Expanding My Beery Horizons
I will be the first to admit to a tunnel-vision approach to beer for the most part. It has to be craft, and it has to be American. That is what i have focused on pretty much since day 1, with few exceptions. I have enormous respect for what the United States craft beer community has done in recent years, and I drink American craft beer almost exclusively. Part of that is accessibility, to a certain degree, but I honestly have not spent any time at all looking beyond our borders when it comes to beer.
That all changed two nights ago.
I was very fortunate and honored to be invited to the Micro Man Distributors 1st Annual Beer Trade Show on Wednesday night. Importers and brewers filled the ballroom of the Cuban Club in Ybor City and poured their offerings. The vast majority were imports, with Belgium being the most represented. I had forgotten how much I enjoy truly good Belgian beer. Some of the highlights for me were:
- Rodenbach Classic and Grand Cru
- BOON Geuze, Kriek, and Framboise
- Ter Dolan Bitter Belgian and Kriek
- Thornbridge Halcyon, Jaipur, and Kipling
- Schlenkerla Oak Smoke
- Leipziger Gose
The options were amazing, and I was introduced to things I didn’t even know I liked! So you can expect to see some things in the coming weeks and moths that take us beyond our borders and delve into the beers from around the world.
This all continued last night at Saint Somewhere Brewing in Tarpon Springs. Bob Sylvester had a guest from Belgium visiting the brewery, the owner/brewer of Belgium’s “Brouwerij The Musketeers”, brewers of the Troubadour line of beers, Stefaan Soetemans.
This was essentially the debut of the Troubadour beers in this market, and it was a real treat to try them side by side with our very own Saint Somewhere. Soetemans introduced each brew and gave of some info on it. It was a lot of fun to talk to him and others in the crowd about brewing, beer styles, and some of the differences between the American and Belgian approaches to brewing and beer. The beers on hand were:
- Troubadour Blond – a delicious and smooth golden brew with just a touch of sweetness and spice.
- Troubadour Magma – a Belgian take on an American IPA, dry-hopped with Simcoe hops. A very different kind of brew, but really good.
- Troubadour Obscura – a Belgian dark strong ale, refermented in the bottle. Smooth and silky and with some great bitterness at the end.
- Troubadour Westkust – a Belgian black IPA, with a nod to the American “West Coast” style, using 100% Belgian west coast hops.
Also on hand her some of Bob Sylvester’s brews:
- Lectio Divina
- Saison Athene
Not to mention numerous amazing homebrews to sample. To top it off, a new food truck called Bufalina! was there, and reviews coming from the people around me were fantastic. Word has it he is at the St. Pete Saturday Morning Market.
So for the second night in a row, my horizons were expanded. I am looking froward to this journey, for sure.