Hoegaarden Rosée (Belgium)

TL:DR – “drinks like a berry cooler, noticeable artificial sweetener after effects”

Hoegaarden Rosée (raspberry-flavoured white beer beverage) – Hoegaarden Brewery, 3.0% ABV, 250 ml., (Hoegaarden, Belgium)

Ingredients: Ale, concentrated fruit juice (raspberry, apple, strawberry, elderberry), Invert sugar, citric acid, natural raspberry flavour, acesulfame-potassium.

  • Style: (flavoured beer) Cooler
  • Taste: generic red berry fruity easy-drinking palate rough
  • Where I got it : Firefly / Vancouver
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 10% off) – 4 pack x 250 ml., February 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: no
  • What made an impression: easy drinking, but damn palate rough

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). 4-pack aluminum cans. Pours clear rosé pink with a light shade of brown, fine ringed retention, a few bubbles surfacing.

Nose: berry nuanced light malt, slight cloying foreshadowing. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, fruity-sweet

Mid-palate: light burpy, generic soda-esqe raspberry-strawberry, (lvl-5-sweetness)

Finish: artificial sweetener roughness, slight residual jammy fruity

Summary: Basic and drinkable, more of a party drink to wash down potluck food. You’ll get a buzz while chowing down that food to get rid of that artificial sweetener nastiness.

Liefmans Goudenband – Liefmans (Oudenaarde, Belgium)

TL:DR – “Exceptional and interesting plum-fruity-sour aged brown ale”

Liefmans Goudenband (Sour Brown Ale) – Liefmans, 8% ABV, 750 ml., (Oudenaarde, Belgium)

on the front-right label:

“Liefmans Goudenband is one of the world’s most complex beers. An aged Strong Belgian Brown Ale, it is brewery-cellared for many months until it matures. Only then is it blended and bottled. Historically known as ‘Provision Beer’, Goudenband is superb for further home cellaring, allowing the taste, aroma and body of the beer to continue to evolve. A delectable treat for the beer connoisseur.”

  • Style: Sour Red/Brown Ale
  • Taste: sour plum fruity mild tart slight woody balanced
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke / Edmonton
  • How much: $18 CAD (after 10% off) – 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: yes
  • What made an impression: appealing bright fruity flavour

Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Paper wrapped bottled, neat. Corked with a twisty steel cap. Pours dark cola brown with a small dissipating head, chunk bits of sediment in the last pour, a few bubbles here and there, not much.

Nose: light yeasty, slight wet funk, prune-plum, (lvl-6)-pungency.

Attack: hardly any CO2, mildly thicker, light sour-tart entry

Mid-palate: dissipating (lvl-7-sweetness), sour plum, cherry, controlled medium sourness,

Finish: fruity bright counterbalance, light woodiness, residual acidity

Summary: Even without much CO2 mouthfeel, there is a fine sense of balance and body in the sour dark fruity malt profile. The transitions are seamless it goes down super easy.

Witches Brew – Brouwerij Van Steenberge (Belgium)

Witches Brew (Belgian Tripel) – Brouwerij Van Steenberge, 9.3% ABV – 750 ml., (Ertvelde, Belgium)

(from the brewers of the iconic Gulden Draak and Piraat)

on the back label:

Enjoy this bottle conditioned blond triple living ale. Its pleasant hoppyness is masterly balanced with a soft round and joyous sweetness, enveloped in a radiating glow.

It will put a spell on you!”


Visual: (cellared for 6 years). Twisty steel cap with composite cork. Pours translucent dirty copper orange with a large 1 inch frothy head, sticky lacing, a fine layer of micro retention, clusters of micro steady streams. Suspended bits of sediment along with some black bits, likely from the cork.

Nose: honey-chamomile sweet malt, hints of apple (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp-tingly-full

Mid-palate: alcoholic heavy, sticky (lvl-7-sweetness), honey barley malt, chamomile, background subtle tangy

Finish: apple-honey exhale, residual weighty alcohol

Summary: A decent, heavy-hitting tripel, but after one glass the alcohol becomes too overbearing and the sugars overpowering the palate. Can’t say I loved it, but I can sense the quality of craftsmanship.

Kapittel Watou Tripel Abt – Brouwerij Van Eecke (Belgium)

Kapittel Watou Tripel Abt – Brouwerij Van Eecke, 10% ABV, 75cl., (Poperinge-Watou, Belgium)

  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • Taste: Weighty honey-chamomile barley malt astringent nutty date/cocoa
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.70 CAD (after 10% off), December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah.

Visual: Pours dull copper brown-orange with a small 1cm foamy head, super clusters upon clusters of active streams, suspended sediment – glorious.

Nose: yeasty funked out lagered barley malt, with honey notes (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp-thicker, micro-tingly

Mid-palate: smooth-rounded, alcoholic weighty, almost salty, (lvl-6)-sweetness, honey-chamomile barley malts, off-putting date note,

Finish: clove-banana exhale, nutty cocoa malt, soft bittersweet residual malts

Summary: Visually – great, 10% ABV – wow. The mouthfeel and texture are delightful but I just didn’t appreciate the almost salty note in the mid as well as the dark nutty date flav in the mid to finish; Somehow the honey/floral didn’t match up correctly for my palate.

Strawberry Lambicus – Timmermans (Belgium)

Strawberry Lambicus – Brouwerij Timmermans, 4% ABV, 33 cl., (Itterbeek, Belgium)

“The World’s Oldest Lambic Brewery” (founded in 1781)

Ingredients: water, fruit juice (strawberries 11.5%), barley malt, sugar wheat, flavourings hops, antioxidant: E300.

  • Style: (strawberry) Fruit – Lambic
  • Taste: Aromatic authentic tangy-sweet strawberry light sour background barley rough wheat malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.90 CAD (after 10% off) – 33cl., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: taste not worth my $

Visual: Aluminum foil covered. Pours opaque cloudy scarlet red with a nice 2cmm frothy head, 1mm layer of retention, clusters of very active micro streams.

Nose: huge authentic fruity sweet strawberry puree, magnificent. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: tangy-tart, subdued sour, fruity sweet

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), real strawberry-tangy puree, background barley malt

Finish: wheat malt rough palate dry, strawberry exhale

Summary: The barley tastes very generic and is mainly covered up by the strong fruity strawberry presence. Decent strawberry flavour, but it comes across as very candy-esque, straightforward, and uninteresting after a few sips. Wicked aroma though.

Poperings Hommelbier – Brouwerij Van Eecke (Belgium)

Poperings Hommelbier – Browerij Van Eecke, 7.5% ABV, 75cl., (Poperinge-Watou, Belgium)

info from ratebeer.com:

“Hommel is the local abbreviation of humulus, from the botanical name for the hop plant. Confusingly, it also means bumble bee in Flemish. Poperings Hommelbier is a hoppy, golden-bronze, ale. It is made from a blend of winter, summer and aromatic pale malts.”

  • Style: Belgian Ale
  • Taste: Unbelievable undetectable alcohol sweet liquid lager barley malt honey light hops
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 33cl., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes definitely

Visual: Pours almost clear pale deep orange with suspended bits of yeast, super clustered activity like a snow globe, 0.5cm lasting frothy head.

Nose: light sweet floral liquid barley malt, light apple notes. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: super fine-smooth CO2, crisp bite

Mid-palate: metallic-lager liquid barley malt, (lvl-4-sweetness), light short tangy

Finish: grainy barley malt exhale, honey, subtle light bitter hops

Summary: Unbelievable that this is 7.5% – too smooth to be true. Not a ton of pronounced flavour but a superbly executed balance of ultra-creamy mouthfeel, barley-grain, plus a little extra citrus-floral notes from the hops that compliment the whole experience. 3/4 through and still amazed at how smooth it is.

Vichtenaar – Brasserie Verhaeghe (Vichte, Belgium)

Vichtenaar – Brasserie Verhaeghe, 5.1% ABV, 33cl., (Vichte, Belgium)

info from ratebeer.com:

“‘Vichtenaar’ is a beer, brewed with roasted malts, spicey hops, fruity yeast and soft water, pumped up from a 172 m deep well, guaranteeing constant quality and pureness of the liquor. After primary and secondary lagering, “Vichtenaar” gets a ternary fermentation in oak vessels during 8 months. These oak pipes are big tuns with a capacity varying between 500 and 2500 hectolitres. “Vichtenaar” is a traditional and specific Western Flemish beer, from the northwest of Belgium. Its taste can be described as mild-sourish and suitably complex, thanks to the long lagering on oak. This tart flavour makes it eminently suitable for the hot summer months. “Vichtenaar” is one of the last Flemish “Oud bruins” that are really lagered in the oak tuns, and are as such appreciated by the connoisseur, looking for authenticity. As early as 1958 “Vichtenaar” was crowned as the top in an international concours in Gent.”

  • Style: Sour Red/Brown / Flemish Ale
  • Taste: Complex medium sour-tangy woody oak plum-prune red wine vinegar
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $4.50 (after 12.5% off) – 33cl., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: good if you like sours

Visual: Pours dark cherry wood reddish-brown with small dissipating head, thick ringed retention, clusters of steady streams.

Nose: light pukey, oaked red wine sour (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: medium puckery-tart, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: wet woody oak, plum-prune, (lvl-4-sweetness), big sour-tangy hit, subtle root beer spices, red wine vinegar

Finish: residual tangy acidity, lingering woody sour barley malt

Summary: A pretty complex sour ale with a woody element that is well worked into the mids. Good overall balance and interesting from start to finish.


Straffe Hendrik Wild 2016 – Brouwerij Van Halve Maan (Belgium)

Straffe Hendrik Wild 2016 – Brouwerij Van Halve Maan, 9% ABV, 33cl., (Brugge, Belgium)

on the front-left label:

“Traditional top-fermentation beer. Brewed by the unique family brewery De Halve Maan, which has been located in the historical heart of Bruges since 1856. Straffe Hendrik Wild is a version of the original Tripel beer, in which the beer is re-fermented with ‘wild’ Brettanomyces yeasts that give the beer a longer shelf life with a unique evolution in taste over the years.”


  • Style: Abbey Tripel (9%)
  • Taste: Creamy heavy tangy chamomile pear barley malt elderflower
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $4.70 CAD (after 20% off), October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes definitely

Visual: 2016 edition. Pours clear light copper brown with a massive long-lasting ultra foamy head, sticky lacing, super clustered active stream. Visually impeccable.

Nose: chamomile-floral, bright yeasty, elderflower (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: very crisp, tingly

Mid-palate: lengthy (lvl-7-sweetness), tangy-prickly chamomile, heavy-sweet barley malt, pear

Finish: elderflower exhale, residual off-dry alcohol

Summary: I’d be hard pressed to say I found any amount of Bretty funk in this – instead it’s rather clean, well-hidden alcohol, chamomile-pear malt character goes down smooth just a bit of heaviness in the mids. Exceptional quality.

Kapittel Watou Prior – Brouwerij Van Eecke (Belgium)

Kapittel Watou Prior – Brouwerij Van Eecke, 9% ABV, 75cl., (Poperinge-Watou, Belgium)

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale (9%)
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4.60 CAD (after 10% off), December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes definitely

Visual: Pours dirty reddish brown with a 1cm head, 2mm super foamy retention, clusters upon clusters of fast active micro streams. Delectable.

Nose: brown sugar+candi sugar, date barley malt, prune. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: thick-crisp, creamy

Mid-palate: alcoholic heavy, (lvl-8-sweetness), dates, molasses-bready barley malt

Finish: nutmeg exhale, off dry woody hops, residual toasted barley malt

Summary: The barley malt-date flavour is decently interesting with some spice notes to that travel alongside it. The alcoholic heaviness detracts from the experience, but in the end you get a creeper buzz. The quality and richness are there although I’d rather try something else next session.

Ecaussinnes Archiduc de Nivelles – Brasserie Scåssenes (Ecaussinnes, Belgium)

Ecaussinnes Archiduc de Nivelles – Brasserie Scåssenes (formerly Brasserie d’Ecaussinnes), 6.2% ABV, 75cl., (Ecaussinnes, Belgium)

according to ratebeer.com, “beer flavoured with limes” (makrut limes, I suspect)

  • Style: (lime) Spice/herb/vegetable Beer
  • Taste: Barley malt liquor sweet dominant gag reflex unclean
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor stores??
  • How much: ~$9 CAD, sometime in 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no don’t do it

Visual: Composite cork with a twisty steel cap top, quality hefty bottle. Pours clear light copper brown with smallish head, thick fine-bubbled retention, lots of clustered streams.

Nose: lemon tea, thick dense syrupy liquid lager barley malt. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: micro-fizzy-tingly CO2 crisp

Mid-palate: malt liquor, long (lvl-6-sweetness), tangy barley malt, hints of lemon tea

Finish: slight bitter makrut lime peel, persistent malted barley, gag reflex

Summary: I’m not digging this Belgian – way to malt liquor-ish heavy and an unclean dull citrus component. Not exactly refreshing either. Not my type of beer at all. Decent quality (texture, packaging, depth) but the flavour isn’t right for me.