Thursday, March 12, 2020

WEEK 165---Searching for KBS in Belgium

I'm a firm believer that drinking craft beer is indeed a process of going through different phases of finding what is what in a beer--which is what many of us geeks out there have either gone through or in the midst of passing through one phase to another---starting from zero to slowly knowing how to appreciate a beer better--knowing how to differentiate what's a good beer, average beer, bad beer--and awesome beer....
craft beer是需要一个开拓味蕾鉴赏力过程的事,这是个人坚信的事,也是很多从零开始认识什么是craft beer到深陷个中魅力啤迷们都经历过的,过程中每个啤迷都会不同时期经历阶段性的追逐特定啤酒“魔咒”,在一定程度上这也其实代表着啤迷的味蕾和视野开拓过程,当然每个人会有不同目标,过程也不尽相同,以下是个人在探索过程中的其中一个阶段性速写:-
During this process of seeking better beer/exploring more varieties of beer styles---most geeks would have his or her own stories of looking out for a certain/particular beer at a certain time be it out of pure curiosity or in the name of trying to elevate one's palate appreciation ability--this is one such story of mine many years ago:-
It was a Spring season quite some years ago--i was in Brussels when somehow i heard there's some Founders KBS to be found at a bottle shop in Ghent---also there's a chance of finding another famous American stouts--Bell's Black Note at the same shop---and so i decided to visit Ghent on the next day---it was not in my original plan since i have already been to Ghent before but the lure of finding my first ever KBS was too tempting to say no--so i went.
那是多年前的一个春天,人在布鲁塞尔的我听说根特的一家瓶子店好像有数量不多的美国酿坊Founders的出名黑啤KBS(Kentucky Breakfast Stout),于是临时决定买火车票去根特找酒,其实因为以前去过了,这次比利时行程原本并没有计划要去根特,但是因为很想找看是不是能买到当时还没有机会喝到的KBS,而且听说还有另一款也很出名的美国酿坊Bells的黑啤Black Note所以还是临时起意去了。
Took a while for me to find the bottle shop in Ghent the next day after arriving at the train station--then bus--then walk around the area where bottle shop was kinda hidden a little from main road---went in and quickly look around for any signs of those precious American stouts---but none in sight---went to the counter to ask---promptly told by the guy manning shop( with a smile)--that had i visited yesterday when there's still a couple left i might have gotten them---but nope--no luck---all Sold Out.
So the plan to finding my first ever KBS in Belgium went dead.
因为是第一次去根特找这家瓶子店,从火车站搭巴士到走一段路,还确实花了些时间才找到稍微有点隐藏在小区的店,看了店里货架上满满的各式啤酒瓶子就是没看到想找的美国黑啤,于是去柜台问了店主先生,他看了一眼,笑笑说“KBS卖完了,要是你昨天来还有剩最後两支,Bells的黑啤也没有了。就那样我在比利时寻找美国黑啤的计划以失败告终。
对真正懂得比利时啤酒的一些啤迷来说,在比利时这个很多国外啤迷冲着天然发酵果酸啤酒每年特意飞来寻味的国度因为追逐美国黑啤而跑来跑去是会让人觉得有点可笑的事情,虽然当时的我其实也有去Cantillon酿坊“朝圣”,也在城里几家著名酒吧喝了一些天然发酵果实啤酒(Lambic),但是还是去找了一下美国黑啤,这大概说明了两件事,其一是自己当时对比利时啤酒特别是天然发酵果酸啤酒的认识还只是皮毛之外的皮毛,其二是自己的味蕾和鉴赏力还处于初步转型期中。
Of course to many geeks--especially Lambic lovers--my act of trying to seek out a KBS in Belgium would look rather silly---after all this is the "holy land of Lambic"where thousands of geeks flew in year after year "just to drink some Lambic"---well i did went to Cantillon---as well a few bars with nice Lambic selections during that trip---but my act of going to Ghent to look for American stouts did suggested 2 things:-
1. my understanding and love for Lambic at that time was only very little---i was only starting to trying to get to know the magical power of Lambic.
2. my palate appreciation ability was at early stage of turning a corner.
After the trip in Brussels---next was Copenhagen---for Copenhagen Beer Celebration(CBC---before it was eventually known as MBCC)----during the week leading up to the fest---i met a couple of guys from another Scandinavian country( can't remember which)--they were showing KBS in hands and was sort of saying they are sharing---well i did not get to sip any as they did not open the KBS when i was around---so again--no KBS.
比利时之后,接着去了哥本哈根啤酒庆典(Copenhagen Beer Celebration),那当然是好酒云集的一个星期,也会遇到很多欧美啤迷,其中一对来自北欧的兄弟(忘了是哪一个北欧国家)在一家酒吧说他们带来了一些酒可以分享,其中包括了被认为是主要吸引力的KBS,不过由于跟他们没怎么说上话所以并没有受邀参与,KBS当然还是没能喝到。
A few months after Brussels and Copenhagen trip---finally with the help of a beer friend in the States( as well some considerable $$ since the logistic cost from US to KL plus taxes alone was already not making much sense to any "normal" beer drinkers)---finally bought a bottle of KBS for a share here in KL with the guys from the group---it was a much smaller size bottle than imagined--but excited nontheless to finally able to get hold of one---obviously the 5 of us was looking forward to tasting it---well---after finally tasting it---the unanimous opinion? ---KBS was by far the most underwhelming/disappointing beer mail bottle we have gotten in from the States---considering the cost/time/expectations involved to getting this stouts---it was not worth the efforts as it was not heads and shoulders above some of the imported stouts we could get here locally---heck--it was probably even lesser in comparison---til now--that impression still lingers on.
那次比利时和哥本哈根之行之後隔了大概几个月时间,终于通过美国啤迷朋友的帮助和付出一定代价(单是从洛杉矶运送到吉隆坡的运费加本地海关课税就已经可以在本地酒吧喝上不少瓶其他酒)买到一瓶可以和几位本地啤迷朋友分享的KBS,因为是比一般750ml瓶装美国黑啤更小的容量,意味着我们五人只能分着喝到很小一杯,终于能嚐味的感觉还是让人很有期待的,不过,遗憾的是,实际喝到之后,品饮分享会在场的五个人一致觉得失望,因为喝起来无论香气口感层次余韵等元素都没有想象中那种大美国黑啤的霸气震撼精彩,那次品饮经验可以说是至今仍印象深刻的因为有期望所以蛮失望的体会。
In the world of craft beer----there is such a thing as "hype"--be it in positive terms or somewhat negative meaning---there will always be some beers which geeks will rave about/chase after---some new hyped ones would over take or even replaced a once very hyped/famous beer--- there are quite some reasons as to why this is happening---it could be due to another more delicious or more limited/harder to get beer popping up---or because the once hyped/famous beer no longer taste as awesome as previously made---or geeks simply gone tired of a particular beer and seeking out for newer ones---or the somewhat "odd" reason of the once hard to get beer is now so easily available there's no more hype factor.....
craft beer最大吸引力当然在于不同类型风格啤酒选择非常多,但也因为这样会出现啤迷或喜新厌旧或喜新不厌旧的心态,特别是如果住在欧美或就算住在亚洲但有门路可以找到心目中想要啤酒的不少啤迷,因为佳酿选择不在少数,有时候会出现一些几年前奇货可居或不少人追捧想一尝究竟的出名啤酒会在之后慢慢变成再也没什么人会像当时那样千方百计找酒,出现这种情况的原因不一而足,很可能是因为有更厉害更好喝或更难寻的啤酒出现了,可能是因为酒的素质跌了,可能是因为啤迷要求更高或口味转向其他类型风格了,也有可能是因为酿坊产量提高很多地方可以轻易买到,对一些啤迷来说少了那种奇货可居的“稀有感”等等,虽然听起来有点奇怪,但这是craft beer世界中一个特有现象。
Looking back---KBS in all fairness was not a bad beer---in fact it was a good stout( not using it is because it was already quite some years since i have had another KBS)---but obviously i will never try getting another KBS to be sent in from overseas---because the increased production and distribution meant that it's quite easily available in Asia now---also of course there are/ has been many other awesome stouts out there to be explored---also my palate for stouts has since been evolving.  The story of seeking out for a KBS in Belgium is just a process of finding a beer on the road to more awesomeness.
平心而论,KBS不是平庸之作,客观来说是一款好黑啤,不过如果要问会不会像之前那样从美国外求寄来的话当然不会再做了,除了因为有更多厉害美国黑啤的出现,自身味蕾鉴赏力的转变,也由于酿坊产量的大幅提升让亚洲不少城市包括本地酒吧近年都有机会买到,多年前在比利时寻找这款黑啤的记忆就只是寻找更多美味啤酒路途上的一个过程。

Sunday, March 1, 2020

2019 Most Memorable Beer List--by Liam (HK)

The final part of the annual most memorable beer list from last year--to conclude 2019 list---here's my Hong Kong geek friend Liam's list--- pics and Chinese version by Liam---with English transcript by me.
今年應該是第3年獲 Ct 邀請記錄一下精釀啤酒在上年讓自己印象最深刻的幾件事, 2019年可能比之前少了點品飲聚會但跟3beer geek 好友的9lambic之旅絕對是在自己10多年(老了.....)的精釀生涯很重要的一件事.......今次選了8 (或種類)印象最深的品飲筆記不詳述了感覺還是最重要.
This is the 3rd year in a row getting invitation from ct to write my review/list for most memorable ones/moments from last year---comparatively lesser bottle sharing sessions but a 9 days Lambic trip with 3 friends was definitely a very important moment of my 10 years+( sigh..getting old) or so craft drinking journey--I have picked 8 bottles/types in the list---not going to bother about tasting notes here--it's all about feelings...

1.Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen X De Cam Geuzestekerij "Millennium Geuze"
3 Fonteinen lambic 相信很多人也喝過但他們極少跟其他人合釀這枝在1998年跟De Cam推出的 "Millennium Geuze"已炒上天價幸好有4人一起在哥本哈根的 @1420 品嚐味道值這價錢嗎倒不如說這價錢對得住它的歷史和稀有度當然或多或少beer geeks都有份虛榮心.........當天還首次喝 @grote dorst  Geuze, 也相當出色!
A rarely seen collaboration brew by 3F & De Cam--with prices hitting the roof in secondary/grey market---had this one at @1420 Copenhagen as a group of 4---is the beer taste worth the price? let's just say the price would justify it's history and "rarity"---of course one could say part of geeks vanity is at play here----also had Gueze on the same day  from @GroteDorst--delightful.

2.Bokke lambics
Beer geeks 們都開始認識這精釀界冒起最快的新星, 雖然售賣的地方多了仍然不損其受歡迎程度, 各啤酒節都看到他們長長的人龍今次lambic trip 都在哥本哈根的 Koelschip  Restaurant Barr 喝到它當中的 "Levenwaters" (Levenswater 白蘭地桶陳釀), 和只在Restaurant Barr有售的 "Akevitt" (北歐烈酒桶陳釀), 確實在lambic中感受到各烈酒氣息十分厲害!
The fact that there are now more bars(which actually is still very few) with availability of Bokee does not in anyway diminishes it's popularity for geeks who came to know what this small blendery from Hasselt been doing---the lines during any beer festivals for them is always loooooong.  During the Lambic trip last year--had some Bokke at Copenhagen's Koelschip and Restaurant Barr--with "Levenwaters"( brandy barrel) and "Akevitt"(Scandinavia spirit) which only available at Barr being two memorable ones with clear indication of barrel/hard liqour influences in a lambic--impressive.

3. Brouwerij de Molen "666"
Lambic 之旅還喝其他好東西, @1420 庫存當然不只陳年lambic, De Molen 的旗艦 "Hel & Verdoemenis"和它各種變奏相信不少人喝過而我一路找尋其中的 "666"  "666-ish",  "H&V"加入浸過40年干邑木片陳釀味道酒體甜度 , 干邑氣息各種要素都極致平衡pastry stout這種極度重口味橫行下此酒讓我重燃對stout的喜愛 (很誇張.......), 更可說是我喝過最佳的 imperial stout!
De Molen's "666" & "666-ish" are two "Hel & Verdoemenis" variants which i been seeking out for---adding 40 years old bourbon wood chips while barrel aging---balance of taste/body/sweetness/ barrel was amazing---this is one hell of a stout--one which reignited my passion for stout(sounding exaggerating..?)--most likely the best imperial stout i have had so far.

4. Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen "Speling van het Lot (Twist of Fate)"
無錯又是 lambic, 又是3F, 去比利時布魯塞爾4我們到他們taproom3為的就是20多款的 "Twist of Fate" 和陳舊lambic.....此系列以加入 "瘋狂"劑量的水果著名 (1 Litre lambic 大約 500 g 水果!!!), 是次嚐了10多款以加入黑莓和士多啤梨最可口真的有幸福的感覺!
Yes--yet another lambic--yet another 3 F---the 4 of us were at their taproom 3 days in a row while in Brussels---the lure? the crazily fruited "Twist of Fate" series( 500 g fruits per 1 Litre lambic) as well as some old lambic--- we got to try about 10 plus variants--the ones with addition of black berries & strawberries were most delicious---so delicious it brought real happiness. 

5.酒精度 >10% triple/quadruple NE IPA
朋友都知我愛喝 NE IPA, 那果汁感實在讓我愛不釋手在現時大大小小的酒廠均能釀出高水準 NE/double NE IPA的世代高酒精的 triple或甚 quadruple IPA就是 "考牌"的款式酒精感和平衡度更難掌握NE IPA一線酒廠沒有讓我失望Other Half, Trillium  Tired Hands, 晚上一罐已讓你滿足一晚 (也安睡一晚, hahaha) 
I do love drinking NE IPA---fruitiness is the lure---personally for me an NE which is more than 10% --be it a "triple" or "quadruple" will be some sort of " examinations" to the brewers since the balance of beer will be harder test---so far the top names like Other Half. Trillium or Tired Hands hasn't disappointed---drinknig 1 can in the evening is good enough to satisfy( as well for a good night sleep...:) 

6.Mikkeller Baghaven "Polly"
太多搞作的MIkkeller 終於認真起來在家鄉的Baghaven區專做酒桶陳釀的wild ales, 這枝"Polly"加入石榴 (guava) "奇異莓"? (kiwiberries), 那石榴氣息強得誇張又好喝非常絕對是該廠最出色的一款當然其他也很可口, 讓我再次投入Mikkeller 懷抱.....
At last, a serious one from Mikkeller( which seems to be doing too many stuffs in recent years)---a wild ale brewed and barrel aged at Copenhagen's Baghaven--addition of guava and kiwiberries brought some really nice nose and deliciousness--other creations were tasty too but Polly really stood out for me---this is one which brought me back to Mikkeller's beer world.

7.The Answer Brewpub Fruit beers
這釀酒酒吧 (brewpub)以往聽得多, IG常說他們的水果啤酒超好喝今年終於嚐過.............在喝果汁嗎以往喝 New Glarus, Burley Oak, 都感覺到是酒類 The Answer的水果啤酒太不可思議因為100%像喝果汁!!! 當然歸功於超多的果蓉但還是喜愛多層次的 New Glarus!
Heard of this brew pub a lot--with many saying their fruit beer super tasty----but......am i drinking fruit juices? is it really beer? unlike when drinking fruit beer from the likes of New Glarus or say Burley Oak which you know it's beer----the ones from The Answer is 100% as if drinking fruit juices---though it's likely due to the super amount of fruits thrown in--still prefer New Glarus for a more layered brew.

8.2019 年的失望之作(The disappointing ones)
寫了那麼多好酒讓人失望的也可印象深刻......這裡說的全都是"期望越大失望越大"的代表我最喜愛的酒廠 Hill Farmstead佔了2"Civil Disobedience" 可說是其中的旗艦但這 citrus版本只有一個字 "", 沒有層次味道可言另一個則是Hill Farmstead波本桶陳釀的楓葉糖漿 (是糖漿......), 試過不同產地的楓葉糖漿包括Vermont但他們的完全感受不到甚麼波本氣息跟一般無異.......最後是 Ingenious Brewing "Hop Stone Series", 當時Avengers上映綽頭十足大家也萬分期待但當中的 IPA  stout 絕對是水準之下真的想用Infinity stones 變走它們, haha!
Among the tasty most memorable ones--there were some which were on the other side---mainly due to ' the bigger the expectations the bigger the disappointment" kinda experiences---for examples the citrus variant of "Civil Disobedience" from my favourite brewery Hill Farmstead---there was only sour and nothing much else---another is the bourbon barrel aged Maple Syrup from Hill Farmstead---though it's only maple syrup rather than beer but having tasted some different ones including from Vermont area---this one tasted like sugar syrup---no bourbon influence at all.
Lastly---"Hop Stone Series" from Ingenious Brewing--it was a hype during the release of movie " Avengers"--but the IPA and stouts were clearly below standards--wish i could use Infinity Stones to wipe them off......:)

Saturday, February 22, 2020

WEEK 164--Most Memorable Beer & Mead List--by ct (KL) Part 2/2

个人的2019清单下半部--列了几款值得一提但没有写入专栏的
Here's the second part of my 2019 list---with a few beers not mentioned in the newspaper column added under ' special mention" category below:-
Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 2011
Got this bottle from a Belgian friend some years ago( along with some other goodies)---been keeping it for few years though never really thought would end up cracking this in Tokyo during a bottle share---well in a way i feel more and more these past few years that whether you get to drink a beer or otherwise is at times about timing and so called "fate" too ---8 years is quite some wait to taste this one---was tasting amazing--with very nicely rounded layers of sour--hints of nutty/almond---a master piece which you would only want to slowly sip and enjoy while there's still some in a glass...
比利时天然发酵果酸啤酒(Lambic)对很多啤迷来说是酸啤类型中绝对的至尊,众多酸啤酿坊/作坊品牌中,这家是毋庸置疑的大师级别,在这家的好多不同款作品中,Lou Pepe系列属于较稀有难寻,由于果树果实的供应数量有限,这款以特定酸樱桃入酒的算是同系列三个不同风味中比较稀有难买的。
8年的时间让这款果酸啤酒更有韵味,层次非常圆润丰富,果酸美味中带有些杏仁坚果类风味,是让人只想慢慢尝味只怕喝完就再也没有的享受。

Baladin Xyauyu.Fume 2014
Barley Wine is something some people always thought of as a beer which is heavy on the sweet side as well as ABV---in simple terms its not a style easy on the palate as well as alcohol tolerance---but all those perception would be totally changed with this lovely brew from the Xyauyu series of barley wine---with smoky tone from the Islay Whisky barrel influence as well notes of bacon, cigar--this is one hell of a barley wine--really enjoyed this one.
至今喝过几款这家意大利酿坊酿造的大麦酒(barley wine),一定程度上来说,大麦酒普遍给人印象就是高酒精口感偏甜酒体偏薄的“重口”啤酒,不过,虽然啤迷对这家酿坊的其他类型啤酒评价不怎么样,但是对大麦酒还是很有一手,喝过这家的不同桶陈风味作品中,以这款非常有别于一般既定认知的最有印象,入口就有非常明显烟熏威士忌桶陈,培根,雪茄等风味,翻转一般对大麦酒单调印象,也是有趣美味的一款

Schramm's Nutmeg
The fruit Nutmeg is something most Malaysians( especially if you lived/been to Penang) are familiar with---from processed snack of Nutmeg to Nutmeg drinks to even Nutmeg medicinal oil--this really is a fruit i know of---and the first question i asked myself was how would Schramm's decrease the overly cloying/discomforting "burning sensation like" mouth feel associated with Nutmeg---and how well the mead master came out with a winning formula to harmonized the blend of Nutmeg and Honey---and best demonstrated by a glass which a geek friend has left for around/over an hour---it was tasting even more "thicker' in aroma and taste---nice balance of honey and Nutmeg--really impressed with this one.
豆蔻是马来西亚人熟悉的,特别是如果去过槟城的应该都有吃过买过腌制豆蔻零食或豆蔻油之类的。
这款美国顶级蜜酒酿坊的作品用的主要提味食材就是豆蔻,或许嚐过原味豆蔻的会知道这种果实会有让人感觉不是那么愉快的过腻刹口感或涩感,但这支豆蔻蜜酒完全没有出现任何豆蔻可能导致的负面口感,呈现出来的是豆蔻味道无误,蜜糖为基点的酿造方法突出了豆蔻香甜但喝多几口都不会让人感觉过腻。厉害的是,分享会中有朋友的杯子放了超过一个小时後再喝时,感觉整体豆蔻蜜酒的香气口感变得更醇厚好喝,当今世上少数最佳蜜酒酿坊之一的功力的确没话说。

Mills Running Beer
A bottle gifted by a UK geek friend and hand carried back by another geek friend to KL---this is of course a quite recent "hyped" brewery since bottles are limited and hard to come by---shared this during the annual 'customary" Xmas bottle session---did not expect much from this one really since in a way also do not know what to expect---tasting light sour with nice little 'bubble-ish" mouth feel--the wine oak barrel influence is obvious--there's some funk notes coming through--finishing with some dry tone but still pleasing.
英国啤迷朋友赠与的意外惊喜,这是一家近期被少数啤迷追捧的小酿坊,主攻天然发酵酸啤和农场风格啤酒,因为量少也因为被追捧,作品在英国境内已是难寻,所以非常感激啤迷朋友千里之外无私送酒的动作。
在本地啤迷朋友每年一次的圣诞重点瓶子分享会上开瓶时,对这支稀有瓶子并没有高期望,主要因为要对比利时境外的天然发酵酸啤抱持高期望值很可能是苛求也是不公平的,在没有预设期待情况下,一入口,酒的气味满满的是橡木桶影响,微酸带些细致气泡口感中浮现天然发酵特有异香,尾韵倾向干涩但不过份。

Cloud Water CY18 Citra
Thanks to John who been consistently bringing back some fresh UK cans for the past year--something really lacking in craft desert KL--obviously this town has seen quite some cloud water cans including this series of single hop IPA---had the opportunity to sample a few different single hop creation under this hand picked hops series--though Mosaic was really nice as well but personally for me this Citra one was really up there--nothing overly sweet/cloying for a NE-ish ipa---tasty, easy drinking with some depth---very nice.
虽然一直以来只要说到印度淡啤或者说近两三年大行其道的类果汁印度淡陴一定离不开美国酿坊,不过,这家来自曼彻斯特的英国酿坊绝对是NEIPA类果汁印度淡陴风行的代表酿坊品牌之一。
CY18系列标榜手选啤酒花,使用不同单一啤酒花酿造不同风味口感,通过不同啤酒花独有的香鲜甘苦或类似花草或类似香料等不同特质展现特选啤酒花的魅力。
这系列中共有六款,因为英国啤迷朋友的分享,有幸喝到其中几款不同单一啤酒花作品,每款都有高水平表现,个人觉得Citra啤酒花风味是系列中最让人回味的一款。

Side Project Smooth
The very first time this town has seen any sort of Side Project bottles---had this during the Xmas share---a fruited sour beer aged in French Oak barrel--was smelling and tasting Nectarine/Peaches --some funky tone with fruit skin like sour notes---probably not over-stating to say this is almost like a carbonated white wine with peaches.
第一次在本地出现的美国盛名酿坊果酸啤酒作品,这家位于密苏里州的酿坊原本只是主创酿酒师在帮另一家盛名酿坊工作时的业余酿造计划,但过人的酿酒实力让Side Project很快变成了不再是副业的盛名酿坊。
虽然有让啤迷追逐的厉害黑啤作品,这家酿坊主力还是酿造酸啤和农场风格啤酒,比如这款使用法国橡木桶加入密苏里油桃浸泡熟成的美式酸啤就是水准之作,入杯即散发桃子香气,类似果皮的微酸涩感中带点发酵异香,要说成是带点气泡的桃子白葡萄酒也无不可。
Grimm Stargazer
Had a few Grimm's sour beers on tap while in Tokyo--personally not impressed with some of those which i have had from this brewery more known for their hops based creation---but i was pleasantly proven wrong with this Gose---a typically sour and salty beer---with the play of raspberry and lemon--this one was tasting nicely sourish with appropriate salty note---but the big surprise was when a friend left his glass for far too long whereby the beer was tasting warmer than it should--but it became even more tastier with stronger notes of the fruits used with lingering after tone---what a pleasant surprise.....
以一家主要以印度淡陴作品闯出名堂的酿坊来说,这的确是让人感觉有点意外的美国酿坊低酒精度德式酸咸啤作品,以覆盆子加入柠檬,口感除了德式酸咸啤应有的酸味之外,尾韵也带出一点咸味,属于美味易喝类型,由于一起分享的啤迷朋友因为把自己那杯保留了好长一段时间,意味着啤酒已经回温到已经有点过温的程度情况下再喝,让我惊喜的是,酒的果香味非但没有挥发散掉反而变得浓郁,喝起来的感觉更有韵味,不由的对这款酿品所表现出来的果味层次感刮目相看。

Special Mention/特别提及
Speciation Spontaneous Generation
The first 100% spontaneously brewed beer from this "gypsy" brewery---for Lambic lovers this might sound either as a welcome note or the opposite since the Belgium masters has set such a high standards---anyway--if you have had some beers from Black Project before--then it's not surprising to know why this former brewer of B.P. would do a Lambic tone American sour beer.
Had this during a share in Tokyo while there were quite a few big big names bottle at the same session---but this one held it's ground--was tasting really nice---almost like a very low profile good sour hidden somewhere in the cellar awaiting for the right people to discover. 
美国新晋“吉普赛”酿酒师效仿比利时天然发酵果酸啤酒的作品,如果知道酿酒师自己出来之前是在另一家以酿造酸啤为人知的美国酿坊Black Project练功那就可以理解为什么这支酸啤是第一次通过全自然发酵方式进行,有幸在东京啤迷聚会上喝到,虽然同一个分享会上有着其他更具盛名的酸啤,但这支喝起来并不逊色,均衡的层次喝起来带微酸,没有特别抢的点,更像是一款扎实内敛的好喝酸啤。

Neon Raptor Total Eclipse(Jaffa Cake Stouts) & Star Play(DDH Pale Ale)
No doubt one of the rising stars from the UK craft scene---well demonstrated with those two( among others) that they can execute not only hops based beer but also other styles like stouts.
英国后起之秀酿坊,两款风格迥异的黑啤和啤酒花淡啤都酿得出色,是近期值得关注的英伦新晋酿造品牌之一

Hops Hog Reefer Hogs
An Ipa brewed from Thailand brewed by a 'farang" brewer---during the same session there were a few other IPAs from big names American breweries but this one really impressed with it's balance of hops and malt goodness---one thing to note is that geek friend who brought this one back said he had some beers including this same one on tap in Bangkok but it was not tasting as good---so you might want to take note that there might be some inconsistency issue with beers from this one.....
本地分享会喝到的泰国品牌作品(虽然酿酒师是老外),让人意外的均衡了啤酒花甘香苦涩和类果汁印度淡啤的果汁感。不过,带来分享的朋友说之前喝过其他不怎么样的作品,看来作品稳定度还有大力改进空间。

Saturday, February 8, 2020

2019 Most Memorable Beer List----by Kenneth(HK)

The list from geek friends around the region continues--this time with a list from my HK geek friend Kenneth who not only listed beers but also playfully listed a very Hill Farmstead look alike Japanese sake as well as Barrel Aged Maple Syrup...")
去年最有印象清单继续---这次是香港啤迷朋友Kenneth的自选清单---其中不只有啤酒---更有非常神似HILL FARMSTEAD的日本清酒和桶陈枫糖。。。。
Here we go---all words(both English & Chinese) written by Kenneth.         *(with very minor tweak by me)

2019 was a sad year for Hong Kong. However, personally it was a fruitful year on my beer journey. There was a lot of happening last year, had a lot of good beers, a few bad ones J , here’s a brief summary of what happened.
對於香港來說,2019是悲傷的一年。 但是,就我個人而言,這是我啤酒之旅中豐碩的年份。 去年發生了很多事情,喝了很多好啤酒 (也有幾款不好的),在這裡簡單重溫一下

1) A big bold stout in 1st Jan 2019! – The Bruery Chocolate Rain 2013 in the first day of 2019!
I am not a big stout fan boy however I had a great stout in the first day of 2019 which is 17% abv….not bad to be tipsy on the first day lol
我不是 Imperial Stout 的忠粉,但是在2019年的第一天就喝了一瓶擁17%酒精度的 Imperial Stout....! 2019年第一天就薰醉了... 
2) A fake Hill Farmstead?
I was so surprised when I saw that label, it looks 99% like a Hill Farmstead. However, it is actually a vintage Japanese sake…It shared some similar factors of a vintage beer, e.g. Sherry/Yellow wine like aroma, could Shaun make a good sake? No one knows but that if that happens, would definitely be a perfect one !
當我看到酒標時,感到非常驚訝,它看起來99% Hill Farmstead 的模樣,但實際上它是日本的熟成清...它具有與啤酒類似的風味,例如雪利酒/黃酒等老掉香氣,Shaun 能釀清酒嗎? 沒有人知道,但是如果發生這種情況,那絕對會是完美的!
3) The answers….
We did a few times “The Answer” tasting together with some beer geeks and every time we had the same struggle: “Were they a REAL beer?” No matter the answer is true or false, no one will refuse a beer/beer cocktail hybrid from “The Answer” 
我與幾位 Beer Geek 曾多次一起品嚐 “The Answer”,每次我們都遇到同樣的問題:它是真正的啤酒嗎?” 無論答案是對或錯,相信沒人會拒絕它

4) Monkish Blind Pug
While NEIPAs are still on the hyped train however, no one would reject a good west coast IPA. Monkish did a great job last year with Blind Pug, what about this year 2020? Pliny the Younger in bottle? Will see… 
NEIPA 仍在大行其道,但相信沒人會拒絕優質的 West Coast IPA 去年,Monkish 釀造的 Blind Pug 做得非常好,2020年呢? 瓶裝的 Pliny The Younger 嗎? 等著瞧吧…

5) Gungnam Style….
There were a lot of great breweries growing recently across Asia markets, Korean breweries should be one of those to look at. When I was in Seoul last March 2019, had a great time at Mysterlee Brewing Co, in the city center of Seoul. They offer great American style, NEIPA and Stout were great   
最近幾年,亞洲市場湧現許多優質的啤酒廠,韓國的啤酒廠應該是其中一員。 我去年3月在首爾市中心的 Mysterlee Brewing Co度過了愉快的時光。 他們提供的美式風格,NEIPA Stout 都很棒! 

6) Barleywine is Life….
Barleywine is LIFE….and it is REAL! I was so surprised for Alpine Great 2018, so delicious, complex yet balancing between barrel and maltiness. What a wonderful life~
Barleywine is LIFE...它是真實的! 我對 Alpine Great 2018感到非常驚訝,如此美味,複雜而又平衡了波本桶及麥芽風味。美好的生活大概如此...

7) Lambic is LIFE too….
No one will reject a good Lambic, especially you have a chance to drink them on site! The experience at Cantillon and In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst were fantastic! Cantillon Fou’ Foune and Bokke Steen were so great! Even better to have  geeks sharing too.
沒有人會拒絕一款好的 Lambic,尤其當有機會在現場喝! Cantillon In de Verzekering tegen de Grote Dorst 的經歷真是太棒了! Cantillon FouFoune Bokke Steen 都超棒! 能跟不同地方的酒友分享更是有趣的!

8) Drink local….
A lot of local awesome brews were made last year, quality and consistency kept improving. One of the most memorable was from Yardley Brothers, a Double Barrel IPA. It wasn’t like an IPA at all, more likely an American wild ale with good funkiness and balanced with right bitterness, simply like when you are enjoying Anchorage Bitter Monk…
去年,許多香港本地酒廠都釀造了多款很棒的啤酒,質量和穩定性都不斷在提高。 最難忘之一是來自Yardley Brothers Double Barrel IPA。它根本就不像一款IPA,更像 American Wild Ale,具有很和諧的 Funkiness 和適度的苦味,就像 Anchorage Bitter Monk 差不多的感受...
9) Hidden Gems from Brexit…
One of the biggest happening last year on my Beer journey was related to my London visit. As a beer judge at World Beer Awards, Great British Beer Festival and London Craft Beer Festival, Bermonsey and Hackney Beer Trails were all amazing. One of the most unforgettable memory was at Earth Ale, a nano brewery at North London, which is located just a few minutes walk from where I stayed during my studies in London many years ago. The brewer Alex is a fantastic guy with good knowledge of how to use right amount of different herbs/ingredients on beers.
去年在我啤酒之旅中,其中最深印象之一是在倫敦遊歷。 作為 World Beer Award 的評審之一,Great British Beer Festival London Craft Beer FestivalBermonsey Hackney 的啤酒路線圖都很棒。 最難忘之一是北倫敦的一家小班啤酒廠 Earth Ale,距我多年前在倫敦學習期間所住的地方,只有幾分鐘的步行路程。 釀酒師 Alex 是一個了不起的傢伙,他對如何在啤酒上使用適量的不同草藥/成分有很好的認識。

10) Best of 2019
The most memorable beer I had in 2019…..Schieve Saison from De La Senne x Crooked Stave! It is a rustic Saison, aged for a year in wine barrel. For a 90%-like Hill Farmstead farmhouse ale which cost lower than US$5, how could anyone might come to hate it?~
我在2019年最難忘的啤酒,是來自 De La Senne x Crooked Stave Schieve Saison 這款典雅的 Saison,曾經在葡萄酒桶中熟成一年。 對於價格低於5美元,但跟 Hill Farmstead Farmhouse ale 90%相似,怎麼會讓人討厭呢〜

11) Last but not the least….
Things that only a beer geek would do….brought a Hill Farmstead Barrel Aged Maple Syrup to Mac Donald…..what a perfect match with Hot pancakes!
只有 Beer Geek 才會做的事情... Hill Farmstead 桶陳楓糖漿帶到 Mac Donald...與熱香餅完美搭配!