It's become a bit of tradition for me to drag Dolores to the Bokbier Festival each year.
plan is simple, arrive when it opens on Saturday, grab two of the three
seats provided and bugger off again when it starts getting crowded. It
works pretty well. The biggest challenge is avoiding the inevitable
stinkers amongst the beers. Quite literally stinkers. I've learned some
of the breweries to avoid, but there's always an element of risk.
I play it very safe to start with:
SNAB Ezelenbok 7.5% ABV
Darkish brown. Liquorice, sweetish, dark fruits. Not bad.
Rubelijn Herfstbok 7% ABV
Metallic and slightly odd tasting.
doesn't like either. So she nips off to the HEMA to get some orange
juice. We've brought a plastic glass with us for this very eventuality.
Dolores mixes her dodgy beer with orange juice.
"Much better," she says, "like an alcopop."
While she's finishing her alcopop I fetch another beer for myself:
Erik's Bier Imperial Stoute Chocolade Bok 9.5% ABV
Black. Does what it says on the tin. Very stouty and chocolatey.
Dolores: "Definitely chocolatey. Tastes much better than the stuff I diluted with orange juice. This one is like oil."
"Do you like it?"
"The other one was worse."
Animal Army Howling Wolf 6.8% ABV
Supposedly English in style. Fairly light brown. Sweet and vegetably.
Dolores: "It's OK."
Me: It's got an odd vegetably flavour. Like boiled cabbage."
Dolores: "Does it? I can't taste it."
Another conservative choice from me:
Emelisse Autumn Doppelbock 11% ABV
Mid brown. Smoke, smoke, smoke. And toffee.
Dolores (pulls a a funny face): "I don't know about that. Don't write down everything I say. I hate that."
She's not keen on the beer.
I've got Dolores what should also be a safe bet.
Lindeboom Herfstbock 6.5% ABV
Pale-ish brown. Much sweeter than I remember. Not quite as bad as Grolsch Bok, but going that way.
Dolores: "It's like burned sugar. Candy sugar. We had these orange lump things when we were kids. Really crap, cheap sweets."
Me: "Most of the sweets we had as kids were just pure sugar with lurid colouring."
Kleiburg Quadrupel Bock 13% ABV
Pretty black. Smells like an ash tray. Tastes like cheap bourbon that's been used to wash out an ash tray.
Dolores: "Tastes like pipe cleaner. It's far too strong."
Me: "What do you think?"
Dolores: "I couldn't drink that. Could you?"
Me: "It's 13%. I'll give it a try."
Me: "If you gulp it quickly you can hardly taste it. Just don't sniff, whatever you do."
I force it down and fetch another Emelisse.
Oudaen Herfstbock 7% ABV
Me: "How is it?"
SNAB Ijsbock 9%
I always save this until last. Mmm. Full of alcoholly goodness.
Dolores (pulls face): Quite sour, isn't it?
Me: "I don't find in particularly sour."
It's getting crowded so we pack up and go.
Advice for Pub Staff, 1965, Pt.1 — the Beer - The 1965 book Bar Service offers a snapshot of what was going on in pubs at the time and contains lots of interesting, often amusing, details. It was wri...
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