Over on Twitter, where I have an account, there is a hashtag called HopGodFriday which I have found myself taking part in from time to time. Now and again I even get to join in with the theme of the evening. It so happened that, a couple of weeks ago, it was announced that Petrus would be hosting the evening between 8 and 10 on last Friday. They contacted me and offered to send me free samples to be involved. Who am I to say no to that?
They arrived. Aged Pale, Oud Bruin and Aged Red in a parcel delivered during the Thursday and I looked forward to their plans on the Friday. Thus is formed my review of the evening. A great hosting by Petrus Sour Beers on Twitter - and I'm not saying that because they sent me free stuff (though they sent me free stuff) - I felt very much part of the affair and it was a lot of fun.
They also told us a lot about brewing in foeders and the history of the brewery in Belgium. I'm afraid all I can really tell you (because it's all I really remember) are the tasting notes. Would you like to know more?
We were told with each tasting that we had to keep enough back (about half a bottle) for a surprise activity at the end of the session, so I duly did so, sneakily keeping around three quarters of the bottle each time because I am a lightweight and tricksy and false. Nevertheless, I discern some method to their progression now that I'm not certain I noticed at the time.
First on the list was the Aged Pale, the most famous of their brews, being, well, a sour pale at 7.3% ABV and in a rather fetching bottle. Mind you, they all were, so that says little.
see here) from Brampton. Certainly you could taste that this had been brewed in wine barrels and that the wood, being oak, came from the Normandy region of France. It reminded me very much of the time we went as a family, when I was young, to see vineyards in France and the samples of champagne they handed out to the public - the sort of stuff that they can't sell for whatever reason. It was thus tangy and sour, like the sweets you can get with apple flavouring, but with a logical progression from hops to aftertaste that kept it all hanging together with the thread of synthesis. Like a decent Sixth Form essay each bit of the taste did a different job from the overwhelming sour hit on the opening, then softening in the middle before leaving a dry and apple-like aftertaste. I was, I'll admit, rather impressed and this was nothing like I had been expecting.
Second on the taste schedule was Oud Bruin, the younger ale that had the Aged Pale tempered with some of the browner ale they produce, at 5.5% ABV, the lightest of all of them.
see this link) and I would suggest that this ale would do better with a meal and some accompaniment. It wasn't a bad ale, but in the company it was keeping it did rather come second.
Thirdly we embarked on the sweeter brew: Aged Red, being a cherry red ale at 6.8% ABV, and this was the most surprising of all.
I finished them off the following morning, because I remain a heathen, and confirmed that I preferred the Aged Red straight of all of the brews. I still like the Aged Pale and it is the sort of ale that I would recommend for christenings and weddings - the one that you can use to replace the champagne on arrival for the toast - because it is a rather good little ale. Willow told me she smelled more Lambrini than champagne but, in her defence, this was the following morning, so that may not be an accurate depiction. The Oud Bruin I would keep for cooking and for drinking with the thing you just cooked with it, it's that sort of ale and would work well in Flemish stew.
All in all, a rather eventful Friday evening and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.