Tag Archives: floordrobe

#141 – Silly La Divine

 

#141 - Silly La Divine

 

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 9.5 %

This beer has been going for quite a while, and is one of the flagship beers from the Silly brewery. It has survived a number of label changes, ending up with a rather small innocuous woodland chapel championing its marketing.

La Divine, most simply means sacred, or devoted to god, and it got me thinking about how apt the word devotion is when it comes to beer. Almost certainly the most peaceful and sacred place in my home is the cupboard which serves as my cellar, and which only in the past year has replaced my floordrobe. There aren’t many nights when I don’t stare inwards with my torch and mutter reverences at the dusty bottles. I decided to do some digging into the internets darker niches and feel I have every justification now for assigning my hoard a ‘shrine’ status, although bearing in mind that beer has been around for donkeys years, it shouldn’t really be surprising that many cultures around the world have a nominated God or deity dedicated to beer or brewing.

Dionysus is probably the most well known, the son of Zeus and Greek God of wine and beer. He was often known as the liberator due to the intoxicating power of the alcoholic drinks he would put away. In Ancient Sumeria, the Goddess of beer and brewing was Ninkasi, who was said to have provided the world with the secret to making beer. I wouldn’t argue with this one (#1), although the Egyptians might. They strongly believe that Osiris taught the world how to brew the potent beverage made with barley. The Norse people were never shy of a drink or two, and although Aegir is known primarily for being the God of the Sea, they also swear blind he is the chief God of beer also.

The Aztecs claim it was Tezcatzontecatl, the Zulus are adamant it was Mbaba Mwana Waresa, and in many African cultures, it is Yasigi who is revered. It is hard to argue with this when you consider her statue represents a large breasted female clinging to a beer ladle. The Czechs worship Radegast as the God of hospitality who created the first beer, and if you are ever in Latvia, you are lucky enough to have Raugupatis and Ragutiene – two lovers who look after the late night drinkers there.

Whatever you end up believing in, have a couple of Silly La Divines, and you probably wont care too much anymore. This is a truly delicious beer. Every now and then from the depths of nothing you find a gem that nobody else raves about but that really does it for you. The Silly La Divine makes drinking 1000 different beers all the more worthwhile. It was thick, strong and full of a sweetness that I have rarely found since Boskeun (#82). I have since bought many bottles of this, and although they have never been quite as sublime as that original taste, they have rarely let me down. Amen.

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Filed under 9, Belgian Strong Ale, Silly

#45 – Chimay Blue

#45 - Chimay Blue

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 9 %

Chimay print the year of bottling on their ‘Blue’ labels. Many other beers do, but not prominently on the front of the bottle. One of the unique selling points of good Belgian beer is that it will age well if cellared, and Chimay Blue, or ‘Grand Reserve’ as it is known in the 75cl bottles, is probably the most renowned exponent. They put the year of bottling on the front, in the sense that it identifies the vintage.

We have already drunk a few beers that age well – notably the Trappistes Rochefort 8 (#31) and Trappistes Rochefort 10 (#13), and they tend to be the heavier complex dark beers, which change, vary and usually improve when exposed to periods of time in the dark! This is known as cellaring. I don’t have a cellar, but I do have a large space on the floor in the bedroom (which my wife calls the Floordrobe) where my constant supply of beverages sit. There is however a darker place, deep in the real wardrobe, where I keep the darker, more appropriate beers, and there are one or two Chimay Blues among them ready for a tasting in a few years.

Cellaring works because the beer is bottle-conditioned. The yeast that is propagated at bottling will continue to work its magic if given the right environment, just as a plant will flourish if given the right feed, compost and climate. Two golden rules that many experts allude to is, a constant 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit if possible (normal room temperature), and little or no exposure to light. Any temperature higher than this can cause the lifespan of the beer to drastically shorten, and anything much lower will often induce a cloudiness which is referred to as ‘chill haze’. It is important to remember that the recommendation above is for beers of the Chimay Blue ilk – such as barley wines, triples and dark ales). Actual cellar temperature (normally 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit is normally recommended for standard ales – such as IPAs and Saisons, while even lower temperatures (ie 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit – refrigeration temperatures) are recommended for lighter beers such as wheat beers or pilseners/lagers.

I couldn’t get my hands on anything older than a 2008, and so my review is based on that. I guess it is important to note also that it is from the 330 ml bottle, as opposed to the ‘Grand Reserve’. It is often reported that the yeast weaves its magic better in the larger bottle. The beer, regardless of age is beautiful. It pours a dark brown that shimmers when held up to the light, with a yeasty froth of head. It smells mysterious, and the flavour is smoky, bordering on dry but with a distinctive flavour of malt. If this one is this good, I can’t wait for another one in 5 years !

(Post-Script) – I couldn’t wait five years and so on a heady night in the Kulminator bar in Antwerp I tried a vintage ‘Grand Reserve’. Believe the hype; it was remarkable !

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Filed under 9, Abbey Beer, Belgian Strong Ale, Chimay, Trappist Beer