This tasting of 6 exceptional beers matured in wooden barrels will remain as a highlight of my career in booze. I can only compare it to a tasting of Vosne-Romanée wines held by most of the 40 or so growers in Burgundy during my three years in wine roaming in France and Spain. But I digress and exaggerate. Nothing can beat that tasting of Vosne-Romanée drunk out of barrels, brought by the winemakers along with bottles of previous years’ editions.
But the feeling of awe was apparent when the Biergilde Het Lindeke held the tasting of six amazing bottles of beer led by member Thomas De Belder on 13 December. He had raided his his father’s collection to come up with an extraordinary sampling of beers, some of which are no longer available. What a dad he must have!
There was the limited edition of Rodenbach’s Caractere Rouge, a Flanders red ale sour. The beer was originally macerated with fresh cherries, raspberries and cranberries. After maceration in oak, the beer was re-fermented in the bottle. Mmmm…good.
Next up was the Georges IV by Brouwerij Deca Services. This was aged for almost two years in whiskey oak barrels. Rio Reserva by De Struise Brouwers followed. This Belgian quadruple swings a powerful punch of 10.5%. The incredible brewery, one of my favourites, achieved what they call a ‘Belgian dark golden blond’, with lots of natural aromas hanging around the ageing in Kentucky bourbon barrels. The beer was bottled in May 2012.
Power time. Next up was a 2012 Pannepot Reserva, also by De Struise and a 10% Belgian strong dark ale. They took their regular Pannepot, if such a thing can be said of an already extraordinary beer, and aged 90 hectoliters in French oak barrels for 14 months and transferred 60 of that to second-hand calvados oak vessels, bottling the result. This was the 2012 edition. Next was a religious experience, again by De Struise. There Tsjeeses Reserva, full of caramel, malt and dry fruit melded together in one wonderfully boozy package (10%).
To crown the evening Thomas pulled out L’Ensemble di Montalcino by De Dochter van de Korenaar. This barley wine was aged for 250 days in Italian Montalcino red wine arrels from Castelnuovo Tancredi. Can one get better with barley wine? Probably, but it would be hard to find.
Het Lindeke beer club is named after a former brewery in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe or Op-Weule that for three centuries produced local beer until 1934. The club started in December 2009 as a beer guild to promote Belgian beer culture and to revive the old beer traditions of the Woluwedal. The Op-Weule Bistro is their meeting place and club activities take place at Op-Weule and Kontakt Community Center.
- The preservation and strengthening of the unique Belgian beer culture and the authentic beer styles.
- Transferring knowledge about the history, brewing and consumption of beer in Belgium and in particular in the folk pubs of the Woluwedal.
- Making an important contribution to the Belgian beer culture.
- Visiting both small and large breweries.
- Organizing open tastings and themed evenings.
- Research into the history of beer culture in the Woluwedal and its numerous pubs.
- Taking care of cooking evenings with beer dishes.
- Organising exhibitions of beer attributes.
- Participating or organiding pub crawls.
- Organide or collaborate on festivities.
- Fraternity with other beer guilds from Belgium and abroad.
- Brewing your own beer to the formula of the brown beer once brewed in the brewery “Het Lindeke”