Belgian Beer Tasting Party

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I loved my beer experience in Belgium but I also really wanted to share the beer with some of my favorites back home. So I brought 13 beers back in my suitcase. Wrapped in my nice sweaters and put in my boots, I checked my bag and said a little prayer when they said they couldn’t put a “fragile” sticker on it. When I was coming through customs in Philadelphia and picking up my bag I looked to see if it was dripping and said another prayer as I checked it again for Denver next to a guy who was pulling broken bottles out of his duffel bag. But I am here to tell you that all 13 made it safely home for our Belgian Beer Tasting Party or BBTP for short.

I have a wine fridge so I stored the beer at “cellar temperature” which is 12-15 degrees Celsius and kept them till my friends and I could all coordinate our BBtP. It was decided that a Wednesday night was perfect and the plan was set. I made soft preztels, Allegra made the beer cheese fondue and Kara brought the “meats.” When I asked Kara if she could bring some meat as an app she said ok and asked if the cured sausage we normally have is ok. I told her yes because that is what I had in mind and she was like ok good I thought you meant I should bring meat so I was thinking steaks—glad we cleared that one up. Of course I also brought the beer. I decided we would taste nine of the beers between he six attendees (one I gave to a friend and the other three I’m saving for later).

I was really excited because some, actually most, of these beers I had not tasted before either so I made a beer list with descriptions of the beers and their history. I thought it was fun to have people take turns reading about the beers out loud before we tasted them; I got a little carried away in making this an “organized” beer party.

We tried:

Westvleteren Blond 6, Westvleteren 8, Westvleteren 12, Rochefort 6, Noir de Dottignies, Seef Bier, Gueze Boon, Stille Nacht, and Lamme Goedzak. All of which were picked out by a lovely young man named Fredrick who we met at a Abbey No. 8 beer shop  in Antwerp.

I was personally most excited to try the Westy 12 because it is supposed to be one of the best beers in the world and I have to say it was fabulous. I love Belgian beers and this one was awesome. It was smooth and balanced with some caramel and cherry notes. I think though if I had to pick my favorite as a sipping beer it would be the Westy 8. The 12 is a little heavier which makes sense since it is a Quad. Wondering what that means? Take a look at the handy cheat sheet I included in the nights handout.

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We tasted and took notes and enjoyed the meats and pretzels! The pretzel recipe was awesome and easy and the dip was the prefect pair.

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I chilled out a little by the end.

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I also loved all the different bottle shapes but my favorite was the Westy bottle because it didn’t have a label but instead it had a glass circle at the neck of the bottle with Westvleteren molded into it. I didn’t think I had ever seen this before but Eric pointed out that New Belgium does this on this beer! How clever are they! So now we all know there is more of a reason for why New Belgium’s bottles are shaped the way they are.

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Pretzel recipe and beer cheese fondue

Step by step pictures for the pretzels:

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