Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Winterkoninkske ("Winter King")

I bought this beer in Orlando, attracted by the peaceful winter village scene on the label. The brew is a product of the Kerkon Brewery in Belgium, a family-owned brewing operation whose stated goal is "to bring real hops back into Belgian brewing." Belgian beers aren't noted for heavy hoppiness today but traditionally brewers used far more hops than is now common and brewer Marc Limet wants to return to that earlier time.

The beer as poured into a pint glass appeared dark reddish-brown, translucent and with modest head which didn't last long. The maltiness was noticeable on the nose even through mild congestion from a lingering cold. The initial sip had distinctive malt taste along with a medium alcohol bite. Hops were detected but played second fiddle to the malt. The beer is flavored with juniper berries which were most apparent at the finish. Other flavors included plums, raisins, molasses, and cloves. The beer is unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle conditioned. Alcohol content is not listed on the label but the brewery states it's a healthy 8.3 ABV.

As I write it is snowing in Asheville and the wind is whistling in the chimney. I can't do better than quote from the brewers' web site: "The ‘Winterkoninkske’ is the ideal beer to make a cold and chilly winter evening pleasant." They will get no arguments from me.

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