Number 58: Beer Above Eight Percent ABV

18 Dec

I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t had super-strong beer before.  A few years ago, I went to Brussels with my friend, Dave, and we did more than our share of drinking.  You see, Brussels in November is pretty bleak and also kinda boring, so we spent most days heading to a shop that was appropriately named 250 Beers.  We would pick out about six beers apiece, mostly fruit beers and Trappist beers (brewed by monks), then go back to the hostel, where we would drink ourselves silly and eat Belgian chocolate.

While I wish I could have bought some Belgian fruit beers and re-live that memory, none of the ones I found were at all affordable or even had the ABV on the bottle.  I ended up settling on three beauties, though: Gulden Draak Ale from Belgium (10.5% ABV), Highway 78 Scotch Ale from California (8.8% ABV), and St. Martin Triple from Belgium (9% ABV).


The Gulden Draak was the darkest in color and also the most flavorful.  It was very sweet and very caramely and very awesome.  Dan and I fought over this one quite a bit.  It was super easy to drink and disappeared before we knew it.

The Highway 78 Scotch Ale was also pretty caramely, but not as sweet as the Gulden Draak.  It had a hint of coffee flavor, as well, and was slightly more bitter.  I was pretty impressed by this one, especially as it was brewed in California!  It was my second favorite beer of the day.

While the St. Martin Triple tries to pass itself off as monk-brewed beer, apparently it isn’t.  The recipe is from monks, but the beer itself is made at the Brunehaut brewery.  This one was the lightest in color and also my least favorite.  It was bitter and somewhat lacking in flavor, plus it smelled like old man pee.  I’m sorry, but it did.  It also exploded when I tried to open it, which was fun.

THE VERDICT
Of course I’m going to tell you that beer is great, especially beer that gets you there quick (“there” meaning the joyous land of Tipsy).  I would like to say that beer in Belgium is better than just beer from Belgium, but seeing as Europe is probably a few years away, I’ll take what I can get.  One thing I did learn from this experience, however, is to never drink and shop.  I bought 6 packs of guacamole and a full-on lumberjack-style hat with flaps this evening.  ‘Nuff said.

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8 Responses to “Number 58: Beer Above Eight Percent ABV”

  1. IntenseGuy December 19, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Light beer is for sissies… 🙂

    You had a proper glass too! I hope you get back to Belgium soon.

  2. IntenseGuy December 19, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    This place might be of interest to you and Dan…

    http://www.frugalmacdoogal.com/high_proof_beer/hpb_selection.php?product_id_selected=58

  3. Laura in Cancun December 19, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    I see you really went above and beyond with this one! 🙂

    I’m gonna need pics of the lumberjack cap.

  4. John G. December 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    According to Wikipedia, St. Martin is one of 18x official Belgian “Abbey beers”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer_in_Belgium#Abbey_beers

    I’ve had their Brune a few times, but never saw any mention of monks.

  5. Angie December 20, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

    Have you ever tried three floyds ale? It is also Super strong and tase I love Alpha King (one of their beers!)

  6. Becki D. December 22, 2011 at 1:33 am #

    hah!! I love that this one lead to a lumberjack hat.

    Pics, please!

  7. Cathy December 28, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Mmmm…beer!
    I need to try the Gulden Draak. I do love a good Scotch Ale and I haven’t had the Highway 78 yet…so I’ll be on the lookout for both of them.

    I recently bought a lumberjack hat as well. And I wasn’t even drinking.

  8. Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic December 29, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Intoxicated shopping = trouble. I’ve been there!!! These sound delicious and I especially like the AC/DC glasses we rock those too but we don’t get beer this lush and tasty. I really want to try the Gulden Draak, it sounds amazing!

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