Monday, December 17, 2012

Mon, 17 Dec 2012

This Week at the Grey Lodge
Monday - Today starts week four of Beer Season. This week's beer is another icon,  Hoegaarden.

Where to begin with this one:

1) Well they want us to pronounce it as "hoo garten". Or they did,.. that instruction was printed on the cases for a while. Let me to check to see if it still is. Nope they stopped that. Which is a good thing because here in the USA and especially in Neast Philly, you come off as really pretentious if you call it hoo-garten. Sweet, we are now fully free to call it Hoe-garden, like Americans should.

2) Witbier aka Belgian White Ale is a beer style that dates back to the Middle Ages. Traditional ingredients of witbier are water, yeast, wheat, hops, coriander and dried Curaçao orange peel.

3) In the 1957, the last producer of witbier closed its doors and witbier became extinct. Ten years later, Pierre Celis, a milkman who had grown up next to that final brewery and sometimes helped with brewing, decided to revive the lost style. Eventually Celis bought Hougardia, an old lemonade factory to keep up with demand. After a devasting fire, Celis needed money to reopen. The company that would become AB-Imbev, bought in. With the deep pockets of Imbev, Hoegaarden became a worldwide sensation. Celis left the company after accusing Imbev of dumbing down the beer for the mass market.

4) For many of us beergeeks from way back, Hoegaarden was our first taste of a witbier. After the mid-90s, there were plenty of domestic brewries making witbier and I hadn't a Hoegaarden since. One of those was an Austin TX brewery, Celis, started by Pierre Celis after his falling out with Imbev. The history of the Celis Brewery is another story and the beer marketed as Celis these days isn't worthy of its name. Another was Allagash, whose White was the Beer Season beer of the week a couple of weeks back.

5) So here's a chance for us to rediscover this beer and see how it holds up to Allagash White and other domestic witbiers. Since I haven't had a Hoegaarten in 15 years, I can't wait.

Wednesday - If it's Wednesday, it's Quizzo. This week's Quizmaster is Pete, who promises us a special Holiday Quizzo with prizes for everyone. 7pm

Thursday - We are told it's the end of the world on Friday. We can't do anything about that, so we are having a party to welcome it. What else to serve but Unibroue's La Fin du Monde ("The End of the World")? La Fin du Monde draft is pretty rare, but we scored some. Troegs also made a beer for the event; we'll have that on tap too. It's a Russian Imperial Stout called Impending Decent.

We in the same time zone as the ancient Mayans (and any modern Mayans), so our midnight is also their midnight. Assuming that the world will end at midnight, the party starts at 11pm. The party ends when the world does, or at 1:45am, which ever comes first.

Sunday - Sunday is our first ever Festivus. It will be the bestest Festivus ever. We will have all the time honored Festivus traditions such as the aluminum pole, the airing of grievances  feats of strength, and meat loaf. The line-up of Xmas beers we will have on tap will be epic - Troegs Mad Elf, Sly Fox Christmas, Great Lakes Christmas, Manayunk Festivus, Rogue Mogul Madness (really rare this year), Penn St. Nicholas Bock, Goose Island Christmas, a Belgian Christmas ale, and even more! Yes the bestest Festivus ever! 6pm to 9pm.

Hop Angel has some exciting stuff this week too.

Draft Beer Update
Heavy Seas Winter Storm replaced Philadelphia Winter Wunder. Winter Storm is an imperial ESB. I'm really jaded with anything "imperial", but if you forget about that word, this sounds like a nice beer. At 7.5% the ABV isn't too crazy and it's heavy on West Coast hops.

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