It’s been an exhilarating month visiting some of the finest craft beer establishments in the Firelands area. I’ve not only met some amazing people, but I’ve also drank some amazing beer! I enjoyed it so much I thought to myself “why not do it all over again?” I mean, who has only ever eaten at their favorite restaurant one time? Who has only ever ridden their favorite roller coaster one time? I believe that if you like it once, you’ll like it again, and again, and again…and…well you get the point. Alright, I’m going to cut right to the chase: I went back to Mekong for this week’s edition of Foaming at the Mouth.
Unlike attempting to rekindle that relationship that went south (we all know that never works out, so if that’s you, stop kidding yourself), my relationship has been the exact opposite with Chuck, Kinh and the rest of the crew at Vietnamese restaurant located on route 250 in front of the Sandusky Mall. Unlike that ex that “hasn’t changed,” Mekong is always changing-changing their draft beer selection, as well as adding new bottles all the time. As I sat down at the bar, ate my egg rolls (I swear to God they are the best eggrolls you’ll ever eat in your life. I know I shouldn’t swear to God, but I’ll let him strike me dead if he can find a better one) and drank a Three Floyd’s Gumball Head on draft, Kinh asked me about my international traveling experience. I asked him if going to Canada counted, and he looked at me like your best friend looks at you when you say “I got back together my ex, they swear that they’ve changed and I believe them.”
Needless to say I threw all my rules and principals out the window and was succumbed to the mercy of Kinh and the massive arsenal of delicious brews he had available at his disposal. He looked me deep in the eye and said “This week, you’re going to Belgium.” I jumped out of my stool in an excitement similar to the one I will have on Sunday when the Brownies score on that opening drive, and every drive after that-not stopping scoring until we’re hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Okay, maybe the idea of drinking three imported beers from Belgium made me a little delusional but hey, stranger things have happened, right? No, you’re right. They haven’t.
I encourage any novice craft beer drinker to take note of these three beers I am reviewing today. They are all pretty similar and are all available by the bottle at Mekong. As I’ve said in the past, I’m a big advocate of starting out light and working your way up. You’ll be amazed how your palate changes and adapts to certain tastes and sensations that artistically brewed beers possess. However, starting out too strong could ruin the whole experience, and then you’re back to drinking the nasty mass produced filth that you pick up at the gas station on your way home from work.
Beer #1: Duvel
Brewed by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat (don’t even try to pronounce, this beer is popularly known simply as Duvel), this Belgian Strong Pale Ale is one of the most popular imported Belgian craft beers in America. Pouring crystal clear and golden in color, Duvel has possibly the most beautiful pure white fluffy head of any beer I’ve ever poured.
The head stays frothily floated on top of the beer throughout the entire drinking process-it’s truly a beautiful site to see.
Scents of zesty lemon and green apple, along with some spicy clove and an earthy lemongrass fill the nose. This brew is very highly carbonated as it is bottle conditioned (the beer is placed directly into the bottle before becoming carbonated, therefore each bottle is individually carbonated). It’s very light with a slightly creamy body. With a strong malt backbone, this beer has flavors of lemon, orange peel, zesty fruitiness, lemongrass and a strong dry bitter finish.
Weighing in at 8.5% ABV, this brew packs a punch with only a slight alcohol taste that doesn’t really kick in until you’re about halfway through the glass (as the beer warms a little, the alcohol taste begins to substantiate).
Beer #2: Val-Dieu Triple
Brewed by Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu, this brew is an example of a Belgian Triple. Pouring a hazy orange in color, this beer also has a beautiful full and fluffy white head. With scents of bread, honey, and tangerine, this beer smells as refreshing as it looks. It has a heavily carbonated body with a dry, airy mouthfeel. Your palate will be pleased with tastes of bready, banana, clove, spice and dried tart fruits.
An excellent, excellent example of the style! I little darker in color than I was anticipating for a Triple as well as an aroma that teased of darker flavors, but this beer delivered exactly what I expected and then some! Again, packing a punch at 9% ABV, you need to control yourself when drinking this, because I can guarantee you’ll want more than one!
Beer #3: Maredsous 6 –Blonde
Brought to you by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat (the same brewery that brought you Duvel, obviously) this brew pours a beautiful cloudy golden color with a great fluffy white head. Not as much as the other two, but still awfully pretty. With smells of orange peel, lemon, spice and coriander, this beer delivers the same tastes as aromas-along with some orange, malt, bread and biscuit tastes and a dry, slightly bitter finish.
This Blonde ale is strongly carbonated with a solid malt body. The lowest of the three at 6% ABV, this is a great beer to savor in while clinging on to these last days of warm weather and drinking on the outdoor patio and Mekong.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my trip to Belgium as much as I did. I gotta go, I’m pretty jet lagged….or buzzed, not sure which. Oh, one more thing: Drinking craft beer is a privilege given to us by the amazing men and women who take the time and dedication to brew these artistic masterpieces. Don’t screw up your privilege by being an idiot. Please drink responsibly.
See you next week!