SPECIALE: 78 Points
This Belgian Ale is available year-round in 11.5 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Amber coloured top-fermented beer, brewed according to an old traditional recipe. A tasty beer, mellow in character that you can carry on drinkin.”
My Description: This is an easy drinking beer, however that is the only compliment worth noting. It begins with a decent, off-white colored head with a minimal retention level and it leaves behind little lacing. The aroma is malty with notes of green apples and a touch of sweetness. Speciale is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is rather bland with little depth and faint flavor notes, which makes me question why they would name this “speciale.” There are notes of apples, hints of malt, and a consistent sweet note. The aftertaste has very little bitterness but it is crisp. Overall, this is definitely not a beer that I would seek out again but it didn’t bother me too much drinking it. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with light desserts, a fruit tray, or grilled shrimp.
ABV: 5.5% Color: Dark Gold/Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
BLOND ALE: 86 Points
Creamy and Crisp
This Blonde Ale is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Petrus Blond Ale is a top-fermented beer. Brewed with pure spring water and carefully selected malts and hops. This blond beer is soft and full of flavour and preferably served cool.”
My Description: This ale is clean, crisp, with a slightly creamy texture. There is a lot of sediment in this bottle, which could be a turn off for some but not for me. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of pale malts, honey, subtle hop notes, yeast, and light fruits. Blond Ale is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is enjoyable with notes of pale malts, bread, Belgian yeast, candi sugar, and hints of honey. The aftertaste is minimally bitter but the sweetness is what is most detected. Overall, this is a fine everyday beer with good flavor notes and a satisfying aroma. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with mushroom burgers, sautéed shrimp, or cheesecake.
ABV: 6.6% Color: Hazy Gold/Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
HOP HOUSE: 90 Points
Who doesn’t love a hop house
This Belgian Style Pale Ale is released for a limited time in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Bright yellow-amber hue, topped with a lush white pillowy head. Abundant tropical and citrus hop aromas with subtle floral notes and a light biscuit presence. Fruity and citrus flavors are balanced out with delicate malt notes. Smooth and effervescent, Hop House provides moderate bitterness with a drying, hop forward finish.”
My Description: Though not as flavorful and aromatic as Fleur de Houblon, this beer is still a great Belgian Pale Ale with a complex flavor profile that satisfies. It begins with a very large, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma is fresh with notes of grapefruit hops, breadiness, yeast esters, and some earthiness. This ale is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile delivers a nice mix between hops and Belgian yeast notes. One will taste grapefruit hops, lemon, pale malts, cloves, earthy flavors, and a touch of spice. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and will linger. Overall, this beer is smooth and tasty and great for any occasion. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with arugula salads, grilled shrimp, or tuna tartar.
ABV: 6% Color: Golden/Orange Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 5/10
BLONDE: 91 Points
A clean Blonde
This Belgian Strong Pale Ale is available year-round in 330 and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This light ale has a deep golden colour with a smooth, frothy head. It is very perfumed with an unmistakable hint of aromatic hops and a fruity (citrus) note from the spices used in production. The body has an intense yet distinctive bitterness and a strong malty taste which is a delight to the palate. The overall effect, however, is a slight dryness and hoppiness.”
My Description: Interestingly enough, this beer is not very complex but does present a nice array of flavors that satisfy. The Belgian Blonde has a good sized, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and showcases a rich malt presence accompanied by hints of citrus and bread. It is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavors are nicely balanced with a tasty malt backbone upfront accompanied by notes of citrus, earth, and subtle hints of yeast spices. This transitions smoothly into an aftertaste that is minimally bitter with a hint of tart fruit. The alcohol is nicely hidden and a sugary sweetness creeps in from time-to-time. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled asparagus, pork tenderloin, or sauteed shrimp.
ABV: 7.5% Color: Hazy Straw/Gold Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
GRAND CRU: 93 Points
This Belgian Strong Blonde Ale is generally available year-round in 330 ml. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Grand Cru is a speciality beer carefully crafted by Belgium’s St Feuillien Brewery. This extra-blond amber nectar masterpiece undergoes refermentation in the bottle, resulting in a beer endowed with unforgettable character. The secret lies in the unique combination of the most noble hops and the finest aromatic ingredients. Grand Cru differs from other beers in the range by its absence of spices. Its full, white head is light and frothy, and when poured it creates a subtle lace effect. The very pale colour of Grand Cru lends clarity and brilliance to its body. Grand Cru’s delicate nose is a veritable cascade of hoppy aromas with hints of fruitiness coupled with subtlety and sheer richness. When savoured, the first sip is light and intriguing. The next impression is one of a slight bitterness full of captivating nuances. When it hits the palate, Grand Cru creates a lingering moment of hoppiness, rounded off by an intense yet pleasant bitterness.”
My Description: Grand Cru is a great sipper on those warm days because it is also refreshing. The body and texture of the beer are very pleasant. It pours a very large, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is clean and somewhat sweet; there are notes of yeast spices, coriander, and faint malt additions. Grand Cru is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavors in this beer are delicate and blended beautifully. Apparent, yet subtle spice notes linger throughout that taste almost like black pepper. Refreshing citrus notes shine through along with some earthiness and pears. The alcohol is nicely hidden and the hops deliver a minimally bitter finish that balances the rest of the beer. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, sea bass, or light cheeses.
ABV: 9.5% Color: Pale Gold Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
FLEUR DE HOUBLON: 94 Points
My favorite flower
This Belgian Pale Ale is released for a limited time starting in May 2013, in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Fleur de Houblon is a rich gold color with distinct floral hops in the aroma that follow through in the taste. Whole-cone Bravo hops are used to impart their earthy, fruity, and floral aromas and flavors. The body and flavor are clean and dry, with pleasing complexity and spicy notes from both primary and secondary fermentation with our unique Ommegang house yeast.”
My Description: This is the perfect summer beer for those who love hops and love Belgians. It starts with a huge, off-white colored head with a great retention level and a tremendous amount of lacing. The aroma is real nice with notes of citrus, floral hops, and a hint of spice. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a very dry finish. This beer is clean and smooth with great flavors including floral hops, citrus notes and pale malt notes. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and it lingers slightly. This is a great summer beer and is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, light salads, or sauteed snapper.
ABV: 6.8% Color: Hazy Gold Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4/10
ORVAL: 97 Points
This Belgian Pale Ale is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
My Description: Considering that this is brewed in Europe, I wasn’t expecting a tropical fruit like flavor in the beer. Well, some of the greatest things in the world come unexpectedly. It has a great, fluffy, off-white colored head that retains greatly and also produces a great amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and exciting with notes of malty sweetness, light tropical fruits, and earthy hops. The beer is medium bodied, dry, with a slightly higher carbonation level. The flavors are delicious. There are tastes of tropical fruits like mango and orange. There is some Belgian yeast spices and a slightly lingering earthy hop bitterness in the finish. You may even pick up a slight touch of sour. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with lamb chops, Mushroom Swiss burgers, or Tuscan style salads.
ABV: 6.9% Color: Brownish/Orange Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10
LUCIÉRNAGA: 98 points
This Belgian Golden Ale is released seasonally in the month of June in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “The Firefly, an artisan pale ale brewed in the Grand Cru tradition. Enjoy its golden effervescence and gentle hop aroma. Coriander and Grains of Paradise round out the spicy palate, melting o so softly into a silken finish of hoppiness and bliss! Make any season a celebration.”
My Description: This beer is delicious! The flavors work harmoniously together to produce a refreshing and truly enjoyable beer. It has a decent, off-white colored head that fades quick to a film but holds and produces a small amount of lacing. The aroma is amazing. There are notes of sour lemon, fresh citrus, hints of spice and hops, and a pleasant oak addition. It is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is slightly complex with notes of apples, malt, sour/tart, hops and some earthiness. These flavors work brilliantly together and transition nicely into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with an oak flavor addition. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the texture is very smooth. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, caprese salads, or grilled white fish.
ABV: 6.5% Color: Hazy Orange/Bronze Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3/10