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Waterloo (win the war of the playground)

I went to Waterloo (I was defeated, you won the war) yesterday, and played on a swing. It was without doubt the highlight of my week.

Other waterloo highlights were the fun times at the local supermarket, delicious Waterloo Tripel in distinguished ceramic glass, and finally ending the minutes of tension between the Flemish and Neapolitan armies.

Waterloo Tripel - really tasty!

The most beautiful empty crate I have ever emptied

For my birthday last year, Annelies suprised me with not just one sucker punch, but twenty-four, each bottled in a glass bottle marked ‘West Vleteren’.

West Vleteren beer is regarded by many Beer snobs as the beer to beat, consistently rated the best beer in the world (BeerAdvocate.com #1, RateBeer.com #1).

The 10.5% brew was an absolute joy to drink, tasting like a Rochefort with a caramal aftertaste.  The taste of alcohol is not at all overpowering, however this is no simple lager – the many complex flavours and thick malt make it a difficult to drink more than one bottle in a sitting.  I worked my way through half a carton in less than a month, however the last twelve lasted a good deal longer – the scarcity of the brew started to dawn on me.

One of the key ingredients that makes the beer all the more appealing is the difficult path one must take to actually aquire a bottle. For starters, the only place in the world to buy the brew is from the manufacturer themselves, a small monastory in West Flanders. Secondly, a maximum of two crates can be bought by any one car (not person) at a time. And after all that, West Vleteren is only available if you have made a pre-arranged appointment with the monastory, often several weeks in advance.

According to their website, there is no available beer between now and March, and quite possibly longer. It looks as though I’ll be waiting quite some time for my next West Vleteren fix!

In Belgian terms, Vosselaer is on the other side of the world to Gent, being exactly 101 km from the steps of my appartment. So it comes as no surprise that the beer of Vosselaar has never in the past made it to my refrigerator. Why drive 101 km when your local options are just so damn good?

Fortunately via the miracle of modern-logistics, the local beer-shop delivered me two of Vosselaer’s finest beers from the brewery ‘De Lelie‘, Dutch for ‘The Lily’, however tonight I only want to waste your time on one – the damnnnnn fine dark brew ‘Pater‘ (Dutch for Father)

This daddy of beers is amazingly dark (at least in the light I am writing in – which is to say ‘candle lit’), or amber if you believe the packaging. The taste is subtle, a little caramelly, a light hoppy after-taste, and an over-all glow-enducing sweetness that is neither sweet enough to rot teeth or encourage any silly post-pouring sugar lumps.

Pater has an alcohol content of 6%, quite a low value for the beers it shares fridge-space with, however this makes the perfect after-heavy beer when a simple pintje (lager) just won’t do.

Apparently I was supposed to let this beer settle for a few months to encourage further maturation in the bottle, however it’s Saturday night and who has time for that sort of nonsense. Not me, that’s who.

A few nights ago I started off with the De Lelie’s primary beer, “Paus‘ (Dutch for ‘Pope’), however this was not an entirely memorable experience. The beer was a little too malty for my liking, and didn’t really register on my palate. At least not enough for a review, to say the least. I remember drinking the entire glass, I suppose. So it can’t have been that bad.

Pater = 8/10.
Paus = Drunken, but nowhere near as good as Pater. I’ll give it a token 6.5 -> 7/10.