Monday, September 03, 2007

Beer of the Moment - Pannepøt

If I had to be confined to drinking beers from one particular country, I would probably choose Belgium. Now granted, the U.S. is a very close second, as we have a much larger variety of beer styles to choose from. But there is a complexity and depth of flavor that I experience with Belgian beers that is rarely reproduced in this country, with a few exceptions of course.

America's love for Belgian beers can be traced back to one person. Michael Jackson single handedly helped foster a love for Belgian beer in the states. Of course we are not talking about the one-gloved pop singer, but the English born beer writer whose books, the World Guide to Beer and The Great Beers of Belgium introduced the American drinking public to a whole new array of beer styles and tastes. He once called Belgium the 'Disneyland of beer', and having had many a Belgian ale I cannot disagree with him. Unfortunately, Michael Jackson passed away last Thursday, and his contributions to beer culture cannot be quantified.

I believe that if Michael Jackson had not written about the great beers of Belgium, I may not be sitting here drinking this wonderful Belgian strong ale today. Pannepøt is brewed by de Struise Brouwers, a relatively new brewery in Belgium, but the taste is reminiscent of other, more established Belgian breweries. The beer could be labeled a Quadrupel, which is a strong Belgian ale brewed with dark candied sugar, spices, and Belgian yeast. There is definitely an element of dark fruit to go along with the sweet sugar and a subtle but nice alcohol burn that is often associated with this style. At ten percent, it is a sipping beer, one to be savored with a good meal or a cool autumn night, which I hope will be here shortly. There are two versions of this beer, the Pannepot and the Pannepøt. The only difference on the bottle is the 'ø', which was especially brewed for the Danish market, but can be found here in the states. There are differences between the two beers, and the one with the regular 'o' is one of the highest rated beers on Beer Advocate and on Rate Beer, and from reading the reviews they are very similar in taste.

I hope that everyone will tip a glass of beer to Michael Jackson, who was instrumental in opening our eyes to great beers from around the globe.

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