Brew Review

Brewed For Battle: Belgian Golden Strong Ale

​​At what point does one elevate from merely drinking beer to being a full-on beer snob? Answer: when you feel compelled to tell other people what to drink. And the inevitable result of this peculiar ailment is the beer argument.

In the spirit of all great beer-related discussions, we present Brewed For Battle; a new series of Chow Bella blog posts that pits a selection of brews from a given style up against each other and lets the taste buds of one layman battle them out. Multiple beers go in. One beer comes out the victor.

This week's battle: Belgian Golden Strong Ale

Zach's Pick: Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10
Stone rolled out the first beer of its Vertical Epic Series, 02.02.02, on February 2, 2002, and has since premiered eight more iterations, each released one year, one month and one day from the previous year's edition. The beers are designed for aging until December 12, 2012, when either Vertical Epic 12.12.12 will be released or the world will end. Last year's release, 10.10.10, was brewed with pale malt and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), German Perle hops and chamomile. In secondary fermentation, Stone's brewers added a juice blend of Muscat, Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc
grapes from nearby South Coast Winery, giving the beer a distinct wine-like character.

Jonathan's Pick: Delirium Tremens
Let's discuss the pink elephant in the room. There's something repugnant about a beer flat-out claiming it's the best in the world; even if it was voted true at some point. And yet, Huyghe Brewery continues to print the fact that they were voted the world's best beer in the 1998 World Beer Championships.

The beer with the tiny, pink elephant is good. Hell, it's delicious. It's complex and uniquely pale. It will make you happy the way a Belgian Golden should. Just leave the ancient fervor at home, okay?

Shannon's Pick: Duvel
Referred to as the "quintessential example of this style" by Beer Advocate, the insanely drinkable beer is likely to get you in trouble. It's 8.5% ABV is nearly undetectable, masked by floral hops, Belgian yeast and a subtle spiciness. Tons of fruity notes up front but with a slightly bitter ending. All that aside, my favorite part of this ale is (go ahead and judge) the bubbles. It's almost to the point of being too carbonated but I love it for that very reason. Ranked 98 on Beer Advocate's top 100 list, Duvel is a must-try, especially if it's your first go-around with the Belgian Strong Pales.

The Layman's Choice:

This week's layman was none other than Chow Bella contributing writer Michelle Martinez. She picked the Duvel for nostalgic reasons.

"I almost pissed on the Mannqeuin Piss last time I got drunk on Duvel," she said. "I like the bite at the end of it."

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