September 2017 - Best Belgian Ale

This month's Beer feature is Best Belgian Ale
Best Belgian Ale Reviews
220232
Unibroue
La Résolution Dark Ale
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of sarsaparilla, gingerbread, dark chocolate mint and graham crackers, and menthol-eucalyptus lozenge with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, long spiced melon, chocolate fondue with pears, and toffee finish. A robust, spicy, herbal Belgian strong ale that begs another sip.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220106
Unibroue
La Fin du Monde
Clear gold color. Floral, spicy aromas and flavors of geranium and lavender, honeyed citrus zest and seed, and spice cake with a chewy, bright, fruity medium-full body and a warming, nuanced, very long spiced apples, tropical mint chutney, exotic peppercorn bread, and radish sprouts finish. A artfully balanced and flavorful tripel that begs another sip.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220231
Unibroue
17 Grande Reserve Dark Ale
Hazy mahogany color. Woody aromas and flavors of cedar pencil and eraser, green tobacco leaf and chicory, roasted nuts and bananas, and smoked peppercorns with a satiny, soft, finely carbonated, dryish medium body and a warming, captivating, medium-length caramelized root vegetables, cocoa-dusted nuts, and rubber leaf and sap finish. A oaky Belgian offering.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220233
Unibroue
17 Grande Reserve Dark Ale
Murky mahogany color. Curious aromas and flavors of warm rubber eraser, cocoa powder, birch bark and herb rub, and fig and raisin toast with a supple, soft, finely carbonated, dryish medium-to-full body and a tingling, easy chocolate yogurt with granola, nut skin, baked beans, and earth finish. An earthy beer for the table.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220704
Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Cuvée 800 Abbey Ale
Hazy light gold color. Aromas and flavors of toasted brioche, soufflé, delicate spice, and lilacs and geranium with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, refreshing, medium-length kiwi and starfruit, watercress, and minerals finish. A delicate, effortlessly drinkable Belgian single that is artfully balanced.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220690
Brasserie Dupont
Saison Belgian Farmhouse Ale
Clear gold color. Aromas and flavors of honey roasted fruits and yams, buttery praline, pastry, and dried flowers and ocean mist with a slightly chewy, lively, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, nuanced, very long peppercorn muffin, melon and apple, watercress, and caramelized citrus finish. A fantastically flavorful and balanced saison for all occasions.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220695
Brouwerij Timmermans
Oude Gueuze
Hazy old gold color. Sour aromas and flavors of lemon, white balsamic vinaigrette, nectarine, and gauze and horse blanket with a supple, puckering, finely carbonated, sour full body and a tingling, very long peach pit, lemon and kiwi seed, lemon zest on sourdough toast, and olive brine finish. A wonderfully bracing and appetizing gueuze that invigorates the palate and will be marvelous at the table.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220697
Sprecher Brewing Co.
Belgian Quad Ale
Dark reddish mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of peanut and cashew butters, chocolate dried fruits and hazelnuts, and cream of wheat with maple with a satiny, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, stimulating, medium-long caramelized nuts and cherries, sweet and peppery spices, and Swedish rye and wheat crackers finish. A delightfully flavorful and balanced quad that will be fun on its own or with desserts.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220108
Unibroue
Trois Pistoles
Dark medium brown color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate nuts and mousse, caramelized yams and carrots, polenta, and delicate with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a warming, interesting, long dried fruits, sassafras, spiced apples and pomegranates, and caramel roasted nuts finish. A rich, dense strong ale with a warm, caressing finish.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220694
Dubuisson
Scaldis Noël
Brilliant sunburst color. Tropical aromas and flavors of spiced bananas, pink peppercorn muffin, caramel buttercream frosted rum cake, and cola float with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity light-to-medium body and a peppery, charming, medium-length panettone, spiced fruits, praline, and sugar snap peas finish. A warming and relaxing Belgian strong ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220960
pFriem
Belgian Strong Blonde
Minutely hazy gold color. Herbal aromas and flavors of poultry seasoning, schmaltz cookie, panettone, and apple jacks cereal with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, intricate, long toasted zucchini spice bread, sassafras, salted caramel, and pepper finish. A rich, well-balanced Belgian strong ale that will reward patient sipping and cellaring.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220688
Samuel Adams
Stony Brook Red Ale
Minutely hazy burnt sienna color. Attractive, sourish aromas and flavors of honeyed sour cherries, lemon-berry vinaigrette, cherry cobbler, and pickle relish with a satiny, racy, finely carbonated, sweet-and-sour medium-to-full body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long green apple skin, dark raisin bread, nut skin, and cocoa finish. A nicely approachable, tart Flanders Red with fine flavor and balance.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220109
Unibroue
Lune de Miel
Cloudy amber color. Floral, earthy, herbal aromas and flavors of herb garden, jasmine, lavender and sage, spiced citrus, and exotic spice honeycomb with a velvety, lively, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, stimulating, long banana soufflé, spiced nuts, watercress, and pears in cream of wheat finish. A complex and captivating Belgian amber ale with beautifully balanced floral spice and herb notes.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220110
Unibroue
Terrible
Dark brown color. Aromas and flavors of butter roasted pecans with chocolate, fruitcake, caramelized parsnips, and mint cream with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, very long dried cherries, spiced praline, earth, and cherry tobacco finish. A delicious and seamless Belgian quad with that is remarkably balanced and approachable.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220107
Unibroue
Maudite
Clear maroon color. Aromas and flavors of root beer float, jasmine and lavender, and raisin spice cake with a satiny, crisp, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, long coriander, lemon poppyseed muffin, cola, and peppered greens finish. A rich, rewarding Belgian dubbel that stimulates and inspires.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220687
Samuel Adams
Thirteenth Hour Stout
Dark brown color. Interesting, savory aromas of black licorice, malted chocolate toffee, and edamame and tamari with a chewy, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, elegant, very long sherry vinaigrette and craisins on kale, sautéed almonds, dried mushrooms, and mossy earth finish. Lots of enticing umami and sherry notes make this a great dark sour choice for a savory meal or meditative nightcap.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220698
Sprecher Brewing Co.
Belgian Tripel Ale
Brilliant minutely hazy amber color. Floral aromas and flavors of caramelized sweet potatoes and carrots, lemon muffin and blossoms, and banana salt water taffy with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long vanilla sundae and caramel apple and macadamia nuts finish. A nice chewy, caramelly tripel for sipping and desserts.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220831
Tenute Collesi
Rossa Belgian-Style Amber Ale
Cloudy mahogany color. Attractive, toasty, spicy aromas and flavors of honeyed spiced chestnuts and pine nuts, carob bar, and figs and dried fruits with a satiny, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, appealing, medium-length cola, rhubarb jam on toast, spice cake, and rubber leaf and sap finish. A solid Belgian amber ale with nice drinkability.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220703
Brasserie de l’Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Triple Abbey Ale
Minutely hazy yellow straw color. Savory aromas of egg croissant, peppercorn muffin, roasted root vegetables, and floral honeycomb with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long pressed flowers, spiced yams, lettuce, and grapefruit sorbet finish. A tasty, relaxed, easy-drinking, "session" tripel.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220696
Brasserie Lefebvre
Blanche de Bruxelles Belgian White Ale
Minutely hazy yellow color. Floral, citrusy aromas and flavors of dried lavender, lemon soufflé, and coriander and grains of paradise with a silky, crisp, effervescent, light-to-medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long frosted wheat nut pastry, honeyed clementine and apple and pear finish. A very pretty and very refreshing witbier that hits the floral spicy mark with grace.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220692
Dubuisson
Cuvee des Trolls Belgian Blonde Ale
Cloudy old gold color. Herbal aromas and flavors of banana chips, vanilla cream pastry, herb rye muffin, and chalk with a slightly chewy, bright, finely carbonated, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, appealing, long praline, spiced kiwi, and peppered sprouts finish. A rich, engaging Belgian blonde that with chewy malt and snappy, palate-tingling finish.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220693
Dubuisson
Scaldis Amber Belgian Ultra Strong Ale
Brilliant amber color. Buttery aromas and flavors of honeyed spiced tropical fruits, peach tea, sarsaparilla, and dulce du leche gelato with a satiny, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity full body and a warming, intricate, long brandied caramelized bananas and pears and pepper jelly on toast finish. A bold, powerfully flavorful Belgian strong ale with rich fruit malt and a long warming finish.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220699
Sprecher Brewing Co.
Belgian Dubbel Ale
Medium reddish mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate cherries and papayas, toffee, buttercream frosting, and dark roasted nuts and bark with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, engaging, long hint of licorice and watercress finish. A delightfully chocolatey malty dubbel that is a pleasure to drink.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220833
Tenute Collesi
Triplo Malto Belgian-Style Specialty Ale
Brilliant hazy gold color. Herbal, spicy aromas and flavors of herb muffin, delicate spiced nuts, and dried flowers and bananas with a satiny, bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long delicate pepper and mint, radicchio, and caramelized spiced apples and pears finish. A very inviting and satisfying Belgian ale with rich malt and spicy hop notes.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220689
Affligem
Belgian Style Blonde Ale
Light gold color. Earthy, citrusy aromas and flavors of honey roasted corn, spiced orange cake, starfruit and gooseberry, and cedar with a supple, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a sleek, medium-length pepper bread and arugula finish. A rich, chewy Belgian blonde that needs a bit of time to open up and will be great at the table; serve lightly chilled.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220686
Samuel Adams
New World Tripel
Clear old gold color. Aromas of flowers in a clay vase, honey roasted corn and nuts, and frosted banana cake with a supple, crisp, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, long carrot cake, corn fritters, praline, and peppered greens finish. A chewy, fruity tripel with a nice savory streak.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220832
Tenute Collesi
Bionda Belgian-Style Blonde Ale
Minutely hazy golden amber color. Spicy, floral aromas and flavors of stone fruit chutney, tropical blossoms, banana creme brulee, and bit of honey with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, interesting, long honeyed lettuces and nuts and dried fruit finish. A bright, chewy Belgian blonde that satisfies with every sip.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220752
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Mid-Westvleteren
Hazy mahogany color. Nutty, woody aromas and flavors of black strap molasses and licorice, butter roasted nuts, sour cherry yogurt, and tomato focaccia with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a easy cinnamon raisin toast, nut skin, cedar and Spanish moss, and bitter greens and bark finish. A surprisingly soft and easy quad for the table.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220234
Unibroue
Raftman Belgian Smoked Ale
Dull copper color. Malty aromas and flavors of deviled ham sandwich, smoked spices, crusty dark bread, and hint of mint with a round, crisp, finely carbonated, dryish medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long toasted pumpernickel, jicama and radish, dark caramel, and lentil finish. An attractive, slightly smoky Belgian ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220235
Unibroue
Noire de Chambly Belgian Black Ale
Minutely hazy walnut color. Attractive aromas and flavors of chocolate covered macaroon and dried fruits, toffee, and delicate spice with a round, bright, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, medium-long banana nut muffin, roasted apples, and hint of cedar finish. A nice nutty, approachable Belgian specialty ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220700
Sprecher Brewing Co.
Belgian Enkel Ale
Clear gold color. Meaty, toasty aromas and flavors of ham on rye, cooked peas and corn, and coriander with a slightly chewy, bright, dryish medium-to-full body and a silky, cheery dried flowers and citrus, yeasty cookie dough, honey cream, and oat cake finish. A chewy, abbey single with savory table appeal.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220751
The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co.
Mid-Westy Blonde Ale
Pale gold color. Fruity aromas and flavors of fruity caramel fudge, sour cream frosted fruit cake, and multigrain cereal with a slightly chewy, soft, effervescent, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, refreshing, medium-length plantain chips, spiced peaches,oranges and yams, and white peppercorns finish. A nice warming Belgian blonde sipper.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220961
pFriem
Belgian-Style Strong Dark Ale
Mahogany color. Interesting aromas and flavors of potato peel and melon rind, cola nut, roasted carrots and yams, and clay with a round, bright, finely carbonated, sourish medium-to-full body and a peppery, breezy succotash, chocolate nuts and graham cracker, pepper, and radicchio finish. A earthy, spicy beer for the table.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219967
Brasserie Schoune
La Blanche de Quebec White Beer
Minutely hazy golden yellow color. Aromas of banana herb muffin, hard-boiled egg, lemon soufflé, and toasted fruitcake with a supple, crisp, effervescent, dryish light body and an effortless, brisk turnip and jicama, unripe apple and pear in cream, communion wafer, and spritzy mineral water finish. A pleasant, easy-going witbier quaffer.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
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