My current review is about three Belgian beers of various types. There will be opinions on strong honey ale Barbãr, on recently appeared in Moscow stores witbier Asterie and on another kriek, this time by Timmermans brewery.
All previous Belgian beer reviews are available by following this link.
0.33L bottle, 8% ABV.
Ingredients: water, barley malt, wheat, hops, honey (2.5%), sugar, bitter oranges, coriander, yeasts.
Type: strong Belgian ale (sometimes also labeled as special or strong honey ale).
Brewed at Lefèbvre brewery located at Quenast, a municipality at the south of Belgium. This family business are known since 1876 and now it produces a lot of various beers including well-known witbier Blanche de Bruxelles.
Served at 5-8°С in a special frosted glass mug.
Appearance: golden, with rich white froth.
Nose: strong malt with floral and fruit notes.
Body: rounded, pleasantly thick, medium carbonated.
Taste: hops appeared at the start, and here this piquant bitterness was very unusual and pleasant. Malt flavour comes on the swallow with distinct sweetish breadiness. Later hops bitter note eventually disappears while hints of malt and yeasts combine with faint floral and fruit notes and bittersweet taste of honey.
Exceptional taste harmony makes Barbãr wonderful beer with distinct honey-and-fruit flavour and without any traces of alcohol.
0.33L and 0.75L bottles, 4.9% ABV.
Ingredients: water, barley malt, wheat malt, hops, yeasts.
Type: Belgian witbier (wheat beer).
Brewed at Ėcaussinnes brewery which was named after Walloon municipality where it’s actually situated. This brewery’s products are yet unknown in Russia so Asterie is the first Brasserie d’Ėcaussinnes beer recently presented in Moscow.
Served at 4-6°С in a tumbler.
Appearance: cloudy yellow with rich white foam.
Nose: malt, yeast, bread, parsley, orange peel.
Body: medium, much thicker and less carbonated than common witbier.
Taste seems like quite harsh because of unexpected strong dryness on the palate. Typical for witbier wheat sourness is quite sharp too. On other hand, fine aftertaste of citrus, coriander, cumin and hops was very pleasant.
In 0.33L bottles Asterie beer appears as too strong and powerful for light wheat beer. But being tasted from 0.75L bottle, it dramatically looses all that harshness and dryness and becomes very good and well-balanced witbier with magnificent aroma. That’s not the first time when I deal with the 0.75L bottles phenomenon. All Belgian beers I’ve managed to get in both bottling types were much better in 0.75L bottles. So buy Asterie in big bottles and enjoy new Belgian wheat beer which is as good as Hoegaarden or Blanche de Bruxelles.
0.33L bottle, 4% ABV.
Ingredients: water, fruit juice (13.5% cherry, 1.5% elderberry), barley malt, wheat, hops, sugar, flavourings, sweetener, antioxidant E300.
Type: Belgian fruit lambic.
Brewed at Timmermans brewery, a part of Antony Martin group which owns a lot of famous beer brands in Belgium and UK.
Served at 6-8°С in a tulip glass.
Appearance: cloudy reddish brown with pink weak foam.
Nose: sour cherry and malt on the background.
Body: light, rounded, medium carbonated.
Taste starts with sour and sweet cherries, and there was enough acidity to mask artificial sweet note of flavourings and other additives. Faint bitterness comes on the palate as malt, hops and bitter almond hints begin to dominate in the aroma. However the main notes in the taste were cherry and wheat malt. Aftertaste wins over with clear cherry juice flavour – very pleasant and natural.
Timmermans Kriek Lambic remains the best kriek I’ve managed to taste for the present time. This light refreshing drink brings adequate quality and well-balanced taste.