Monday, October 5, 2015


I didn't merely escape from Brussels two weeks ago with a belly full of liquid experience, no sir. I also left with a suitcase full of beer wedged between socks and jeans and gym clothes, transported it to Germany for work, then again to San Francisco to my beer cellar aka my beer fridge. I was extremely haphazard in what beers were going to make the cut for the overseas journey; two jumbo Cantillon bottles, yes; Trappist Westvleteren 8, of course; and then three smaller bottles that were chosen merely because I'd never seen them anywhere before, because I liked the styles, and/or because I liked the labels. True Belgian "microbrews" from local brewers - made by Belgians for Belgians. Like me.

Well, the first of these is "FELIX SPECIAAL OUDENAARDS", which comes in this 'lil mini pepperpot of a bottle. What is that, 8 ounces? It only fills up half of one of my smaller "snifters". I did a little research on it. This oud bruin was once brewed by someone named CLARYSSE, but they closed up shop and are now letting VERHAEGHE have a crack at making this one. I'd say Verhaeghe's doing a pretty swell job. They matured it for one year at the brewery before turning it loose, and this brown ale is a cherry cola-like, licorice-tinged, moderately sour ale that probably tips a little more in the sweet direction that your typical oud bruin. The head went away right after the photo was snapped - and to be honest, so did the beer, given its size. I didn't find it particularly sharp; it certainly wasn't sour; and the sweetness was dampened a bit by some woodiness that contributed nicely. Not an off-the-charts "speciaal" beer but a nice mini-treat for a Thursday evening in any case. 7/10.

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