After an 8:30 departure last night and some emergency work below the city for this morning and early afternoon, I'm back to the scene of the crimes. I walk up in line outside at 3:30 behind Volker Stewart of The Brewer's Art. We have a half-hour wait before they let more folks in despite a few obvious departures; meanwhile the line expands from 4 to perhaps 50. It takes me 15 minutes to cop a seat--luckily, my "usual" upstairs seat at the window end of the bar. The wi-fi is down, so I'm bogartting The Whistling Oyster's, which is coming in at dial-up speeds.......
De Glazen Toren Canaster winter Scotch ale 9.5% full serving: nice deep amber/mahagony, a delicious blend of sweet, spice, malt, and a white-wine/Belgian yeast finish. Not classically "Scotch" per se, but would appeal to those who prefer the malty Scottish styles.
Oud Beersel Bersalis Tripel 330ml bottle 9.5% split with Mr. Stewart: blond and bright, but oddly packing an almost syrupy, heavy mouthfeel. LOTS of body to this, but still not that sweet. Sweet as you should expect for a tripel, but with a dry and yeasty finish.
Deca Westoek 330ml 6%, ordered strictly because I have no idea what it is, which makes it now unique in the upstairs bottle list: hazy maerzen/amber color, rich head and retention. Bottle notched Best before 11-2014. Interesting--think a peppery, semi-sweet saison. easy-drinking but with lots of flavor. A decided change-up at this stage of the weekend, like hitting a weizen amidst a week of IPAs.
Struise Black Albert 330ml 13%(!) "Royal Stout": Wow. WOW. A rich mix of stout, fruit, and sherry/port character; 100 IBUs says the label. Comparable to Brewdog Tokyo or DFH WWS, notes of figs, raisins, black cherries--fruitiness without being cloying. A little smoke in the finish. Someone order up the ski chalet and fireplace. Bottom of the bottle is almost "chunky" with yeast. A luxury, but what a treat.
De Dochter Embrasse Whisky Barrel 9%: a nice nose, but this is subdued, too subdued for many hardcore beer-geek types, but a nicer beer than the thin body and more subtle barrel flavors indicate. A rich Scotch whisky character floating at the bottom of a strong stout. Sort of easy-drinking at first, but gets rougher as the glass and bottle empty. Notes of burnt coffee and peat in finish at end of glass. Card with bottle suggests "Try. . . hot, maybe with a dash of whipped cream." The hot, maybe not, but the whipped cream, I'd definitely try--REAL whipped cream, not the spray stuff.
Chuck Cook comes up and shares out Embrasse, and lets us sip his hoppy beer. "I went up and asked them to give me a hoppy beer. Sometimes you just need that palate cleanser after all those sweet and sour beers." He has a point. He REALLY has a point.