clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Belt's Beer Garden: expensive taste!

This week we spare no expense!

Norm and I usually try to review beers that everyone can find and afford. However, this week we decided to go pinky-out and try some of the most expensive beers we'll probably ever review here. After all, we are classy and have expensive taste.

Norm's up first with an unusual type of beer:

oude tart

In the attempt to always bring different beers to the beer lovers at Hustlebelt, this week I tasted a style I had previously been unfamiliar with. A Flemish sour ale. If, like me, you have not heard of these ales, here's their deal.

Flemish ales originated in Belgium around the French speaking region of Flanders. You will see this beer also referred to as a Flanders style ale because of this. The ale is fermented, not using a standard beer yeast, but a local yeast and a lactic acid causing bacteria. This leads to a sour flavor in the brew.

The beer is then barrel aged for long periods of time and then blended with a fresher batch. Fruit may or may not be added for sweetness. That's the short and simple description.

The Flemish Ale I found was named Oude Tart, brewed by The Bruery, from Placentia, California, was available in a 25oz bottle for $20.99, and has a decent 8% ABV.

Oude fills your glass a dark reddish brown.  There's very limited carbonation and almost no head retention. The aroma is that of cherries and malt with a vinegar tartness. There's no hop smells to speak of.

The taste was a shock to the palate. Sour, tart and dry all at once grabs your attention immediately.  Maybe had I known a little more about this beer I would not have been so taken aback when the first drops hit my mouth. It is something that takes several initial tasting to get the idea of what you're having and to start appreciating it.

Once you've settled in and begun to enjoy this beer, you'll notice more than the sourness.  You can take in the dark cherry flavor with the leathery oak from the aging. It's similar to a barley wine, but has more edge. Amazing flavors that give a very different feel on your tongue due to the style. The beer has the dryness of champagne and leaves that similar feeling  in the back of your mouth.

Had I rated this on my first taste, I may have given it a four out of ten. Each succeeding taste would have moved that rating up one. Up until about the fourth sip. This is just such an interesting and unique beer I'm giving it 8.5/10.


For mine I went way up North!

glaxay white

It's no surprise that Anchorage Brewing Company comes to us from Anchorage, Alaska. They are one of the newest breweries to open in our largest state and loves creating beers using "barrel fermentation with brettanomyces and souring cultures"...whatever that means. All I know is I want to drink their beers!

Galaxy poured a cloudy, creamy yellow color and was topped with around two fingers of head. The foam stayed for a while before dissipating enough to drink. But the beer gave off a nice aroma of white grapes, citrus rind, yeast, and a hint of spice. It smells a lot like a Belgian ale more so than an IPA.

This white IPA is brewed with galaxy hops, kumquat, peppercorn, and coriander. It's aged in French oak foudres and then bottle conditioned with wine yeast. Naturally it was pretty sweet upon my first sip.

The beer bubbles on your tongue, showing just how carbonated it is, but the citrus smell carries over nicely into the taste. Up front, you get the bubbles, grapefruit, and grape flavor with the spices finishing off each sip. You can definitely tell that they used a wine yeast, as you get a hint of white wine. The 7% ABV that Galaxy contains is hidden really well by the other flavors.

The kumquats come across later on in the beer. The more you drink of Galaxy, the more the tartness comes out in the beer. It's a medium-bodied, rather dry beer but pretty good. There is not too much bitterness to the beer - as it contains 50 IBU - but there is quite a bit of carbonation. The long lasting foam laces the glass heavily, leaving large foam clouds hanging from the glass.

It's very good if you like Belgian-style ales or farmhouses. However, there are two drawbacks to it. First, it's not available everywhere nor is it offered for very long. But the bigger concern is the price. At $16.99 for a 750 mL bottle (25.4 ounces), it is the most expensive beer I have bought.

I would love to try more of Anchorage Brewing's beers, but that's hard to do in Illinois. And if I ever get the opportunity, I will. However, to me, Galaxy is a rather decent beer but nothing too special. Mostly, it's the price I have an issue's hard to spend that much on a beer. 7.5/10