Daily beer project

Pranqster, Chimay Blue, and Lambic

Posted in Imports by dailybeerproject on April 7, 2010

BradK told me Pranqster from North Coast Brewing is the best non-Belgian Belgian you can find. He was also kind enough to contribute some to our Belgian-themed Tour of Flanders gathering. Alex contributed Chimay Red and Chimay Blue, and we also had two flavors of Lambic beers. The actual Belgians all go for the equivalent of $5 or so per 12 ounce bottle. All the beers were awesome, but Pranqster was no less awesome than its imported counterparts at half or less the cost. It was the revelation of the party.

The amazing thing about Belgians is that they can make high alcohol content beer that has no bitterness from the alcohol whatsoever. Pranqster is the first domestic brew I’ve tried that has successfully matched the Belgians in this regard. At 7.6% abv, this is a beer that should have tasted bitter to me. It did not. It was just a glass full of awesome deliciousness.

In addition to the Pranqster, we also popped the corks on a couple bottles of Chimay, one Red, one Blue. And really, I don’t know which is more awesome. The Red is a little less expensive and a little lower in alcohol. But better? Hard to say. It’s like asking which of your feet you prefer–you’re pretty attached to both of them. Thankfully, both are readily available, so permanently choosing one over the other isn’t necessary.

Chimay beer wasn’t the only thing we sampled from this particular monastery–we also had some of their cheese. I know this is supposed to be a beer blog, but the cheese is soaked in beer before it ripens, so I think that’s close enough. The cheese is phenomenal. Like their beer, it’s rich and complex without being overpowering. The smell is strong, to be sure, but unlike many strong cheeses, there was no harshness to the flavor, just creamy, awesome deliciousness.

Finally, the Lambics: one peach, one raspberry. If you’ve never tried a Lambic, you should, because they are awesome. Completely different than drinking a regular beer for two reasons. First, they’re fermented with wild yeast native to the Brussels area where they are brewed. This lends a unique flavor unlike beer brewed with cultivated yeast. Second, they’re flavored with fruit juices and syrups, so they taste more like a fermented cider than a beer. Which is not a bad thing, because cider is tasty. I would just say that these Lambics are slightly more tasty and definitely more complex. Not a guzzling beer, to be sure, just something wonderfully awesome to sip, savor, and enjoy, sort of like a fine wine.

Someday I will drink a Belgian beer in Belgium. And watch the Tour of Flanders live. Until then, what we did was the next best thing.


3 Responses

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  1. etiberius said, on April 8, 2010 at 3:10 pm

     Wow- every time I post here I sound like a beer snob( I’m not going for that at all because I think it is pretty amazing that you went from not liking beer to loving it)

    I liked Pranqster ok, but it seemed like a pretty boring version of the Belgian Golden. I drank it back to back with Cru d’Or and the Cru blew it out of the water( or beer as the case may be)

    On Chimays I’m with you I prefer the blue, like the red and would rather have something else besides the white. If I had to drink more than one blue though I would be in trouble- its a heavy beer that packs a punch to the palate. I really dig the cheese as well, but I didn’t really pick up on any beery flavors, I just got a great rich creamy cheese flavor.

    Blech on the fruited Lambics. The syrupiness of the fruit is a bit much for me. It tastes like a $6 wine cooler to me. I do however love lambics and other wild beers. I’m not joking I LOVE them. Look out for Jolly Pumpkin La Roja or Bam Bière, New Belgium’s LaFolie or anything that says farmhouse style or lambic( that is not Lindemans).

    To me it captures all the complexity of wine with the flavor of beer.

    • dailybeerproject said, on April 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

      Actually, I don’t view it as snobbery at all. I appreciate the perspective. One of the great things about beer is that there’s so much variety that there’s something to accomodate everybody’s taste. Lots of people are content to drink nothing but Bud Light. If that’s what makes them happy, I’m all for it. I might make fun of it once in a while, but whether or not they try something else has no bearing on me.

      • gregclimbs said, on January 20, 2011 at 7:21 pm

        I think unibroue makes the best non-Belgium Belgian beers…

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