#156 – The 3 Year Anniversary Edition w/ Oude Geuze Boon, Schneider Weisse Aventinus, & Ballast Point

April 16, 2013

Today marks 156 News Journal articles for The Beer Garden. 3 years of devoted, meritorious service. Call me a sentimental fool, but I’m rather proud of the body of work writing this column has created.

You know, it’s funny… I’m never one for milestones, but this is different. Birthday? Big whoop; that would’ve happened anyhow just as long as I eat right and get my exercise. New Year’s Eve? Not to the Chinese, it ain’t. What’s the big deal about selecting one day to be special in our transit around the sun? If you think about it, every day can be a New Year’s Day.

Now, spin out 450 words or so once a week while, hopefully, remaining informative and entertaining in the process? That’s something I’ll acknowledge out of the effort.

Think I’m going to live it up for this review. Why not? Anniversaries only come around once a year, right? Time to get fancy for the occasion.

My favorite beer in the whole world is out right now, so I’ll have to share a couple of other indulgent pleasures with you. Let’s get the party going with some Oude Geuze Boon. Sometimes spelled “gueuze,” this is true traditional Lambic ale; wildly, spontaneously fermented. Lambic takes a very long time to make right – up to 3 years to come up with the different fermented blends and then several more months bottle-conditioning – which is why real geuze costs so much. The result is a Champagne-like body with musty scents of citrus, barnyard and green apple skin. On the palate it’s very dry with tart and sour flavors of lemon and white wine vinegar with some grass and apricot. Sounds odd to the layman, but it’s absolutely incredible.

Going back to my German roots, I’ve decided upon the Schneider Weisse Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock. I first tried an eisbock when I was in the Taunus region outside of Frankfurt years ago. This one is world-class. Eisbock is stronger than usual beer, achieved by freezing the water out of dopplebock as it’s fermenting leaving behind concentrated flavors and alcohol. Aventinus’ is wheat-based, basically creating a burly hefeweizen. All the lemon, clove, banana and bubblegum is where it should be but delivered in a rich, almost syrupy vehicle instead of the traditional fluffy, creamy textures weizen is known for. Additional hits of honey and rum show up around the finish. Beware of the warming 12% alcohol.

We’ll close out this shindig with something dark and intensely flavorful; Ballast Point Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Imperial Porter. To be succinct: roasty, toasty, espresso, vanilla, chocolatey, smoky, silky, rich. Like someone spiked a mochaccino with Haagen-dazs. Simply incredible.

Thank you, dear readers, for letting me bring you beer for three years. Here’s to many more. Cheers!