Tuesday, September 09, 2008


The PuckerFest! Sour Beer Tasting was held tonight at 99 Bottles in Federal Way. For five dollars, participants received two ounce samples of six sour beers. All of the beers were new to me, with the exception of Monk's Cafe, which I have had before and enjoyed. All were quite good.

Petrus Oud Bruin, a Flanders Oud Bruin by Brouwerij Bavik
Clear, red-brown body and an off-white head. Aromas of beef broth, vinegar, wood, and leather. The flavor was similar.

Monk's Cafe, a Flanders Oud Bruin/Red by Brouwerij Van Steenberge
Clear, orange-red body and an off-white head. This tastes what dyeing Easter eggs smells like—namely, apple vinegar. There is also a light cracker taste hiding behind the acetic acid. This was drier than I expected, which added to its sourness.

Duchesse de Bourgogne, a Flanders Red Ale by Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Clear, orange-red body and an off-white head. Probably the most complex flavors of the evening. It seems to shift and change with each drink. Some of the various flavors included a sourness that mellowed rather quickly, meatiness, a sweet and sour Chinese dish, coleslaw, oak, a leather jacket. Some good stuff.

Oud Beersel Gueze, a Gueze by Brouwerij Oud Beersel
Hazy, yellow body and a white head. The aroma was of dough and lemon juice. The flavor was extremely tart and very dry, with an especially dry finish. It felt as though all moisture was sucked out of my mouth. With the exception of being so dry, it was as though I had spilled a bottle of lemon juice, added the same amount of water to it, soaked up the puddle with a paper towel and then sucked on the paper towel. The combination of lemon juice and wet paper flavors were odd, yet I was strangely attracted to it. Probably my least favorite of the tasting, but I would try it again.

Oro de Calabaza, a Strong Golden Ale by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
Sparkling, yellow body and a fizzy white head.
My favorite of the evening. A spiciness that I couldn't quite place (Coriander? Nutmeg? Cinnamon? Another spice? A combination of two or more?) was present in the nose and on the tongue. The spice led into wood varnish, green apple, yeast, and ended on a spicy, dry finish. The spiciness lingers. This was the driest of the six beers, and also my favorite. It reminded me of a "fruitier" version of Duvel, which I snubbed almost two years ago. Perhaps it is time for a reassessment, as well as an acknowledgment of a maturation and evolution of my ever expanding beer palate.

Fantome Saison, a Saison by Brasserie Fantome
Cloudy, yellow body with small particulates and a white head.
The aroma is an intense green apple scent, almost like a green apple Jolly Rancher, with a hint of a bundle of freshly pruned and gathered green twigs that hovers just beneath. The flavor moves from musty book to light green apple to light spiciness.

Credit has to be given to the crew of 99 Bottles for their wonderful selection of beers—in general, and, specifically, for the tasting. They also receive many kudos from Troy's Work Table for their wealth of knowledge of the beers they served. Their passion for the finest of beverages is obvious!

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