Seef Bier – Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie N.V. (Belgian Pale Ale, 6.5% abv):
Before pouring this beer all I knew about it was that it was a traditional Belgian ale that has been brought back after years without being brewed that it had won a gold medal at the 2012 World Beer Cup. I therefore went into this drinking experience blind with the hope of tasting a flavor profile that I’d never experienced before in other Belgian ales.
Seef Bier poured pale straw in color with a clear body (some chill haze at first) and a big white head from pouring down the center of my glass. Due to the beer being quite effervescent the head dissipated quickly, but a layer of foam did stick around till the end and leave lacing on my glass.
Upon taking my first whiff my first reactions was “this smells like a pretty standard Belgian pale ale. In other words, Sief Bier’s aroma was a mix of banana, a bit of spice, malt sweetness, and a touch of perfumey phenols. These characteristics continued into the taste and were joined by some bright lemon and peach upfront. This complexity ended at mid palate and the overall flavor profile fell a touch flat and one note in the finish.
Overall for me Seef Bier was just a standard drinkable BPA. However, it’s medium body and lingering flavors made for a drinkable and approachable Belgian ale that those new to Belgian ales can definitely enjoy.
Bocker Vanderghinste (Flanders Oud Bruin, 5.5% abv)
BREWERY’S DESCIPRTION: Originally called “Ouden Tripel”, this ancient West Flanders Brown beer has found a new élan as a regional specialty under its current name: “VanderGhinste Oud Bruin”. The main ingredients of our Vanderghinste Oud Bruin are malted barley, wheat, hops, water, and caramelized malts. These are used to brew a top-fermented beer. Blending this beer with lambic beer aged in oak for 18 months results in this specific West Flanders Brown beer. Its typical flavour is characterized by a well-balanced, hardly noticeable sourness. This first flavour impression is soon followed by a second pleasant discovery: a slight bitterness followed by a hint of sweetness.
As a lover of Belgian sour/wild ales I was quite experience to be trying yet another Flemish sour ale by Bockor Brewery, the same brewery that brews Cuvee des Jacobins rouge, an amazing Flemish red ale that I seek out when at my local bars and beer stores.
Vanderghinste poured true to style with a deep opaque reddish brown body and a tan ring of head that stuck around and left some nice lacing.
Both the aroma and taste were on the sweeter side for oud bruin i.e. not as tart as other examples of the style. Furthermore, the beer’s complexity was right up my alley in terms of flavor characteristics that I like in this style in terms of malts and fruit (notes of caramel, toffee, dates, and cherries). In fact, after searching for more tartness as I took my first few sips, I came to the conclusion that the faint tartness that I did was able to detect was just right for this beer and helped round out its flavor profile. Although, I could see where some may read that this beer is blended with lambic and aged in oak barrels and expect more tartness and “funk”.
Because I liked this beer more and more as I drank it and can recommend it to those who enjoy Flemish sour ales I’ve decided to give this beer a rating of 7.5/10
Both of these beers are imported to the US by Artisanal Imports