Last night, I shared the Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel I bought at the Halve Maan brewery with my cousin Briana and her fiance Steve. They have been on a weekend trek through every brewery in Portland, but they stopped by to share some Belgian beer with me. And Steve filled my fridge with some delicious sounding home brews.
I’m convinced, I like quads. The Straffe Hendrik is so fruity and dark, but not heavy. There is no bitterness but a good alcohol warmth. Something reminds me of port, but with a honey-like sweetness or dark brown sugar. At this rate it will only take me a few months to empty my fridge.
In Bruges we visited the Brewery De Halve Maan, makers of Straffe Hendrik and Bruges Zot. It was my first full brewery tour. The smell of hops was nearly overwhelming. The brewery was started in 1856 and renovated and revived as a modern brewery. Today you can tour the old brewery and parts of the new one. The brewing is still done in the central brewery, but the bottling and production side are located in another part of the city. While we were there, they were brewing a batch of Straffe Hendrik quadrupel. The tour emphasized the evolution of the brewery from the traditional methods to modern, scientific process. At the end we had glasses of Bruges Zot. It was my second serving of the pale beer, but the brewery version was less filtered. It tasted like Duvel but less peppery and more bitter.
On my first night in Germany I shared a few Belgian beers with Bobby. They are super prevalent over here in western Germany.
We started out with Verboden Vrucht, which translates to the forbidden fruit, a strong dark ale. It was super tasty. As I poured it into my fancy chalice, I caught a big whiff of that classic Belgian yeast. It tasted like figs and cloves. Surprisingly, the forbidden fruit is actually brewed by Hoegaarden even though they never mention it on their website. And unsurprisingly Hoegaarden is owned by Anheuser Busch.
We followed up with some tripels. First, Straffe Hendrik from De Halve Maan in Bruges. I don’t really understand tripels. I’m always expecting more fruit flavor and getting nothing but yeast. This one was no exception, super bubbly and full with a nebulous dry flavor.
The second tripel from Affligem was very similar, but the full body was backed with a really pleasant bitter bite. It was even drier and spicier.