Viven Imperial IPA – 8% abv – #7POINT5

I first discovered Viven Imperial IPA back in May 2011 when I visited Bruges for the first time, it was in a large spacious lounge style bar call De Republiek. This is what I had to say about it back then:

De Republiek - Described as an American Diner meets Student Union, we had no idea what to expect when we made our way to De Repbliek. On entering it’s a large open plan room with small raised alcoved areas and a wooden floor, a large bar with details of cocktails, food and upcoming events dominate one side. This though was where I made my personal best beer discovery of the week (Westveleren aside), it was the Viven Imperial IPA… It’s a really outstanding beer, pouring a reddish amber colour with punch you in the face fruity American hops.

Now for a beer that I rate so highly you may be thinking that’s a pretty piss poor review and you’d be quite right, however this has to go in my top beers list so I plan to revisit again to revel in it’s full glory…

So here we are almost six months down the line, probably a dozen or more bottles sunk and hopefully in a better place to comment on a truly outstanding imperial IPA.

Well here goes, it’s hazy reddish-orange in the glass with busy bubbling white head which lingers around the glass from the first sip to the last dregs.

The aroma, oh my goodness THE AROMA! Great big nose filling fruity aromas of Tomahawk and Simcoe hops, for a Belgian beer it’s very much in an American IPA style with tropical fruits aplenty. Lychee, mango, grapefruit tangerine all with a light strawberry undertone. This follows through on the taste, a real flavour bomb medley of citrus fruit, with hints of strawberry and lychee completing the 5 a day in a glass. A freshly cut fruit salad mouthful….

This beer is a real hop monster, but it also has a great mouthful of caramel malty balance, all of which hides it’s beefy 8% ABV dangerously well. A beer you just don’t want to end and definitely one of my favourite beer discoveries this year.

Available by mail-order from BeerMerchants or at least that’s where I get mine from, if you stock it and would like to be listed give me a shout.

Please sign the petition in support of #7POINT5 which unfairly targets high strength beers:

#7point5, what’s that all about?

Please sign the Government petition against unfair taxation on beers over 7.5% ABV, click HERE

Lindemans Faro

Lambic beers generally are an acquired taste, perhaps the Marmite of the beer world one could say, you either love them or loathe them. In contradiction to that opening statement, I actually sit somewhere in the middle…

Edging towards the love, but with one foot firmly planted in no mans land…

I was recommended to try this slightly different version by a friend on Twitter some time ago, I must apologise at this point as I really can’t remember who it was and the tweet has long since vanished, but I remembered the beer which is the main thing and finally ordered a couple from Beermerchants.

(If you are that mystery Tweeter and are reading this please take one step forward)

The purists out there will no doubt cry foul in one sense of the word or another, as Lindermans when brewing Faro, add Belgian Candy sugar to the old and new Lambic mix to produce something which is openly more accessible to a wider audience. It has tart elements as well as sweet and as such I think is a great introductory beer for the less lip pursingly bold.

It’s a good beer, a little sweet for me to drink often but one I would by again and well worth trying, the wife loves it already so expect that requests for a re-order will be forthcoming..

After seeing my comments earlier this week, friend of mine from across the pond Tom Beddell, contacted me today and sent me this link to his own fine review. Tom is a member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers and such has far more experience than I, so please check out the full review on his blog here:  TAP Beer of the Week 26: Lindemans Faro « Tom Bedell.

Let me know what you think?

Delirium Red – Brewerij Huyghe – 8.5%

“Delirium” – “An acutely disturbed state of mind that occurs in fever, intoxication, and other disorders and is characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence of thought and speech”.

I’m a big fan of Delirium beers, the Tremens in particular and my all time top drinking establishment has to be the record breaking Delirium Cafe in Brussels which has over 2000 beers available at any one time. I love the iconic branding and the story behind it, the stoney white bottles and pink elephants, all of which can be found detailed on the ever so slightly zany delirium.be website.

Try it and watch the slightly mad brewery owner welcome you, discuss his beers, then get ever so slightly bored if you don’t choose anything, it is very clever.

Delirium Red is a new brew from Brouwerij Huyghe for 2011, when I ordered it I knew nothing about it other than the Delirium reputation but had to try it.

I have to confess to thinking it was going to be a ruby or brown beer rather than a Kriek, externally the bottle gives nothing away. It’s the traditional Delirium stone white bottle with a bright red foil top, the label describing the contents simply as STRONG BEER 8.5%.

A kriek it is though pouring a deep dense red with a pink frothy head. Aroma is of kirsch cherry fruit with a little malt.

Taste is sweet, a big full mouthful dominated by the rich alcoholic cherry fruit, it reminded me a little of a cherry brandy liqueur, despite that it is still refreshing and more-ish.

Verdict, another class act to join the pink elephant herd. Maybe a little sweet for some, if so try it as a desert..

Brewerij Huyghe Tasting notes

Delirium Facebook

Delirium YouTube

Beer was sourced from Beer Merchants, but it is available from many other online and high street specialist beer retailers.