Posts Tagged ‘westvleteren’

basque cider attempt, beachwood long beach, library sourfest

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011


lately I have been on a little cider kick.  not just any cider, mind you, but the funky, lambic-esque basque cider found in spanish sagardotegis.

  • after reading about the isastegi sagardo naturala over at lambic and wild ale, I picked up a few bottles to try, along with sarasola’s sagardoa.  I was greatly impressed with both ciders’ complex funk and smooth tartness, and grew interested in emulating them.
  • unfortunately, there is little information available online regarding techniques for producing basque cider, so I either had to pick up a book on cider and hope for more info on specific apples and yeast/bugs or just ad-lib and hope for the best.  the homebrewer in me immediately chose the latter, and I ended up pitching the dregs of two bottles of basque cider into a gallon of pasteurized, unfiltered organic juice.
  • after a few days with no visible activity, I combined the gallon and dregs with three more gallons, added a packet of red star montrachet yeast, and placed my fermenter into the fridge at 67F.  with significantly different juice from the basque region and questionable bottle dregs, I’m a little pessimistic about the results, but I’ll be happy with even a small amount of earthy complexity in my resulting cider.

last weekend AP and I also met up with OA and friends in downtown long beach to try out beachwood’s new brewery.

  • after hitting up a happy hour ommegang hennepin and turkey burger at congregation, AP and I made the 30 second walk over to beachwood.  the long beach venue was less crowded than their seal beach counterpart usually is, and we got a table as soon as we got in.
  • the guest taps were pretty killer, and highlights included selections from jolly pumpkin (which I have gratefully been seeing more of in socal), lost abbey, ballast point, and alesmith.  I grabbed a pour of bam noir and watched julian shrago pour candi sugar into a steaming boil kettle behind the bar.  pizza port’s boneyard barleywine took precedence over any beechwood brews as my last pour, but word on the street is they’re pretty tasty.
  • I anticipate many more trips over to downtown LB now that two great beer spots are on the same block.  now beachwood just has to finish up their bottle shop and I’ll be set…

in other news:


westvleteren blonde, 8, and 12

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

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So a little over a year ago “a friend of mine” scored a hat trick while visiting Brussels on a honeymoon stop.  He rolled into one of the many bottle shops there and, in a crate tucked under a beer rack, uncovered a mixed case of westvleteren blonde, 8, and 12 bottles.  Anxious to try these fabled beers, he scooped them up and stuffed them in his wife’s suitcase, but upon reaching home he had a change of heart and donated his entire stash to me.  He wishes to remain anonymous for fear of monk retribution, as sale of these beers outside of the monastery is frowned upon.  A year later, I dug these guys out and cracked em open.

  • For those out of the loop, the Westvleteren story is an interesting one, the hotlink is definitely worth a quick read.
  • FYI, these beers, although surprisingly somewhat difficult to find in belgium, were spotted in several bottle shops in amsterdam, so if you are ever out there, it might be worth your while to go on a hunt.
  • the westvleteren blonde was great – a flavorful yet easily drinkable blonde without the spiciness i personally dislike from many belgian blondes.
  • the westvleteren 8 was a big surprise and my favorite of the bunch – big cola flavor that i love in quads, but this is a dubbel!  it reminded me of a smaller, super-drinkable rochefort 10.
  • the westvleteren 12 was awesome too – great complexity and unreal drinkability.  a great beer? yes.  one of my favorite quads? yeah, I guess.  worth the hype? maybe, but not at the prices these are going for on ebay.

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