Beer name: Gordon Finest Scotch
Origin: Genval, Belgium
Brewer: Anthony Martin
Alc. Vol: 8.6%
I’m not really sure why this is a highland ale, as the label declares. It is after all brewed in Belgium, and is definately european in strength. A little research reveals that it originates in the “limpid highlands amond isolated lochs and haunting Scottish castles.” Believe what you will. Setting aside the lying marketing ploy this is a very competent ale which I rather enjoyed drinking.
The last three beers I’ve reviewed have all been fairly unique and distinctive, this one was not. That lack of individuality isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Gordon. It has a dark brown ruby colour and a nice thick head on it which is extremely tasty. The flavour is rich and warming, whilst still being a fairly light ale, making it a nice easy beer to drink.
This is a beer that stands proud on it’s own, one to drink on a cold winters evening beside the fire (or radiator if you’re a student like me). It’s also light enough that you could happily drink it with a meal, so a good all rounder.
The Gordon is a very good ale, but it doesn’t really have that special spark which makes it stand out from the crowd, so it gets a very decent, but not exceptional four out of five.
Beer name: Mongozo Banana
Origin: Melle, Belgium
Brewer: Brouwerij Huyghe (they have a rubbish website, Mongozo is more helpful.
Alc. Vol: 4.8%
As the name suggests, this is a banana flavoured beer, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting it to be any good. I’ve had banana beer before and it wasn’t very nice, so it was a very pleasant surprise when I opened up the Mongozo!
Opening up the bottle, I was greeted by a fragrant aroma of bananas. Since this is a banana beer that may not surprise you, but my experience with flavoured beer is that it rarely lives up to it’s supposed flavour, so it was very nice to smell something which actually resembled what the bottle claimed it to be.
I was surprised yet again when I poured it into a glass, not only by the bright yellow banana colouring, but also by the small bits of banana floating in my glass! Thats right, this beer wasn’t just made with bananas, they actually left some bits of banana in it! I actually sat and stared at it for a while before I drank, because the small bits of banana were actually floating around in the glass, being lifted up to the top by the gases being released, and then sinking back down again.
I suppose I should have expected as much by now, but I was once again impressed by just how much the beer tasted like banana. Indeed I would liken it to a banana milkshake more than a beer. Thankfully it also had a slight bitter edge to it, which made it very pleasant to drink, although it’s still a very sweet beer. Definately one to have with your fruity pudding!
This beer was thoroughly enjoyable, although it’s sweetness does mean it’s not the kind of thing I would have in a pub, I certainly would enjoy it after an evening meal. For me this gets a good solid four out of five.
Beer name: St Benoit Blonde
Origin: Purnode-Yvoir, Belgium
Brewer: Du Bocq
Alc. Vol: 6.3%
Before I begin this review, I have to mention that I have never been a big fan of blonde beers. I believe there are three more of them in my cupboard and I am quite happy to try them all, but there have been very few blondes which I have enjoyed, and I’m not keeping my hopes up.
Upon cracking open the Benoit I was greeted by the familiar smell of a sweet blonde beer, the aroma was light and pleasant and there was a somewhat fruity undertone. As I poured it out it fizzed away merrily, the beer was full of life which is of course a good sign. It produced a decent light head (I botched the pouring a little so there was more head than I intended actually!) and looked very much like a blonde beer with a typical golden yellow colour.
As I mentioned I’m not normally a fan of blonde beer, and sadly the Benoit was no exception. The first sip had a slightly tinny taste to it and it was quite sweet and fruity with a bitter edge. As far as my opinion goes there was nothing at all wrong with the beer, indeed it tasted very much like other blonde’s I’ve tried. Sadly though this is not the beer to convert me over to the light side, and whilst I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t enjoy it much either.
I’m sure if you enjoy blonde beer then you will enjoy the Benoit Blonde, and I wouldn’t be averse to trying out the St Benoit Brune (brewed in the same abbey of course), but this is not a beer I will be coming back to, and for me personally it would be a one out of five, however it gets the benefit of the doubt since I don’t enjoy blonde’s in general, so the score is two.
For Christmas my Granddad gave me 6 beer mugs and 20 different bottles of european beer. As I make my way through them I will be reviewing each one, so if you’re into beer then watch this space! This is the first of those reviews.
Beer name: Kerstbie
Origin: Loker, Belgium
Brewer: Brouwerij de Bie
Alc. Vol: 8.0%
The moment I opened up the bottle I knew this was a strong beer. Sometimes you can crack open a bottle and get nothing, but the Kerstbie was bursting with flavour and smelt sweet and spicy. As I poured it into a glass I could hear it fizzing, which is always a good sign!
I have to admit my first sip was a little overwhelming. I have a somewhat blocked nose at the moment and I wasn’t really expecting it to taste so strong. But once I’d gotten used to the strength (after all this is european beer, at a modest 8% vol) I was able to thoroughly enjoy it. The Kerstbie is to most ales as a pudding wine is to most whites, much sweeter than normal and considerably stronger in flavour. Indeed it wouldn’t be out of place alongside a nice steamed pudding, perfect for those cold winter months.
If I were to have another Kerstbie in the future I would definately not be drinking it on it’s own again. I would probably choose it to go with a fairly sweet meal or to drink just after a meal. It’s flavour was as mentioned rather overwhelming, and needs something else alongside it.
In the right context this is an excellent beer, unfortunately I rarely drink beer in that context so for me this gets a fairly average 3/5
I hope it snows this week,
A snow flake on your cheek
Would make this Christmas so Beautiful
But that would just bring the pain
Cause things can’t stay the same
These Holidays won’t be wonderful
I look under the tree
But there’s nothing to see
Cause it’s a broken heart that you’re giving me
I can’t figure you out
Is this what Christmas is all about
Cause it’s a broken heart that you’re giving me
I don’t wanna talk
I’m sick of all this talking
A broken heart wrapped up in a Box
This tear drops in my stocking
I hate Christmas parties,
They offer me some punch,
But I just shrug
I hate Christmas parties
You and the cookie
Tray hear me say “Ba! Humbug”