Wednesday, July 29, 2009

29. Brasserie à Vapeur Saison de Pipaix

La Brasserie à Vapeur is located in Pipaix, Belgium, which is 15 km from Tournai and 74 km from Brussels. While that really does nothing to clarify their location for me either, I'm just passing along the information I found on the maps on their website.

Saison de Pipaix has a bit of a sour smell in the nose mixed with wood and pepper notes; the rich copper hue works well with the creamy ivory head, and there was decent lacing left on the glass as we finished the beer. It begins citrusy—smooth, but no clear malt flavor—before moving first into tartness and then into sourness as it moves across the tongue, and finishes with a spicy/peppery citrus taste. There is a smooth, rounded but simultaneously sharp mouthfeel; there is spiciness evident across the range of the beer’s profile. Saison de Pipaix does lose the tartness as it warms, although it maintains its sourness. Overall, an interesting and well-crafted beer—the sourness in the body makes it reminiscent of Flemish Sours or something like Rodenbach’s Grand Cru, but it simultaneously has the spiciness and flavor profile of a saison. The combination works exceedingly well—not only did we both enjoy this beer immensely, it is our first official potential Top 10 candidate for the year.

From Brasserie à Vapeur’s website: “a traditional Wallonian saison beer, born with the brewery in 1785. Dry, normally hopped, slightly acidic, very spicy (black pepper, ginger, sweet orange peel, curaçao, star anise...)"

La Brasserie à Vapeur is a steam-powered brewery, and offers brewery tours where you can watch them brew their beers: "We brew the last Saturday of every month. The mixing of the wort in the mash tub starts at 9 a.m. and lasts all the day. You are cordially invited to share this day with us." Hanging out for the day watching them brew and getting fed sounds much better than how I normally spend my Saturdays--I just need to find a way to start spending my Saturdays in Belgium. Ah, to be such a jet-setting trend setter.

ABV: 6%


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