I hit another beer-tasting tonight at Tria Cafe’s Fermentation School. This session was “Exotic Brews from Abroad,” and the speaker was Matthias Neidhart, the owner of B. United International, an importer. Neidhart was knowledgeable and entertaining, and he brought along six particularly potent (and certainly unusual) beers, a sake, and a mead(!) to taste.
Unfortunately, I can’t say any of tonight’s beers particularly appealed to me. That’s completely abnormal for me, of course. But the finish on Kiuchi Brewery‘s Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale was so bitter, so long-lastingly bitter, that I can barely remember what the beer actually tasted like. The Aventinus from G. Schneider & Sohn was just too blah (i.e., mild) for me. And Birreria Baladin‘s Xyauyu’…well, what to say. Although I enjoyed the Xyauyu’s light, almost-cognac smell, the taste was something I wouldn’t want to experience again anytime soon. In my notes, I described it as “nauseatingly sweet” and “sort of like sweetened cough syrup.” Sound yummy? Nah, it really wasn’t.
My two favorite beers from tonight’s event were the L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien from Brasserie des Franches-Motagnes and the Stille Nacht Special Reserva 2000 from De Dolle Brouwers in Belgium. The Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien offered a nice caramel smell and a light, tart flavor. The Stille Nacht, which has been rarely tasted in the States, struck me for its mild, delicious cognac notes. (Yes, that’s two cognac references in one sitting. Maybe I just had a cognac smell stuck in my head!) I don’t think I liked either the Stille Nacht or the Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien enough to seek them out again, though.
Strangely enough, what I really, really enjoyed was the mead. Mead, of course, is a fermented honey beverage, and Neidhart brought along a cool example from South Africa—Makana Meadery‘s ¡Qhilika African Herbal Blossom Mead. ¡Qhilika is a semi-sweet, yet spicy mead. I enjoyed the anise, apple, and cinnamon flavors that predominated. Very, very nice. In fact, I’m thinking I should purchase some for the apartment, but I can’t imagine where I’m going to find it (in Pennsylvania, the state-owned liquor stores are anything but customer-friendly).
P.S.: I just realized there’s an International Mead Festival. Unfortunately, I just missed the 2007 iteration. Bummer.