Goose Island Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale

GooseIsland_MatildaBrewer: Goose Island Brewery, Chicago IL
Style: Belgian-style Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 7%
IBUs: 26

Description: Inspired by the legend of the grateful Countess Matilda who founded a monastery where, over centuries, monks have been brewing ale unique in character. In the character of a Trappist Ale, the Matilda is crafted using 2-Row and Caramel malts, bittered with Styrian, Pilgrim, Golding Celeia, and Saaz hops, and fortified with Candy Sugar. It is then fermented using the wild Brettanomyces yeast and bottle-conditioned for up to five years.

Tasting Notes: The inspirations were certainly clear in this bottle. Immediately, I got flavors that reminded me of a Flemish Red and a Trappist beer, combining the telltale sourness of the former with the solid malt and oaky undertones of the latter. I was not surprised at all to learn that this beer has brought home two silver medals and a gold from the World Beer Cup Awards.

Appearance: Amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Smooth malt, peach, yeasts, hint of sourness, oaky overtones
Taste: Strong malt, yeasty tang, burst of lactic acid, peach, sour cherries, oaky finish
Aftertaste: Lingering oak, fruity esters, yeast and bitterness
Overall: 10/10

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The Bruery Oude Tart

oude_tartBrewer: The Bruery, Placentia, CA
Style: Flemish Red Ale
Alc/Vol: 7.5%

Description: This Belgian-Style ale is part of The Bruery’s special collection of limited release beers and is named Oude Tart (Flemish for “Old Tart”) in honor of the traditional Flemish Red (aka. sour ale). Consistent with this style, the beer is brewed with wild yeast strains that lead to the accumulation of lactic acids and then aged in red wine oak barrels for 18 months before bottling. The Oude Tart is also the 2010 and 2012 Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Cup in the Flanders Style Oud Red or Oud Brun category as well as the 2011 Gold Medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival in the same category.

Tasting Notes: This is my second sampling from The Bruery, and I picked it specifically because of my love for the style. However, I have to say that this is not the most appealing Flemish Red I’ve ever tasted. While it is faithfully brewed and aged to achieve that characteristic tart and sour flavor, this comes through in a rather intense way and there’s little else to balance it out. However, it is possible I picked up a bottle that was a little young and required some aging. I shall try again in the future, as it really did seem like this brewery knows what it’s doing when it comes to Belgian-style ale.

Appearance: Dark brown/red, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Sour nose, strong lactic acid, sour cherry and oak
Taste: Strong acid, intense tartness, yeast, sour cherries, oak and tannin flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering tartness and lactic acid
Overall: 7.5/10

I also came across this video from their website, where Tyler King – the Sr. Director of Brewing Operations – explains the creation process behind this ale. Enjoy!

Green Flash Palate Wrecker Hamilton’s Ale

palate_wrecker_release_partyBrewer: Green Flash Brewery, San Diego, CA
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 9.5%
IBU: 100+

Description: Palate Wrecker was originally brewed for the Hamilton’s Tavern 2nd Anniversary celebration, and has since been made available as part of their regular lineup due to popular demand. A traditional West Coast-style IPA, it was also the recipient of the 2011 Michael Jackson American Cask Ale Award at the British Beer Festival and the Bronze Medal for Imperial IPA category in the 2012 World Beer Cup.

Tasting Notes: This is only the second beer I’ve had from Green Flash, and the first experience (their Le Freak Ale) is one I feel I need to retry since my tasted have evolved since 2010 when I tried it. But regardless of that, I found this Imperial IPA to be most satisfying and worthy of the name “Palate Wrecker”. But with an alcohol content of 9.5% and a hop strength that exceeds 100 IBUs, that should come as no surprise. But then again, I am a notorious hop-lover, and this brew hits me where I live!

Appearance: Dark ruby/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong floral, citrusy, hoppy notes
Taste: Strong, sweet and coarse malt, powerful hop bitterness, citrus and passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and coarse malts
Overall: 9.5/10