Emelisse

Emelisse is a young Dutch brewery that showcases the talents of Kees Bubberman, an award winning European brewer. Located in the Zeeland area in southwestern Holland the brewery was originally started as part of a restaurant that served summertime campers. With the addition of Kees in 2007 the brewery broadened its beer portfolio including several superb ales, stouts, and a barley wine. Special “White Label” releases were also made on an annual basis using different bourbon, scotch or whiskey barrels, and/or unique hoppings.

As part of the first BC shipment, Westbier is introducing several different products including an IPA, an Imperial IPA, a Black IPA, a coffee stout, an Imperial Stout, and two White Labels based on the Imperial Stout.

Emelisse Black IPA, Westbier ImportsBlack IPA

European brewers are taking Black IPAs to the next level, using local dark beer variants charged up heavily with Pacific Northwest hops. Emelisse provides a really good example. This Black IPA combines a heavily roasted malt base with bright citrusy hops.

Ratebeer 95.  ABV is 8%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 12.

Emelisse Earl Grey IPA, Westbier ImportsEarl Grey IPA

Three kilograms of tea is added during the brewing to this IPA resulting in a long dry finish while still maintaining bright fruitiness and floral notes. Originally brewed as a one-off batch in 2012; after receiving great reviews it was brewed again in 2014.

Ratebeer 94.  ABV is 6.8%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 12.

Emelisse Tipa, Westbier ImportsTIPA

A Triple IPA? If not, it’s a unique Imperial/Double IPA with lots of caramel malts, Pacific Northwest hops showing strong, pine and grapefruit; and a boatload of fruit. Big mouthfeel and ABV.

Ratebeer 96.  ABV is 10%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 12.

Emelisse Espresso Stout, Westbier ImportsEspresso Stout

This Espresso Stout uses Arabica and Robus espresso beans from Italy. There are aromas of dark fruit and chocolate; and flavors of dry dark chocolate, espresso, and very dark roasted malts. Warm, full, and somewhat spicy.

Ratebeer 98.  ABV is 9.5%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 12.

Emelisse Russian Imperial Stout, Westbier ImportsRussian Imperial Stout

A great beer by itself, the Imperial Stout delivers rich aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, heavily roasted malts, vanilla, and creamed coffee. Silky smooth with a dry finish

Ratebeer 99.  ABV is 11%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 12.

White Label – Russian Imperial Stout Makers Mark Barrel Aged

Introduced at the Borefts 2014 Beer Festival to excellent reviews the Makers Mark barrels add significant complexity to the Imperial Stout. Subtle aromas and flavors of bourbon are combined with lots of vanilla, chocolate, and coffee.

Ratebeer 99.  ABV is 11%. Available in 330 ml bottles, case of 12.

White Label – Russian Imperial Stout Sorachi Ace

A very interesting version of the Imperial Stout; the Sorachi hops add dill like notes into the mix. Great as a sipper or with shellfish.

Ratebeer 99.  ABV is 11%. Available in 330 ml bottles, case of 12.

To Øl

To Øl (Two Beers) is a young Danish brewery founded by Tobias Jensen and Tore Gynther in 2010 based on an earlier working relationship with Mikkeller. The beers are big and varied, with a focus on quality over quantity, and many small barrel aged variants. Definitely edgy and interesting, To Øl was rated as one of the top new breweries in the world by Ratebeer in 2013. Initial 2014 imports consisted of big darks: stouts, porters and black IPAs; with recent arrivals including a Saison and several barrel aged beers products.

Two Beers, GoliatGoliat

The Goliat is a big imperial coffee stout brewed with specialty coffee and oats. As expected there is an aroma of black coffee and dark roasted malts, but there are also sweet vanilla notes that hint at the flavors which follow up with sweet dark chocolate and espresso. Like several other big, high quality Danish stouts this one is a warm and a great after dinner sipper.

Ratebeer 100.  ABV is 10.1%. Available in 375ml bottles, case of 12.

Two Beers Bourbon Barrel, Westbier ImportsGoliat Bourbon Barrel

The even bigger boy! Based on the Goliat Imperial Coffee Stout – aged in bourbon barrels.  Aromas and flavors of cocoa, espresso, raisins, bourbon, oak, heavily roasted malts, and vanilla.

Ratebeer 98.  ABV is 10.1%. Available in 375ml bottles, case of 12.

Two Beers, By Udder MeansBy Udder Means

This beer, as the name suggests is a creamy milk stout with a lower ABV than the Goliat. With an emphasis on creamy, this beer is thick, smooth and full. With noticeable hops in both aroma and flavor it may be best described as a combination of an oatmeal stout and a rich black IPA, with a bit of coffee and dark fruit. Interesting and unique. Definitely tasty.

Ratebeer 98.  ABV is 7%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 24.

Two Beers Muscatel Barrel, Westbier ImportsBy Udder Means Muscatel Barrel

The Muscatel barrel adds fine vinous notes to the already complex sweet/milk stout base. Still a creamy stout though, with additional hints of coffee and dark fruit.

Ratebeer 97.  ABV is 7%. Available in 375ml bottles, case of 12.

Two Beers, Black BallBlack Ball

Black Ball is an Imperial Porter with a dose of Northwest hops. Definitely pushing the limits of a porter this beer presents dark chocolate and dark fruit to the nose and carries same into the flavor with a nice balance of big dark malts and hops. It’s rich.

Ratebeer 98.  ABV is 8%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 24.

 

Two Beers, Black Malts Body SaltsBlack Malts and Body Salts

Black Malts is To Øl’s take at a Black IPA (One of…). But like their other beers, there is a twist; specifically the infusion of coffee in addition to a healthy dose of Northwest hops. Big aromas and flavors of roasted malts, hops (grapefruit/pine), and coffee. Unique, but like the others, the common theme is big; according to Ratebeer it is the second best Black IPA in the world.

Ratebeer 100.  ABV is 9.9%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 24.

Two Beers Black Ball Ballistics, Westbier ImportsBlack Ball Ballistics

Sherry and Cognac barrel aged version of the Black Ball Imperial Porter. Barrel effect is subtle adding a bit of sweetness, wood, and coconut to the already rich chocolate malty base.

Ratebeer 98.  ABV is 8%. Available in 375ml bottles, case of 12.

Two Beers SnowballSnowball

To Øl’s Saison.

Here’s the English translation from the To Øl guys:

“Enough with heavy dark obnoxious sweet super malty x-mas and winter beers. When you eat heavy duck with fat gravy, the last thing you want is another heavy sweet malt liquor! NO! You want something that can help you digest the dinner, ease you stomach and cleanse your throat. And that is exactly what Snowball Saison will do. It is a SUPER sparkling crisp and dry Saison that has a lactic refermentation and is dry hopped over and over to give the beer a crisp and smooth tart finish (not to mention…. there is a lot of hops of course…) Have a nice winter! Ingredients: Water, Malt, Flaked Oats, Light Candy, HOPPPPPSSSSS (Amarillo, Tettnanger, Simcoe, Hallertauer) Yeast and brettanomyces.”

OK!

Ratebeer 97.  ABV is 8%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 24.

Two Beers SnowballSnowball Chardonnay Barrel

But of course! Add some brett, and vinous oak to the above. Great.

Ratebeer 95.  ABV is 8%. Available in 375ml bottles, case of 12.

 

 

Hornbeer

Hornbeer is a very small, family run brewery in Denmark which makes some spectacular porters and stouts, (amongst other great beers). I first found their products during a visit to the Delirium Café in Brussels and followed up with a visit to the brewery in Sept/13. Run by the husband and wife team of Jorgen and Gunhild Rasmussen the cottage like brewery is located an hour’s drive out of Copenhagen in the farming county of Kirke Hyllinge. The couple run both an on-site brewery and an art gallery. Gunhild’s art is prominent on the Hornbeer bottles. I have registered a number of products with the BCLDB – my first shipment contains four: The Fundamental Blackhorn, Winterporter, Caribbean Rumstout and Viking Chili Stout. All in 500 ml bottles.

Hornbeer Fundamental BlackhornThe Fundamental Blackhorn

The Fundamental Blackhorn is a big stout, brewed with several dark malts and honey, with a big hop presence (120 IBU), and aged in oak and walnut barrels. The result is medley of favors including coffee, licorice, honey, oak and walnut. Won gold at the Stockholm beer festival in 2011, Silver at the World Beercup in California in 2012.

Ratebeer 99.  ABV is 11%

Hornbeer Carribean RumstoutCaribbean Rumstout

The Rumstout is also a big stout, brewed with dark malts including a small proportion of smoked malts, coffee, spices, and rum. It is then aged in oak barrels. Flavors of dark roasted malts, chocolate, oak, and a hint of rum.

Ratebeer 99.  ABV is 10%

hornbeer Viking Chili StoutViking Chili Stout

Not to be outdone by its peers the Chili Stout is a new product from Hornbeer that is brewed with chocolate, coffee, licorice, vanilla, and chilies. Flavors come through exactly as expected; rich dark coffee, lightly charred peppers, vanilla, and milk chocolate, with a bit of heat at the end.

Ratebeer 98.  ABV is 10%

Hornbeer, WinterporterWinterporter

Brewed once a year the Winterporter is a more delicate product though still Imperial, brewed with select malts and a small amount of honey. Flavors are very interesting: dark fruit, molasses/treacle, chocolate, and spice.

Ratebeer 94.  ABV is 8.6%

Hornbeer, HophornHophorn

If there was a category for an Imperial Black IPA the Hophorn would fit right in. Best said by Jorgen: With Hophorn we will try to combine the best of several beers. Hop bitterness and flavor and fragrance from an IPA, malt body and a hint of toasted malt from a stout or porter. The color is as walnut – deep and dark. We have hopped to 135 IBU; dry hopped abundantly with four hops. There is sweetness from 5 different types of barley malts, caramel flavors from crystal malts and notes from chocolate malts. Hophorn is very tasteful, and should be enjoyed in glass goblets – it has a most beautiful beige foam crown.

It tastes as good as it sounds.

Ratebeer 98. ABV is 9.3%

Hornbeer, Black Magic WomanBlack Magic Woman

Another great big stout, the Black Magic Woman combines roasted barley malt, birch smoked malt, peat smoked malt, caramel malts with additional ale malts. There are aromas and flavors of of vanilla, dark fruit, coffee and light smoke. Very nicely balanced; oily and smooth.

Ratebeer 99. ABV is 10%

 

Bockor Brouwerij

Located in Bellegems in West Flanders near the French border, this one hundred year old brewery is one of the few remaining family run breweries still brewing Flanders sours using traditional spontaneous fermentation and barrel aged methods.

Cuvee des Jacobins RougeCuvee des Jacobins Rouge

Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge is a Flanders Red Ale, garnet red in color with a balance of malty sweetness and acidic sharpness. The characteristics of the beer are a result of spontaneous fermentation and an 18 month aging in French oak cognac barrels. The beer has a strong aroma of oak and flavors of sour cherries, vanilla, and fruit abound.

Ratebeer 99. ABV is 5.5%

VanderGhinste Oud BruinVanderGhinste Oud Bruin

This Flanders Old Bruin was the first beer brewed by Bockor in 1892 and is a regional product that can only be brewed in Southern West-Flanders. The aroma is dark fruit and wood; the taste is characterized by a balance of fruitiness from high fermentation and a soft tartness resulting from spontaneous fermentation. Ultimately tart and refreshing.

Most recently the Oud Bruin won a silver medal in the category “Oud Bruin” at the World Beer Awards in 2013.

Note: Labeled as Bellegems Bruin in the US.

Ratebeer 87. ABV is 5.5%

 

 

Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles

Located in the Ardennes of southern Belgium, La Rulles is a small family brewery which started operation in 2000, and produces less than 2500 hectolitres per year. Truly a craft brewery, products are unique and hard to categorize, the brewery uses yeasts from Oval and hops from the Pacific Northwest to create distinct flavors in both Blonde and Brune beers.

La Rulles Grand 10La Rulles Grand 10

The flagship for La Rulles, the Grand Dix is a big bodied blonde with a huge dose of malts. Aromas and flavors of citrus, thick honey, and big tasty malts, followed with a bitter finish. Great for a meal of light grilled meats, fish, or pasta.

Ratebeer 94. ABV is 10%

 

Abbaye des Rocs

Located in Montignies-sur-Rocs in Hainaut province near the French border this small, three person, family run brewery started commercial operation in 1979 and is located on the original site of the Abbaye des Rocs. Some of the buildings date from the original abbey and water is still drawn from the original source on the abbey grounds.

Run by Nathalie Eloir, one of the few women brewmasters in Belgium, the brewery focuses on artisanal products using original recipes that have been handed down through generations. A number of dark, complex, Abbey style beer are brewed along with a number of lighter blondes and witbiers.

Abbaye des Rocs Brune Abbaye des Rocs Brune

The Brune is an incredibly big, malty, Abbey style beer made with seven types of malts and three different hops. To the nose there are rich aromas of warm spice, dark roasted malts, dark pitted fruit, and raisins. Flavors are of toffee, dark cherries, dates, and spice. There is an inherent sweetness, but of interest, no sugar is added during production.

Ratebeer 100. ABV is 9%

Abbaye des Rocs Grand CruAbbaye des Rocs Grand Cru

The Grand Cru is also a big malty, Abbey style beer. Not to be outdone by the Brune it’s also very complex, with more dark fruit, cherries, and caramel in the mix plus a bit of licorice and tobacco to make thing interesting. Smooth, medium to full bodied

Ratebeer 100. ABV is 9.5%

Abbaye des Rocs Triple Imperiale Abbaye des Rocs Triple Imperiale

The Triple Imperiale is harder to categorize. Perhaps an Abbey style or a Quad. Definitely a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. The Imperiale is malty, soft, full bodied, and sweet. There is definite dark fruit and malts to the nose, and the flavors carry these notes along with a good dose of caramel and a bit of orange/citrus. A good paring as an appetizer or with a desert.

Ratebeer 99. ABV of 10% is well hidden.

Abbaye des Rocs Blanche des HonnellesAbbaye des Rocs Blanche des Honnelles

Blanche des Honnelles is a complex and fruity Belgian Witbier. Along with the typical yeasty, wheat aromas of this style there is also a good dose of malt, fruity oranges/ bananas, and spice. It’s complex and full, but not overpowering.

Ratebeer 93 (99 for style). ABV of 6%.

Abbaye des Rocs MontagnardeAbbaye des Rocs Montagnarde

Named after a town in the proximity of the brewery the Montagnarde is a fruity Dark Strong. There are aromas of ginger, oranges, and toffee; and flavors of brown sugar, raisins, roasted malts and spice. Maybe gingerbread.

Ratebeer 95. ABV of 9%.

 

 

Brasserie St Feuillien

St. Feuillien is a family owned brewery founded in 1873 and located in the town of Le Ruoeulx – southwest of Brussels in Belgium. It is currently run by the fourth generation of the Friart family on the original site of the Abbey of Premonteres (now Abbaye St-Feuillien du Roeulx).

St. Feuillien is a small to mid-sized brewery producing less than 25,000 HL annually, still using the original water source, a deep spring located under the brewery

The brewery is producer of several international award winning beers. The full product line includes a Triple, Brune, Saison, Grand Cru, a yearly Noel, plus a line of fruit and blonde beers under the Grisette label.

st-f-tripleSt Feuillien Triple

This beer is a medium to full bodied Belgian Triple. It has a nice compact head, a light amber color, and a definite fruity aroma that also carries honey, spice, and typical Belgian hops and yeast aromatics. Flavors include a mélange of malts, apricot/peach/banana, spice, and Belgian yeast. Compared to other Belgian Triples this beer is crisp and dry, less yeasty and quite refreshing.

Nine litre bottles are also available.

Ratebeer:  98. ABV of 8.5%

st-f-bruneSt Feuillien Brune

The Brune is a classic example of a Belgian Abbey Dubbel, malty and fruity, with a good dose of caramel and a touch of spice. It is slight sweet, rich and medium to full bodied. The beer was a Silver medal winner in the 2012 Brussels Beer Challenge.

Ratebeer: 96. ABV is 8.5%

sf-grand-cru-2St Feuillien Grand Cru

The Grand Cru is a strong blonde ale unique to St Feuillien. It pours with a big head, delivering big hoppy/citrusy aromas. Flavors are complex with interesting yeast, spice/pepper, and lemons notes. The beer was a Gold medal winner European Beer Star 2011, Europe’s Best Belgian Strong Pale at World Beer Awards 2012, and a Bronze medal winner at the Australian Beer Awards 2011.

Ratebeer: 93. ABV is 9.5%

St Feuillion SaisonSt Feuillien Saison

This St Feuillien product is a great beer in the hard to define Saison category. It is crisp and fruity, and yeasty and tangy. Quite refreshing and well known in Europe. It was a Silver medal winner in the the US Open Beer Championship 2011, World’s Best Saison at World Beer Awards 2009, and a Bronze medal winner Australian Beer Awards 2011.

Ratebeer: 96. ABV is 6.5%

sf-cuveeSt Feuillien Cuvee de Noel

The Noel is one of the best Belgian winter beers, and is generally available after September. The beer is creamy and warm, and has a big malt and toffee presence with lots of spice. Brewed for cellaring.

Ratebeer: 98. ABV of 9%.

St. Feuillien Belgian Coast IPASt Feuillien Belgian Coast IPA

Brewed in Belgium in collaboration with Green Flash the Belgian Coast IPA is a unique “European” IPA. With a deep copper color and full head there are mixed aromas and flavors of pine, banana, and malts. Just like mixing the Grand Cru with a west coast IPA. Full and smooth with a lingering bitter finish.

Ratebeer 89. ABV is 7.5%

St Feuillien Car d’OrSt Feuillien Car d’Or

Introduced in early 2014 the Car d’Or is a new beer that has recently received a number of European awards (Gold at the Brussels Beer Challenge and Gold in the European Beer Star competition.) The beer is based on an older recipe with the intention to be thirst quenching and easy to drink. Flavors are light sweet fruit and malts, with a subtle bitter finish. Very limited quantities at this point – to see what the buzz is all about!

ABV is 6.5%. Available in 330ml bottles, case of 24.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck is a family owned brewery founded in 1811 and located in Ingelmunster (West Vlaanderen) Belgium. The family is the owner of the Ingelmunster Castle from which the Kasteel line of beer is named.

The brewery is of medium size and produces less than 100,000 HL annually. A number of products are brewed on site:

  • Kasteel: Cuvee du Chateau, Donker, Triple, Rouge, and Blond
  • St Louis: Kreik, Framboise, Peche, Lambics and Gueuzes,
  • Brigand
  • Bacchus: Old Flemish Brown, Cherry, and Raspberry

Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Donker is a Strong Dark Belgian Ale with complex flavors including chocolate, banana, licorice, spice, and dark fruit. This beer is slight sweet and the ABV is well hidden. It ages well with the flavor becoming softer and sweeter over time.

Ratebeer: 96. ABV is 11%

kasteel-tripleKasteel Tripel

The Tripel is full bodied Belgian Triple and has the distinctive aromas and flavors of this classic style. There is a good dose of spice, pepper, and citrus in the nose and flavor.

Ratebeer: 90. ABV is 11%

kasteel-rougeKasteel Rouge

The Rouge is a very interesting cherry beer and is made by mixing Kasteel Donker with cherry liqueur. As expected there is big cherry taste and it has a good dose of carbonation.  The beer is sweet but not overly so; it is neither sweet like fruit juice or sour/sweet like a Lambic kriek. A close description may be an 8% Dr Pepper.

Ratebeer: 94. ABV is 8%

Kasteel Cuvee du ChateauCuvee du Chateau

The Cuvee du Chateau is the Grand Cru of the Kasteel line. It is brewed to reflect a decade aged Donker, and is complex like the Donker but with big malt, dark fruit, and caramel flavors of a Quad. Beautifully packaging like a fine champagne.

Ratebeer: 95. ABV is 11%

Van Honsebrouck Gueuze Fond Tradition Van Honsebrouck Gueuze Fond Tradition

A highly rated, enjoyable Gueuze, the Fond Tradition brand is a blend of young and old lambic that was introduced in 1997 and continues to be produced in a traditional manner in small quantities. Crisp with notes of sour berries, green apples, and wood.

Ratebeer 94. ABV is 5%. Available in 375 ml bottles, case of 12.

 

Van Honsebrouck Fond Tradition KriekVan Honsebrouck Fond Tradition Kriek

The Fond Tradition Kriek is created by adding cherries to a young lambic and aging six months. It pours

a beautiful red with a pink head, and delivers boatloads of cherries in both aroma and flavor. Initially somewhat sweet with lots of fruit then finishing tart. Like the Gueuze, also small production.

Ratebeer 93. ABV is 6.5%. Available in 375 ml bottles, case of 12.

 

Van Honsebrouck BacchusVan Honsebrouck Bacchus

Bacchus is an Oud Bruin with more traditional soft flavors and a good balance of sweet and sour. Great for folks new to the style, flavors are dark dry fruit with wine like notes. Light and refreshing.

Ratebeer: 76. ABV is 4.5%. Available in 375ml bottles, case of 12.

 

 

 


by Bliss Drive Review