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!
Categories: Brasserie d'Achouffe, Brew Review
I often go back and forth on whether I’s characterize La Chouffe Golden as a classic gateway beer to the style or as a classic example. It’s probably more of the latter and those, by definition (I guess mine anyway), can’t be gateways – no landing in the center of the target with your first toss of the dart. That said, it is so welcoming and enjoyable that I think it serves well as a gateway and go-to for Belgian Blonde fans alike.
No comment on the reference to the Frencher flick
This beer was simply superb. So flavorful and delicious from start to finish. And oh so photogenic too! What if we call it a classic gateway?
Say what you want about the Frenchers (as you call them), but they make some fabulous films IMHO. I’m sure they make some stinkers too, but thankfully, there doesn’t appear to be a market for crappy French films in the US, so I have yet to stumble upon one.
The magic word for me is “Belgian.” This beer, like most others of the style, makes my mouth water. And I wish I had known about #BelgianBrewReviewWeek earlier, but now that I do, I’ll have to post a review ortwo of my own!
Totally with you! The Belgians do it right when it comes to beer. Pretty amazing when you consider that the country is around the size of NJ and yet they make an incredibly wide variety of styles. I gotta get there one day! And re: #BelgianBrewReviewWeek, it runs till Sunday (though I doubt anyone would care if you chose to extend it), so I say pour yourself a beer and join the fun!
Exhibit 1: Chocolat
Never saw that one.
It’s been too long since I’ve had d’Achouffe. This makes me thirsty.
Rightfully so! Pour yourself a glass lickety split! 😀
I too am one that is always after the cool labels! I will have to try this gnome beer 🙂
Totally worth it! And if you think the label is cool, you should see the cap. I gotta get my sorry behind to Belgium one of these days. Beer, mussels, frites, waffles, cheese, chocolate. What’s not to love?
I will be there as soon as possible!! ha ha There are so many places I want to go 🙂
Same here. So many places, so little time and money. 😦