Every month, Belgibeer features a different craft brewery, sending freshly brewed beers together with glassware, beers mats, posters and anything available on site.
The box arrived very well packed, with each individual bottle bubblewrapped and in cardboard so there is no chance for breakage.
January’s featured brewery is Omer Vander Ghinste. I wish the box came with some information about the brewery and the individual beers included in the box. This was a big omission.
TIP: This box ships to Europe. If you’re looking for a US beer club, try checking out all the beer subscriptions!
All the box contents!
I was happy to see that the box came with an appropriate drinking glass. I love the logo on the glass! It’s the label for the Roodbruin, which shows two convivial cartoon gentleman in flat-top hats and bow ties cheering.
Also extremely handy was a Tasting Belgian Beers guide included in the box. Although I love drinking beer, I am certainly not an expert, so I found this guide immensely helpful.
The box also came with 3 coasters and a functional Belgibeer magnet-cum-bottle opener.
Now on to the beer…
Bockor Pils (5.2%) is a lovely light amber color with excellent clarity. It has a hoppy aroma and taste, the bitterness intensifying with the finish. It met my expectations for a pils, in that I didn’t really like it at all, but I suspect that is a matter of personal taste.
Tripel Le Fort is a strong blond ale (8.8%). It’s the color of pale honey. The Omer Vander Ghinste website describes the beer as having ‘vanilla-clove aromas as well as a fruity taste of bananas and red apples. Pleasant hints of citrus, lime and roses’. I can’t say that I discerned all these notes, but it was full of flavor and complex, with a sweet finish.
Kriek des Jacobins is a lambic base (a flat, sour wheat beer fermented with airborne yeast and aged in wooden barrels) mixed with cherries macerated in lambic. This particular brew is matured for 12 months in oaken barrels and enriched with 20% cherries. I discovered my love of geuze, a blend of young and old lambic re-fermented in the bottle, on a visit to Cantillion brewery several years ago and was hoping there would be something similar in my first Belgibeer box. I was so excited to see this beer arrive, and it met my expectations. The beer is a vibrant ruby color. It starts sweet, though not overly fruity, and finishes on a sour, acid note. I love sharp flavors so this beer works perfectly for me. It’s like summer in a glass!
The label describes Roodbruin Flanders Sour Ale as ‘a beer of mixed fermentation, matured in oaken barrels for 18 months. Brewed since 1892.’ The ale is a rich bronze color and fairly clear, with an appealing oaky aroma. I loved the taste of this beer, just sour enough with a smooth mouthfeel and sweeter, earthy finish. Totally delicious.
Finally, the box also contained one bottle of Chimay Blue Trappist Beer (9%). The Tasting Guide handily explained a bit about Trappist breweries, of which there are only eleven in the world, six located in Belgium. Trappist beers must be brewed under the supervision of Trappist monks within or in close proximity to the monastery. The ingredients used are of high quality because the monastery does not make a profit from the brewery, and gives any proceeds remaining after the covering of expenses to charity. The beers are easily identifiable by the hexagonal logo which indicates an Authentic Trappist Product.
The Chimay Blue is a strong dark brown beer with light foam. It has a strong aroma of alcohol with hints of malt and caramel. The finish is somewhat bitter but with some malty sweetness. I enjoyed this very much, it is smooth and easy to drink despite the high alcohol content.