Whenever I see even the smallest scene from the movie “In Bruges” (rent it now, if you haven’t seen it), I wish I was in Belgium having a brun or gueuze in a large, architecturally rich, beer café-riddled grand square. The next best thing is in our backyard.
Every year, Lucky Baldwin’s pub (either Pasadena or Sierra Madre) brings in all the Belgian beer they can find and for two weeks you can travel the length and breadth of this great beer country while parked on a stool at the bar.
And these aren’t the usual Belgian suspects. Sure they have Saison Dupont on tap but they also have the table beer Avril and the Christmas/New Year offering Avec les Bon Voeux. Duvel is in attendance but so is the lesser-seen Gouden Carolus, which is where I started on a hot Monday holiday.
Hopsigjoor is a Belgian triple/ IPA hybrid and a great example of a new wave of Belgian beer making that is taking ideas from other countries and melding it with their own traditions to make a delicious new beer. Hopsigjoor (aka Hopsinjoor) pours a delightful hazy yellow and the first aromas to hit the nose are a floral/citrus mix from the hops. It is very effervescent and I think I detected some hints of pepper along with the Belgian yeast flavors.
I had hoped to try the Isid’or from Koningshoeven but apparently so did quite a few people in the previous two days so I opted for another new-to-me beer called Cuvvee des Trolls from the Dubuisson Brewery. It was light and bubbly. Everything about this beer was minimal without being flavorless. The aroma was very faint. I caught some mango flavor on my tongue but it quickly faded. Absolutely perfect for a Los Angeles summer February.
If you are in the mood for sour beer, they have the infamous Marriage Parfait. If you want to celebrate Easter early, they have St. Feuillien’s Paskeol. Or if you are late for Christmas, Christmas Leroy was on tap. Kegs were being delivered as I sat at the bar so something new may be waiting for you.
And if a great Belgian beer selection is not enough incentive, you can buy the signature glass and use it to get a discount for not only the rest of this March festival but for their other Belgian fest later this year. So don’t lose track of it! And also do not lose track of the event calendar from Lucky Baldwin’s. Hair of the Dog Brewing from my hometown of Portland, Oregon will be in town in March and they have a great Christmas in July and IPA festivals as well.
Your homework for this week is to either use your written notes or the memory cache in your mind to figure out what you favorite beer is from each country. My personal best from Germany is Landskron hefeweizen and from Japan it is Hitachino Nest XH.
The beer of the week is EagleGoat Bock. It will be slightly harder to find than past suggestions because it is at one place in West Hollywood. So head to the much publicized (and deservingly so) Surly Goat to try one of their “house beers” made by the fine folks at Eagle Rock Brewery.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.