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Preternaturally from the Mind of De Clerck, Part 2: Chimay Blue

It is true that he educated Father Theodore in modern practices, and guided him through the development of the recipes for these world famous beers, but I cannot think of a single element of the taste of this beer that is not determined by a pre-exisitng Belgian cultural force, whether it be a temperance movement, the domestication of microzoa, or the historical influence of Belgian farmers’ sugar making practices. It seems to me that De Clerck used the tools of modern zymurgy to bring Belgian cultural tendencies to a very high expression.

Preternaturally From the Mind Of De Clerck: The Great Beer Theory

The central question of War and Peace is: Did Napoleon cause history, or did history cause Napoleon? The central question of Belgian brewing is: Did Jean De Clerck create the landscape of modern Belgian beer or was he simply a particularly active and efficacious function of pre-existing social patterns, namely folk brewing practices and modern science in the wake of Pasteur?

Eating the Woods Part 3: Among the Pines

First you gather your materials: the stones you will burn, the juniper branches and berries, the barley and rye, the wood for the fire, and some food and drink as you know this will take all day in the sauna.

Eating the Woods Part 2: Mam’zelle

Don’t let your uncle tell you how he misses old fashioned beers like Bud Light. A pilsener is newfangled nonsense. These sour, dark, smokey, high alcohol, spicy, herbally bitter, witchy, healthful brews were the original beers. They were called gruits.

The Syrup Koan Part 3: Life & Limb

We get the essence of the taste of the tree without the tannins of the wood itself, and the bigness of the beer without the oiliness of a huge grain bill. We’re back to a syrup koan: the essence of the birch is kept, but the tricky business of the body is excluded.

The Syrup Koan Part 2: Brunch Punch

The radical difference of flavor comes from the peculiar combination of honeys and the yeast used, both of which collaborate to produce the strange “quoted” sensation of the fruitiness.

Yeast is a Rainbow (Really!) Part 4: Cuvee Soeur’ise

Cuvee Soeur’ise is a pun on “sister” and “cherry,” in French “soeur” and “cerise”, and the word play points to the collision of Trappist and fruited sour traditions. This punning beer combines two very distinctive, very different classic beer styles of Belgium: the tripel and the kriek. A tripel is a clear, light-colored, high-gravity ale with pronounced notes of pepper, nougat, bubblegum, and apple from the Trappist or Trappist-like yeast used, and a good bit of perceived sweetness, though relatively few actual residual sugars. A kriek is a lambic aged on sour cherries: this rose-colored beer has the taste of fresh cherries without any of their sweetness, the complex tropical… Read more »