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Earthly Delights

Tilburg’s Dutch Brown Ale
Bierbrouwerji De Koningshoeven B.V.-Netherlands
Belgian Dark Ale
5% ABV

We expect a brown ale to hit all the important flavor notes: nutty, malty, and slightly sweet. Tilburg’s Dutch delivers in a big way. This is an easy beer to drink when there’s still a chill in the air but the sun is shining and you can smell spring trying to break through winter.

The perfect brown glass has an aroma of molasses. The taste of sweetness in this beer though is a clean sweetness, not syrupy or lingering. There is a slight hint of nuttiness. Letting the beer sit for a few minutes brings out the fig-like dried fruit notes.

You will undoubtedly notice the label depicting a bird-headed prince of hell eating a man. Yes, you read that right. It’s taken from the painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delight” by Hironymus Borsch. The triptych, painted in 1504, can be read as a moral warning on the dangers of “the flesh”. Seriously, just go look at the picture. We really can’t explain it. You have to see it. As you are trying to wrap your head around the picture, drink this beer.


Passion for the Pale

Union Jack
Firestone Walker Brewing Company – Paso Robles
7.5% ABV

Beer drinkers love any excuse for celebration. Thus, this month has been dubbed IPApril. Appropriately so, as the weather warms dark, rich stouts no longer satisfy the same way they did in the cold of winter. The floral hoppiness of IPAs give a nod to the new growth of spring. The grey drizzle that has thrown a blanket over Denver has brought with it the vivid spring green of new growth.

The staff at Euclid Hall is, by this point, well aware of our beer list challenge. A brief conversation about the remaining beers prompted Max and Jai to enthusiastically suggest Firestone Walker’s Union Jack. It’s a beautiful light amber beer with a golden hue. A slight head clings to the edges of the glass. The scent is subtle but fresh, citrusy, and floral from the four pounds of hops in each barrel of this beer.

Union Jack is a clean, crisp IPA. The hoppy notes are well balanced; while obvious, they don’t take over the beer. The first sip gives an unexpected sweetness, not cloying but fresh and almost nectar-like. The hops hit soon after with the complexity and depth that result from using a total of six different varieties of hops. The IPA lingers gloriously on the palate, both sweet and hoppy. Perfect for spring.

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.