Wednesday, March 4, 2009

25 Things We Love About L.A. # 3 - Belgian Beer Festival @ Lucky Baldwin's Pub

For the past 10 years, the great people over at Lucky Baldwin's Pub in Pasadena have been hosting one of the largest Belgian Beer drinking festivals this side of the Atlantic Ocean. The fest runs for the last 2 + weeks of February and there is now a new follow-up festival in August.

If you love beer like we do, this is the one time of the year to make sure you are in town...To that avail, our friends and family have made this a holiday of sorts with mass group outings the past few years on each weekend of the fest...

What makes this so fantastic is the incredible amount of beer they fly in from Belgian and have flowing through their 60 taps. The brews rotate each day as kegs get kicked and new barrels get delivered. Served in their proper glasses, Chimay taster glasses or one of the unique festival glasses, each beer has its own unique identity, flavor and story. Up and to the left is the beer menu from Saturday Feb 21, Day 8 of this year's festival, signed by the entire clan.

This year St. Feuillien sponspered the festival and one of the highlights was their seasonal Easter Beer. A medium bodied dubbel with a spicy undercurrent and a little sweetness on both the nose and palate, we enjoyed a glass of this each day we visited the fest.

Another favorite of ours and a standard in the Gallerka household is the old ABT 12 from St. Bernardus. Pictured here in one of the LB festival glasses, this brew is the king of beers. Strong, dark and beautiful, # 12 is a rich, smooth, woody, malt filled festival in your mouth with a high alcohol content (10.5%) and is meant to be enjoyed as often as you can.

Unfortunately for us, on the big day trip this year, few of the Dupont or Consondonk beers were available on tap. But never fear, at Lucky's they have one of the greatest bottle selections in the area and we were able to enjoy a big bottle of Avec Les Bons Voeux, pictured here, during our game of bones. Notice the beautiful golden color of the cloudy farmhouse style unfiltered ale, this beer is even better in the bottle due to its refermentation once it is capped. An incredibly drinkable beer and dangerous with 9.5% alcohol content, this brew was originally made for Dupont to give as a New Years present to their family and favorite clients, it's now in regular rotation. Simply an amazing brew.

Another wonderful beer that is only available by the bottle is the #10 from the Trappistes Rochefort. This one is a true sipper. Well balanced, dark and sugary, you can really taste the alcohol in this 11.3% winner. Served in its proper glass, the complexity of this beer really comes through with dark dried fruit flavors popping through the rich malty taste. We rarely find this beer here in LA on the shelf at Bev Mo, but I was reminded how much I love this beer on a recent trip to Paris when we visited La Cave a bulles, a boutique beer shop in the 4e. Simon, the owner and a true beer connoisseur, was showing us all the wonderful Belgian style French made Noel beers, when we came across a bottle of this and he reminisced on how the #10 was the beer that made him love beer... If you are ever in Paris, we fully recommend a visit to his shop.

A beer you can find easily here in LA and the name of the sister pub of Lucky's, Delirium Tremens is one of our go to staples when we are looking for a classic golden lacy Belgian to wash down some mules frites or fish and chips. Pictured here are the family of Delirium Beers: Delirium Noel (left), Delirium Tremens (middle) and Delirium Nocturum (right).

So to recap all that wonderful and tasty beerformation we have, here's a list of some of the beers that stood out to us and hopefully you can try too on your next trip to Brussels or over to Lucky's if that plane flight proves to be too expensive...

Affliglem Noel (A 9%) Spicy Noel with straw, hay, caramel/brown sugar flavors

Avec Les Bons Voeux (A+ 9.5%) Spicy yeast, with tart fruit and floral tones

Cherish Kriek (B+ 5%) Cherry beer with a funky taste

Corsondonk Brown Ale (A 8%) Murky, dark brown in color, dried fruits, bread and a little bitter

Corsondonk Pale Ale (A- 7.5%) Bread and fruit. Golden and a ton of head

Delirium Tremens (A- 9%) Golden, lacy and easy to drink

Dulle Teve Tripl (B+ 10%) Yeast, flowers, sweet molasses

Dupont Foret (A 7.5%) Earthly, yeasty and delicious with floral, fruit and spicy flavors

Dupont Saison A (6.5%) Herbal, light earthly with notes of fruit. Unfiltered Farmhouse style

Gouden Carolus Ambriol (B 8%) Dark amber with slight fruit sweet scent. Lots of alcohol flavor

Gouden Carolus Tripel (B+ 9%) Classis triple with yeast and citrus flavor

Grimbergen Double (B+ 7%) Apple, clove, with some spice and a bitter finish

Kapitell ABT (A- 10%) Complex yeasty funky malt taste. High alcohol flavor

Mannekin Pis (B+ 4.5%) Lemon, orange blanche style with a little bread and spice

Maredsous 10 (A 10%) Dark orange in color with malty slightly tart taste. Earthy hops abd a little bitter

Roquefort 10 (A+ 11.3%) Caramel, dark fruit with slight spice and high alcohol taste

St. Bernardus ABT 12 (A+ 10.5%) Dark, malty & smooth with hints of dark dried fruit and strong musty, woody flavors

St. Feuillien Easter Beer (A 7.5%) Burnt sugar, tropical fruit, lots of underlying spice

t Smisje Special (B+ 12%) Very strong caramel flavors and a high alcohol content

And don't miss out because the Belgian Beer Festival was just extended through this weekend so head over to Lucky's and enjoy some of the finer things in life!

Lucky Baldwin's Pub
17 S. Raymond Ave,
Pasadena, CA 91105

Cave à bulles
45 rue Quincampoix
75004 Paris

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