I don't know whether it's the nature of the festival or my odd taste for odd beers, but I came back from Borefts 2013 able to squeeze most of the "normal" beers -- the pale ales, barley wines and the like -- into a single post.
On the IPA front, Naparbier's 5 Titius was my standout: 7.3% ABV, dark and heavy with sandalwood spices plus big zesty orange and grapefruit. What I loved most about it is that the weight doesn't come with a sticky sugariness and there's not an ounce of toffee in the flavour. Rooie Dop didn't quite manage to avoid the sugar in their 24/7 session IPA (4.9% ABV): there's a sweet middle, but also a solid bitter kick and plenty of fresh mandarin and lemon, even turning a little dank towards the end. The thin texture lets it down somewhat but it's still very enjoyable. Their full-strength IPA is 7.1% ABV and called Chica Americana. There's not all that much going on in it, just some herbs and lavender, making it smell like posh soap. Fyne Ales made a better fist of things at the same strength with Superior IPA. Still understated but quite complex, showing oily hop resins, with some jaffa and a bit of medicinal herbs. A light sherbet zing helps lift it and adds to the drinkability. Their more modest pale ale offering was Fladda Rock at 5.5% ABV: biscuits and citrus, and a little waxy, say my notes. I think I liked it but wasn't moved to write more.
Brewfist gave us a black IPA too -- Green Petrol. It's very green indeed: thick molasses stickiness meets raw cabbage bitterness. I quite liked it for all that. And we have white IPA as well, in the form of Rooie Dop's What A Wonderful White. This is 7.2% ABV and the full orange colour of a weissbier, which is what it really is. The flavour opens with a powerful punch of nectarine and orange, leaving a slightly acrid hop burn in its wake. There's more than a hint of weissbier spicing in the mix too, further fuelling my scepticism about "white IPA" as useful designation.
I only paid one quick visit to French brewery Mont Salève, for their Barley Wine aged in a pinot barrel. It's a lovely mellow blend of orangey hop oils and woody spices, plus a hint of acetic tartness. The same went for To Øl: just one beer and it a barley wine, this one called I've Seen Bigger Than Yours. It's a dark orange colour with an ivory head, making it look very dense; hardly surprising at 14% ABV. The aroma is a vague whiff of ripe summer fruits, and on tasting its raspberries that come to the fore, or more specifically the thick sweetness of raspberry ice cream sauce. Heavy going, but deftly offset by a bright and spritzy citrus sharpness which prevents the whole thing turning to cough mixture.
And that leaves just one beer, one I missed last year and hugely regretted it, which wasn't on the advance list so was a very pleasant surprise when it turned up. And there's no missing Bäver, or at least its distinctive porcelain pouring apparatus. This is Närke's standard bitter enhanced with beaver musk. It pours a clear chestnut red and tastes rather grainy with some sweet smoke and mild hop resins. There's not much else going on, and I wasn't able to identify anything in the flavour that could be distinctly tagged as beaver bum, but such is life. It's the experience that counts.
Borefts wound up at 10pm on the Saturday, though I believe the party continued up in the windmill. Not for me, though. I had the traditional post-Borefts day's drinking in Amsterdam ahead.
Westvleteren 12 - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2012 | ABV: 10.2% | On The Beer Nut: December 2007* This bottle of Westvleteren 12 was not captured in the wild, acquired instead ...
2 weeks ago