As you may have noticed, I'm trying out a new look for the blog, complete with sensual beer photography backgound. In fact, I took that photo when trying out the first beer below, which was about two months ago. Also, I've added the dropdown 'Beer Seeker' menu so you can see what the Destrier thinks of your favourite beer, as well as the Followers gadget, so you can join the site. Please feel free to do so, and have a nice brew.
For this article, I'm catching up on some old notes for beers I tasted a couple of months ago, hence the rather unusual pairing.
First up is the Chimay Première, as it's named in the 75cl bottles. It's a Dubbel, and it pours a bronzed ruby-red hue, with a quickly dissipating off-white head. Carbonation is quite active, making it fairly bubbly, while the overall look of the beer is slightly hazy. I imagine this is from the small amount of yeast sediment in the pour. This is enforced by the very strong wine-like yeast note that hits first on the aroma, while malty chocolate, bread and red berries also make themselves known. It smells good, though not very complex. Wine yeast is to the fore of the taste too, with woody, nutty toffee following in the middle, accompanied by malty bread, with darker fruits signing off. The nice bread malt quality only improves with time, as the beer sits warming up in the glass. The mouthfeel is gorgeous, with a nice velvety fizz on a medium to full body, and only a touch of alcohol heat at 7% ABV. This is a nice beer, but I think I'd have the Tripel instead, and I'd definitely have the Quadrupel instead.
Next is one that caught my eye with it's oppressively German labelling: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen looks brilliant in the bottle, and not too bad in the glass either. This smoked marzen pours like a Coca-Cola - clear red tinted black - and with a similar amount of carbonation. Unlike cola, however, it's got a creamy two fingers of off-white head that retains a film. I'd heard lots about this beer smelling like bacon and, well, it does. Smoke and meat smells dominate the aroma, and it's bloody strong too, but crucially it's not overpowering. Beneath the smoked bacon smell there's a stout-like coffee and roast malt aroma with hints of tobacco. Nice stuff, despite how it sounds. The taste is terrific, with the smoke lingering long after the swallow. Malt notes are more prominent, and the perceived stout qualities are more potent too. The mouthfeel is good, and isn't as overly carbonated as it looks, ad is actually pretty creamy. You still know you're drinking a marzen, though, as the drinkabililty is good and the beer's quite refreshing. I'll probably drink this one again, simply because it's just so different to anything I've had before. Looking forward to trying their smoked wheat beer, as well as their winter seasonal Urbock.