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.
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.
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.
I chilled out a little by the end.
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.
Step by step pictures for the pretzels: