Saturday, September 25, 2010

Belgian Cafe!

Jo and I went to the Belgian Cafe last night before going to the haunted house at the Eastern State Penitentiary.  While the beer selection (at least drafts) isn't quite as good as Monk's, the Belgian Cafe more than makes up for it in atmosphere.  The bar area is way more wide open, the bar itself is larger, and it's not a crowded mess like Monk's usually is.  (I'm comparing them just because they are both owned by the same person for those that didn't know.)  The food is pretty similar between the two and I had a great Monk's burger last night.  Leeks and blue cheese are excellent on a burger.

The first beer I had was St. Bernardus 12.
The 12 is a Belgian Quad so it's a strong beer (around 10%.)  It pours a brownish, purple color with very minimal head and smells sweet with hints of fruit and caramel.  Like a lot of quads, it has great mouthfeel.  It's not syrupy, but is thick enough that it really feels good drinking it.  Sort of tastes minimally of plums and has a really sweet finish.  The alcohol is there, but I didn't notice it a terribly large amount.  Jo thought it tasted a bit boozy but she's more sensitive to it than me.

The next beer I had was from Brouwerij De Dochter van de Korenaar called Embrasse.
It's a Belgian Strong Dark Ale so sort of the opposite of the Russian River Damnation I posted a week or two back.  Pours a dark brown color also with minimal head.  This is also quite strong at 9% but unlike the St. Bernardus the alcohol is pretty well hidden.  This will sound odd, but it almost smelled "cold."  I'm honestly not sure how to describe what that means, but that's how Jo and I both felt.  Super useful, I know.  Overall though it reminded me a lot of grapes in both smell and taste.  I enjoyed this beer a lot but I really like Belgian Strong Dark Ales so it's pretty much to be expected.

Finally I finished with something quite a bit milder from Scotland.  It was Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil.
Unfortunately the picture sucks so it's impossible to tell, but it was a really nice looking pour.  About 2 centimeters of nice brown head that slowly fizzled down over about a minute.  The smell was pretty mild, but had a little bit of smokiness and roast to it.  The first sip was full of woody caramel flavors.  Lots of flavor to it through the first bit of it.  However, as I drank more, the mouth feel was really disappointing.  It was very thin so while it was pretty flavorful, it just got kind of boring to drink by the end.  Not a bad beer by any means, just sort of boring near the end.

I'd type more but I'm heading to Hulmeville Inn soon.  Expect some more posts Sunday!


  1. Wow, quite a few good beers in one night! Naming your beer Old Engine Oil is an interesting marketing technique.

    The haunted house sounds awesome. I love the Eastern State Penitentiary! How was it?

    Also, does that bar grind their own beef? Blue cheese and leeks sound delicious, but I really recommend you avoid eating ground beef from unknown sources. You're putting yourself at great risk.

  2. The haunted house was cool. Pretty similar to last year so I wouldn't do it multiple years in a row again.