you have suggestions, please let me know.
Lost Abbey – Red Barn Saison
Lost Abbey beers are sought after and some are in short supply, so instead of recommending that someone search out Duck, Duck, Gooze, I am going to say, try the sometimes overlooked saison Red Barn. A farmhouse ale that is spiced with just the right touch of Organic Ginger, Orange Peels, Black Pepper and Grains of Paradise.
A bit of a cheat since this dark saison is brewed with the famed Belgian brewery, Brasserie St-Feuillien. The beer combines the lightness of the style with a darker and heavier malt.
Ladyface Ale Companie – Dark Horse Pro-Am Belgian Quad
I’ve added this one to the list because I hope Brian and Kingsley get to brew it again and because I really enjoyed this dark bruiser of a beer. Some really great toffee notes in this brew.
Sierra Nevada / Ovila – Saison
They had me at mandarin oranges and peppercorns. This saison is my favorite of the Ovila line of monastery beers from Sierra Nevada and it is a lovely spicy treat.
Brouwerij West – 9 Belgian Tripel
Brouwerij West may be known more for their wacky labels and hard to spell name but their tripel is a fine example of the style. Straightforward without any bells or whistles.