Archive for the 'Belgian Strong Pale Ale' Category

Max’s Belgian Beer Festival

If you had walked into Max’s Taphouse this past Thursday, you might have been sorely disappointed. The world-famous Charm City bar that otherwise boasts 140 rotating drafts and 1200 bottles had no drafts available and a limited bottle selection. Though it sounds like a dismal scene, Max’s was taking these measures to prepare for one of their biggest annual events—The Belgian Beer Festival. A 3-day event, the festival offers the largest selection of Belgian beer in the US—over 100 Belgian drafts and 200 bottles. In addition, the food menu that is otherwise saturated with gastro-pub fare experiences a Belgian makeover. Here at BarleyDine we know that nothing goes together like beer and food!

Beer lovers lined up for a taste of Belgium

I arrived at the festival on Saturday afternoon, eager to tear into some Belgian pints and plates. Not surprisingly, the line was out the door, though moving steadily. In speaking to those that had attended the event previously, we learned that we were in for a “nut-to-butt” situation once we were inside. Yes, nut-to-butt, because shoulder-to-shoulder really does not serve to describe how uncomfortably crowded it was. But that’s all part of the fun, right? Pro-tip: Go with a partner, that way you can take turns fetching beer and grub without compromising the precious couple inches of flat surface (barstool, windowsill, banaster, etc.) you managed to stake out.

See what I mean?

The food menu offered moules (mussels) prepared three different ways, a cheese plate, a meat plate, a couple salads, and a few sandwiches. I’m admittedly a shellfish lover, so I decided to start with the Moules Grand-Mère. The mussels are presented in a creamy beer sauce with bacon and in this case the beer was a framboise, which I thought was a very interesting choice. I paired this with Lindemans framboise lambic and it made for a lovely appetizer!

Moule Grand-Mère and Lindemans Framboise

Lindemans framboise is heavily carbonated and has loads of wonderful raspberry tartness, which gives it a champagne quality. It’s very drinkable with an ABV of only about 3%. The salty, smoky, crunchy bacon offset the sweet, creamy mussels really nicely. Though the raspberry is very forthright in this lambic, it was an unobtrusive compliment to the mussels and it brought out the framboise in the sauce that might have been too subtle to notice on its own.

Endive Salad with Barbãr

Later in the day I went for one of the salads—a Belgian endive salad with honey goat cheese, green apples, walnuts, and citrus vinaigrette. I paired this with Barbãr (a Belgian Honey Ale) by Brasserie Lefèbvre. This was a treat! The ale had a spicy citrus and coriander character at first, but the last note was of pure honey sweetness. The bitter endives and tart apples were nicely contrasted with the sweetness of this ale, while the honey in the goat cheese was able to shine through. Absolutely delightful! I can’t imagine a better pairing for this salad.

Other notables:  Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch on cask, Stillwater/Emelisse Collaboration Holland Oats, an amber ale with apples and oats—surprisingly hoppy with a strong apple cider flavor. I talked to several people who were excited to see so many sours on the menu, so if sours are your thing, don’t miss this festival next year!

Max's bartenders were hard at work all weekend.

If you get a chance to visit Max’s, I would highly recommend it. They have beers you never even knew you wanted to try. They also host a German beer festival in the fall that I’m sure will not disappoint. Cheers!



Belgian Strong Pale Ale | 7.80% ABV

Poured to a one inch head that didnt hang around very long. Head was white in color. Ale itself was a cloudy lemon yellow color. Left some minimal lacing of rings when drank. Very light smelling, just of lemon and yeast. Tasted of corriander, lemons and yeast. Also perhaps of bread. I didnt think it was all that hoppy. Had a slight bitter alcohol aftertaste. Felt light in the mouth. I thought the carbonation was right. Im glad I tried this Ale. I just dont think I would want to make it a session beer.

Pairing Suggestions: Hummus, lasagna, pasta with meat sauce, roasted chicken, sausages.

beer + food = Barleydine

Reviewed by Youngleo @ BeerAdvocate


750mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a small white head that recedes fairly quickly to a small collar and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is sweet with lots of fruity esters and some light spiciness from the coriander. There is plenty of candi sugar and light fruits in the nose as well.

The taste is also sweet and very fruity with lots of candied apricots and peaches. There is definitely the big sweet candi sugar backbone with the spices coming out in the finish, coriander and cloves specifically.

The mouthfeel is fairly full bodied and bordering on syrupy due to a fairly low carbonation.

This is definitely not one of my favorites from Alesmith, but it’s a tribute to their beer that it’s still head and shoulders better than most beers out there. The mouthfeel is lacking for me and needs a bit more carbonation and the fruity sweetness gets a little much after a while. Still, very good.

beer + food = Barleydine

Posted by gford217 @ –


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