Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is a day for celebration in the BeerGeek household, and one of our most important holidays of the year.  My wife, Desiree, turns another year more lovely today.

We're marking the occasion by opening up two bottles from the Belgian beergrimmage we took back in August - which I lazily never wrote about, so I'll rectify that now.

My favorite beer of the trip came with dinner on our first night in Brugges, at the Erasmus Hotel where we stayed. Desiree ordered a Drie Fountainen Oude Gueuze, and I ordered a 2006 Destruise Pannepot from the vintage list. Pannepot is the excellent upstart brewery Destruise's take on the Trappist quadrupel style, and though brewed secularly, has as much of a holy aura as the originals. The cellared version was complex, slightly boozy yet smooth, and alive with notes of dried fruits, licorice, and heavy malts.

We later visited Destruise Brouwers in Oostvleteren, during a bike ride that took us to the St. Sixtus Abbey at Westvleteren, Trappist home of one of the most sought after quads on the planet. Though we knew that Destruise was not open for business on Tuesdays, we knocked on the door anyway, and were greeted quite hospitably by Urbain and his staff.

We scored a great haul, including Black Albert Batch Zero and Cuvee Delphine, some of the greatest Imperial Stouts I've had the pleasure of tasting, as well a few different variations of Pannepot. Over the years, Urbain had tried a few different versions of the quad, and even changed the name from Pannepeut (Old Monk's Ale) to the current name (Fisherman's Ale) as the recipe changed, and we were lucky enough to grab a few of each.

Tonight, we're drinking the oak aged variation, Pannepot Reserva, from 2008, and Destruise's 10% abv Christmas beer, Tsjeeses. I knew as I hauled a backpack full of bottles from Oostvleteren back to Popperinge by bike that my score would be destined for a special occasion. Couldn't be anymore special than this.

Happy birthday, Des!

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