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Our bodies were covered in lava colored battery acid. The explosions gained momentum as the night progressed. Despite common stereotypes, the Belgians are a corrosive people. Particularly the Flemish. First it was the hop. Gut wrenching acids introduced into early 15th century England cleverly attached to an otherwise perfectly pleasing and functional plant. Moving west, across the ocean, Flemish Manifest Destiny has arrived on out own shores. This time under the guise of otherwise innocuous microorganisms trained to produce low ph metabolites. Puckered were our cheeks. Denameled were our teeth. Exhausted were our salivary glands. A night to be remembered. A night to be feared.
When I left, Ryan and Dar were cowering in the corner crying in each others arms with a bottle of ammonia at the ready, “You’ll be neutralized you bastards! Don’t come near us!”
First, out of the gate, Melbourne Bros spontaneously fermented strawberry ale. The odd spontaneously fermented beer from...England. Smells like musty jam. Very jammy. Rich. Jam. But with a hint of musty, brett like character. Very sweet on the palate. Like diluted strawberry jam. Jam. Fairly tart finish, but is it from the strawberries? Pectin? Jam? One can’t know for sure. Would later be used as a salve for the inside of our cheeks.
Then Ryan’s homebrewed raspberry lambic. Maturing very well. Now four years old. Really nasty in the nose. Spot on. Like very yellow urine. The pisser hasn’t drank anything but raspberry syrup for days. And mushrooms and mildew. The pisser was pissing on a patch of rotten horse manure. Well, not that bad. On the palate this beer backs off a bit. Drier than our last tasting. With a solid acidity, but nothing like that to come. A pleasant, clean finish with a hint of raspberry. Bravo Ryan, Bravo.
The Vichtenaar sour ale was well past its best before date of June 2005, but it was actually better than the last bottle I had. Very sweet, but well balanced by a hefty sour side. Well assimilated. Get some oaky notes and kind of a chocolate covered cherry sort of thing even though there are no cherries here.
The Petrus sour ale was also well past it’s best before date, but it too had held up well. Not very tart or sour after the Vichtenaar it showed a nice malt character in the nose but more so on the palate. Special B? Chocolate malt? Very nice.
The two De Proef Primitive ales were interesting. Each about the same color, same strength, 9% abv, about the same carbonation, about the same final gravity. But the bottle with the “pig nun” and the “little armored thing” on the label was a much calmer ride. Fairly smooth all the through. A bit of funk in the nose but subdued. Big fermentation character, maybe a touch tart in the finish, hefty hopping, but all in all a very easy ride. The bottle with the “red caped bird” on it was an adventure. Massive dry hopping in the nose and maybe some spicing. The palate was herky-jerky all over the place. Much hoppier, big spicing?, much more tart in the finish. Reminded me of a slightly sweeter, spiced Orval.
The Rodenbach Grand Cru was much more intense than expected. The nose is absolutely funk-a-licious. Straight up cheese. Or smelly shoes. Really funky. Really puckering on the palate. Very sour. Definitely the most sour so far. Fairly sweet with a decent malt character underneath it all though. But still really tart.
The New Belgium La Folie was a whole new level of acidity. Supposedly brewed to be less sour than Rodenbach, our opinion was that this beer blows Rodenbach out of the water in terms of sourness and sheer acidic power. Much drier than Rodenbach, or at least so perceived, this beer strips teeth of enamel and sets your saliva glands to pumping out copious quantities. Much less complex than Rodenbach, but more aggressive. My bottle is marked 05-2030.