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Beer #13 – January 13, 2010: La Chouffe

January 13, 2010

Beer: La Chouffe

Brewery: Brasserie d’Achouffe, Achouffe, Belgium

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale / Spiced Ale

Serving Type: Bottle

Price: Unknown – part of a mixed gift pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: White wine glass (yes, a wine glass does just fine for beer!)

Strength: 8.0% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: The 8% alcohol is well masked due to a complexity of delicate light flavors and a creamy full carbonation.  Almost too drinkable.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: This is a hazy, golden-orange ale with a fizzy white head.  Listen to the glass… you can hear the crackle and pop of the carbonation.

Aroma: Honey, slight cider notes, and a little funky yeast

Mouthfeel: Moderately high carbonation leads to a full and creamy, but simultaneously light mouthfeel.

Taste: The taste starts with a clover honey sweetness that melds into sweet light fruit of orange and peach.  The sweetness is balanced by tangy flavors of herbs, coriander, clove, maybe even a little oregano, and the mild earthy tannins of green tea.  The herbal honey flavors carry on into the finish.  This combination of interest and complexity, contrasted by lightness and drinkability is a rare and enjoyable find.  I’d call this the prosecco of beers.

Pairing: Swedish meatballs: the carbonation can contrast and lighten a somewhat heavy sauce, while the fruit notes can meld nicely with the sweetness of the gravy (or the tart & sweet lingonberries on the side).  And while I have yet to try it, I’d bet the recipe from d’Achouffe for Chouffard Meatballs would be a great pairing as well.

Trivia: “Chouffe” means gnome in the Walloon dialect, and gnomes are all over the place: on the bottle, on the website, and around the tavern & brewery.  And if you’re really into gnomes, and know a little French, you will enjoy the “Happy Chouffe Song” Viva la Chouffe!

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