metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Baby Ada's birth was the home birth we'd been planning for — kids safely at their grandparents, midwives we knew, intensity and joy and healthy everyone at the end. Elizabeth was very independent for most of labour, as she has been before — I fetched things, let midwives in, helped keep things clean and was just being present up into late pushing. We'd talked about my maybe catching Ada, but in the end I was busy holding Elizabeth and crying a bit as she pushed the last few times. I got to cut the cord, as I have for Oscar and Vivien. At home in our space was a nice place for a birth, and I felt quite involved.

Ada is pretty laid-back so far, and looking around a lot. She has a powerful suck, curious hands and neck and a variety of unconvinced facial expressions. She also sleeps really well in the baby carrier!

Elizabeth and I got a chance to give the baby carrier a whirl yesterday when our friend Seema generously offered to take the older two over to her place for a couple of hours. Thanks to her, we got to walk over to Brasseurs du Temps and have a little anniversary lunch date. Seven years of vaguely sacrilegious matrimony and crazy adventures! Our conversation was more sleep-deprived than deep, but it was really nice to make some time for our little dyad, and Ada helpfully snoozed almost the whole time. Also, BDT has really gotten comfortable in its skin and gotten into a refined and interesting beer groove. There was one unfortunate server comment about "ladies' beer" – La Grande Rivière is a tart, citrusy smacker of a beer that happens to be pink (and delicious to me and not Elizabeth's thing). Silly server. The presence of a tasty 2.4% session IPA (good for easing back into regular beer after 9 months on the pregnancy wagon) was exciting, though.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Floreffe Dubbel Abdjibier is a strong brown ale from Belgium. Doing them all in a row is not getting boring, as they are all rather different from each other.

Floreffe pours out to a dull brown beer with modest bubbliness and a soft cream-coloured head. I had it Sunday (and this post has been sitting in the editor since yestarday), slightly chilled in a stemless wine glass with stuffed tomatoes. It smells malty, and the first sips have a definite root beer taste: a little tingly, quite rooty, a bit sweet and malty. For a beer with pretty much the same ingredient list as all the other Belgian beers, the variety is quite astounding. I think it'd be a good tasting-alone beer, or maybe with root vegetables and mild fare.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
My beer drinking got a little ahead of my reviewing today.

Yesterday, after nailing down a hardwood floor in the nursery-to-be with my friend Marc, I had a Grolsch beer, right out of the fridge and right out of the bottle. I remember them being kind of skunky; I didn't find that as pronounced this time — it could be because it was well-chilled, or maybe they've tweaked the recipe (the distinctive bottle is 50ml smaller than it used to be, too), or maybe my taste buds have gone in new directions since undergrad. The beer did have a bright, untoasted taste with nice bitter notes, and it was very refreshing. I had some zucchini bread with it, but the real pairing was probably sweat.

I think the bottle got my parents to try Grolsch way back when, and the swing-topped reusable bottle is always a bonus — either for one's own brews, or for maple syrup, salad dressing, whatever…

Today, I had Maredsous 8 Bruin, chilled slightly, in a wine goblet, with Elizabeth and Tracy and a game of Settlers of Catan (It was a fun evening of supper, game and chat, and Elizabeth won). It is a brown beer with a big, stiff head. The head is a bit bitter and airy, and the first taste of liquid beer is dominated by bitter. After that, sweet and warm alcohol tastes rise up but the bitter sticks around. It's a substantial-tasting beer, and went well with the cooler weather tonight. I'm beginning to realize that I hadn't given enough credit to Belgian beers — Unibroue's take on the country is tasty as far as it goes, but the originals are a wider and, at least in my sample so far, subtler variety of tasty beers.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Tonight, I had Duchesse de Bourgogne, with stuffed tomatoes and zucchini spread on toast. I had it somewhat chilled in a great big goblet.

The beer is dark red with a modest but persistent head that develops craters as the bigger bubbles pop. It doesn't look terribly unusual, and the aroma as I lifted the glass was a bit sweet, a bit malty… but when I put it to my lips, I discovered a beer that was very much like cider. This beer is apparently made with malt, but smacks you with a sweet, sour, apple-y taste while being darker and headier than any cider I've tasted. I could make out the malt a little bit, but mostly it was all fruit with a little spiciness and lots of tasty oomph. The aftertaste was more tartness and spice.

This is definitely an interesting beer, and I'd be interested to see how my cider-drinking friends, particularly those that are opposed to beer, would react. Judging by the ingredients and the honestly-gotten taste, I wouldn't affix my "not a beer" tag, but this has to be the most different beer in the lot so far.

I'm not sure what I'd drink this with — it went well with the tomatoes and the mild zucchini toasts because they didn't interfere with it. It might go well with some gamey or rich meat, or soft, not-too-violent cheese, too.


Aug. 24th, 2010 09:05 pm
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Today I tried Duvel strong beer. It comes in a sort-of-stubby little bottle. I had it in a wine goblet, with bruschetta (we have tomatoes galore, I will probably have lots more bruschetta in the near future).

When I poured it, I got a lot of firm, fine white head. The head was creamy, bitter and very fluffy. The beer itself (after some snuffling though the head) came on as fruity, sort of sweet, strong and a bit bitter. As far as something with 8.5% alcohol and a big wallop of bitter can go, it was sort of understated. The resemblance to the Quebec Fin du Monde was close: Fin is a bit spicier and less fruity, but it's clear where Fin got its inspiration. Duvel definitely wants to be centre stage when it's consumed — I'd have it with some simple munchies (bruschetta was about as complex a food as I think it could tolerate being beside).
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Tonight, I tried Barbãr Bok, from a water glass, with plain potato chips over a game of Dominion.

The beer has some head and a modest carbonation, and is — as would be expected for a beer with 2.5% honey — sweet, and malty. I also noticed little notes of fruity, like white grape. Although the label includes an impressive list of ingredients including bitter oranges and hops, there's not much bitter. The beer is smooth and tasty. I think drinking it unaccompanied or with a light, savory snack is probably the best way to go.

In other news, after noticing that Pixel enjoyed chasing the ribbon suspended from it, we managed to give a mylar balloon from the baby shower on Saturday nearly neutral buoyancy by tying extra ribbon, a bell and some masking tape to it. The world needs more neutral buoyancy cat toys (and by cat toys, I guess I have to include all people present in the broad category of "cat").
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
Fuller's London Porter is a dark beer in a bottle whose label suggests it as a digestif, so I had it after supper, in a pint glass, cool, with some leftover baby shower cake. It is, as advertised, rich and dark. It has only a little bit of head, and not much carbonation. It comes on smooth with coffee and toffee tastes, and gets bitter after a few sips. There's a bit of a sweet aroma, but the taste is not too sweet and the beer is velvety and pleasantly heavy. Later in the glass, there is a bit of unroasted-grain taste — despite being dessert, it is still a beer. It is very much like St. Ambroise Noire (which I also like a lot), but smoother, a little less opaque, and with a bit of a time delay on the bitter taste.

I figured Mort Subite Framboise, a Belgian lambic with raspberry juice blended in, would sit somewhere close to wine (and probably sweet, fruity wine like the inexpensive Shiraz of my late university days) in taste, and despite my old roommate's quizzical "wine and pizza, c'est quoi ça?" remarks of old, I thought I'd pair it with steamed greens and tomato pizza (made with no name cheese pizza topped with yesterdays leftovers and a sliced tomato). The beer comes in a bottle with a cork wired down, and it opened with a satisfying pop. The pizza sort of disintegrated — the instructions say to cook it directly on the rack, but the extra moisture in the bonus toppings caused it to seep partway through the rack. Spooning pizza onto my plate, I tried the pink, slightly cloudy, bubbly beer with a moderate, creamy head. It is sweet, like good raspberry cocktail or sangria, with a little tartness — not at all like beer, with no discernible hops or grain. This is a tasty drink, but I find it hard to call it beer.
metawidget: Blue bucket with thirty bottles of beer. (beer)
For my birthday this year, my parents gave me a bucket of thirty different bottles of beer from all over the world:

There is already a little "good beer list" on our fridge (along with the "renovation list, from mundane to absurd" and the grocery list), but thirty bottles requires something a bit more involved… like blog entries. Some of these beers are familiar to me, and some are uncharted territory.

Methodology )

the first two reviews: Orval and Švyturys Ekstra )

I'll post more entries for your reading pleasure as well as to crank the non-work-related writing handle with some regularity. Updates will proceed at the speed with which I taste the beer (no more than one bottle a day; more than that biases reviews of beers later in the tasting order…)


metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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