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Beer Review #271 Table for Two

02-18-03I have yet another beer that I originally had a few months ago, but knocked off the last bottle today. Table for Two is a “Belgian-style table beer” brewed by the Flying Dog Brewery. I’ve reviewed 12 of their beers in the past, so this makes lucky number 13. I’m really not sure if I have ever had a Belgian-style table beer before. This one comes in at a very sessionable 5.0% ABV. The bottle also indicates that it is a “beer brewed with honey.”

Table for Two pours a beautiful golden orange. It is perfectly clear and has a fluffy white head that sits atop the liquid below. The nose is mostly sweet but nondescript. There was no honey to be smelled which shouldn’t be surprising as honey added to beer usually ferments out and leaves nothing but alcohol and a lighter body. There is a slight bit of Belgian yeast spice in there but the sweetness wins out.

On the first line of my “taste” area of my notes I have, “not a whole lot happening.” It has a sweet front that is a bit honey-like in its flavor but isn’t complex in the slightest. The Belgian spices come through on the end but they are not very assertive and really play as a mellow flavor contributor to this beer. It’s not to say that this is a bad beer, it is just very simple and reserved.

As far as Belgian beers go this one is very tame. I can’t remember having a Belgian-style table beer before so this one could be right on the money as far as styles goes. It is still a very drinkable beer which is what I think it is supposed to be. It isn’t packed with flavor, but what it does have is nice. I would like to see the Belgian yeast flavors become a bit stronger in this beer, but overall it’s a drinkable, sessionable beer. (more…)

Beer Review #269 Duchesse De Bourgogne

02-12-03I’m going to warn you, I’m on a Belgian beer kick right now. The next several reviews are going to be Belgian or Belgian inspired beers. Today’s beer is fondly called “The Duchesse” by many. I was first introduced to it when I lived in Texas. The homebrew club would pay someone to make the long trek to cultured areas and get a case of this beer. At $20 bucks a 750 ml bottle, plus gas, it was an expensive treat. Duchesse De Bourgogne is brewed by Brouwerij Verhaeghe. Try to say that a few times. The bottle says, “Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beer following the careful maturation in oak casks.”

The Duchesse pours a nice clean brown color. It has a slightly off-white head that quickly fades. Oddly, as the head fades, large bubble begin to cling to the glass where the beer is. I thought it was because of a dirty glass at first, but I tried a second glass that I had just cleaned and it did the same thing. Odd. The nose has some nice woody smells along with some slight sweetness. The largest aroma coming from the glass is a nice sour note.

On the front end you get a bit of sweetness which is quickly followed by a solid sour flavor. It tasted like sour grapes or sour candy. The woody notes from the nose also follow through to the flavor and add a great level of complexity to the beer. As the beer warms the oak flavors become a bit stronger but they do not throw anything out of balance. This beer is pretty light-handed when it comes to all of the flavors. The sweetness, sourness, and oakiness(?) are all there, but they don’t scream, but rather say mellow.

I can see why people enjoy this beer. The has a great level come complexity while remaining on the lighter end of flavor. I’ve had beers that are much more sour and it often throws them out of balance. I think the real magic of this beer is that it achieves a great complexity without overdoing it on any one particular thing. The balance is fantastic. And at 6% you can have a few of these if you have the cash. My local beer store sells the 750 ml and 11.2 oz bottles in four packs. I generally opt for the four pack. (more…)

Beer Review #206 Dundee Irish Red Lager

Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the Dundee marketing team.

One of the Dundee marketing members contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I wanted some samples of their Irish Red Lager and I obviously said yes. I like free beer, but I love free craft beer. Dundee is a brewery that I am familiar with as I drank their beers quite a bit in college, before their current design, “throwback artsy,” existed. Dundee Brewing Company is located in Rochester, NY, home of a bunch of craft breweries. I was really happy that Dundee sent me this beer as the only beer of theirs that I can get in my area currently is their Honey Brown.

The bottle shows a ram being pained red which is a nod to the German bock. The label also says “malty and mellow,” just an Irish Red should be. The beer pours a light red color and has an abundant white head. As expected this beer is crystal clear. The nose is full of malt with some caramel and bits of biscuit mixed in. The nose is also noticeably sweet and does not have any hop character to speak of.

On my first taste I was surprised at how smooth the malt flows. I guess some advertising doesn’t lie. There is a nice addition of biscuit just as the forward malt flavor is fading. As the biscuit beings to assert itself a very nice, clean hop flavor comes in. The hops are not super strong but they do a nice job of sopping up the malt and really clean the beer out. There is some residual sweetness even with the addition of hops, but it is not an overwhelming sweetness.

To tell you the truth, I really liked this beer. There was nothing flashy about it, but it is an easy drinking beer. Who doesn’t like a beer that goes down easily now and again and bless the people at Dundee, they sent me three bottles so that the beer could go down easily three times. I’m usually not a fan of beers that stay sweet at the end, but this beer had a nice sweetness that, as the bottle describes it, was mellow. I haven’t had many Dundee products in a long time, but this beer will have me looking in their direction again. (more…)