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Tag Archives: beer styles

No rules, just right

Straffe Hendrik Brugs Quadrupel Ale
De Halve Maan Brewery-Bruges, Belgium
Quadrupel Ale
11% ABV

In conceiving of beer styles, it is easy to paint yourself into a corner. The trouble, though it is difficult to call it trouble when you’re drinking such good beer, with Quadrupel ales is that it is a very loose style. Also, where the Germans traditionally follow very strict brewing rules, the Belgians played fast and loose with their beer; with such an experimental nature, fantastic and complex beers developed.

This particular quad pours dark, with minimal head. The aromas are heavy with currants and cherries and a dark sugar sweetness. The initial flavor of the beer has a crispness and is slightly hoppy. As the beer sits, the richer flavors open and you begin to taste those sweet, fruity notes.

This is a great sipping beer. In discussing food pairings we can up with a variety of possibilities: tapas, buttered noodles, vegetarian entrees, and the simple but classic fig.

The complexity of this beer, the nuanced and layered notes, make it a challenge to adequately describe. Suffice it to say, it is a great beer to drink on a patio while enjoying a spring evening-which coincedentally is exactly what we did.


Scottish, Scotch

February 17, 2012

Bristol Laughing Lab

Bristol Brewing Company-Colorado Springs, CO

Scottish Ale

5.3% ABV

When you start drinking beer, really drinking beer, you find that styles are only the most basic overview of the characteristics of a beer. Scottish Ale can range from medium bodied to high alcohol, heavy, rich, strong beer. The latter, more characteristically Scotch Ale (versus Scottish Ale-such as the Laughing Lab being consumed here) is the malty beer Americans tend to think of interchangeably with Scottish Ale. Don’t be fooled by your misconceptions!

Once we wrapped our minds around this very important distinction, we started to appreciate the subtle toasty malted flavors. The beer poured dark, with mahogany tones, but not black or thick. The flavored was toasted, but not overly so. The browning of the malts came through as a natural flavor, more sun roasted than oven-roasted. It’s very drinkable but it is a light Scottish Ale.