What is #BelgianBrewReviewWeek? I suppose I could give you an explanation in my own words, but why do that when several others have done it for me? Here is how our friend Sean Foushee explained it on Instagram:
Calling all Instagram (IG) beer fans, #belgianbrewreviewweek is coming! Join us the first week of July as we toast Belgian Ales here on IG; everyone is invited. Post your reviews, thoughts, or just share an awesome photo using the hashtag above. You don’t have to do a beer everyday, just photograph, drink, and review Belgian beers, either daily, every other day or three times a day. In celebration of our Independence Day, we ask our US brew fans to do a US rendition of a Belgian style craft brew on the 4th. To get started, make sure you follow the rest of the Belgian crew: @whiskydude, @drewski_s, @drinkingcraft, and @boozedancing. Cheers!
Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you why I picked this particular beer. The short answer is that it’s all about the gnome on the label (sucked in by a visually appealing label. AGAIN!) . Every time I see it, I am reminded of Amelie, a positively delightful and beautifully made French film. Here are some gnome related scenes from the film for your viewing pleasure:
With regards to the actual Brasserie d’Achouffe brewery, this isn’t my first time trying one of their beers, but it is the first time that I am reviewing one of them. I had their Belgian IPA Tripel several years ago, and from what I remember, it was positively superb!
Below is some information about Brasserie d’Achouffe’s La Chouffe Golden Ale, taken directly from their US importer’s website:
La Chouffe is a spiced golden ale. The legend of the gnomes (or Chouffes) who once brewed in this area inspired this lovely golden ale.
Brewed with spices and bottle-conditioned, La Chouffe pours orange-yellow with a lush head. Fruit, hops, and citrus aromas and tastes abound, with a spicy finish.
A refreshing and easy-to-drink beer that’s light on the tongue and able to sneak up on you with its well-disguised 8% ABV. An excellent quaffing beer as well as a fine accompaniment to foods that go well with a dry, slighty spicy, fruity white wine.
And now for my impression of this Belgian beer…
- Appearance: Cloudy, pale orange color. Thick off white head that rises rapidly, topping off at around 1.5 inches. Settles down to a thin layer that covers the top of the beer. Moderate lacing.
- Aroma: Smells like a mound of yeasty bread dough when you first put your nose in the glass. Working past all that yeast gets you lemon and orange zest, honey, coriander, and a hint of clove.
- Taste: Very creamy mouthfeel with medium carbonation. The bubbles have an almost velvety texture, i.e. they roll over your tongue. Subtle bitterness and citrus at the onset with all of the aromas in the nose coming through to the palate. A touch of honey sweetness comes through towards the middle and leads you to a dry, crisp, and slightly astringent finish. A good bit of yeast and spice remains in the aftertaste.
- ABV: 8.0%
Brasserie d’Achouffe’s La Chouffe feels like yet another superb hybrid of a beer. It has the lightly spiced quaffability of a Belgian Wit, the dry, champagne-like quality of a Farmhouse Ale, and the sneaky potency of a Belgian Tripel (though you would never know it since it hides that 8.0% ABV really well, i.e. there’s no booziness at all!). This is one seriously delicious beer. I highly recommend it!