Tag Archives: Belgian Beer

Asheville Breweries – Archetype and Hi-Wire


I stopped by Archetype first because I was feeling like trying some Belgian inspired beers. They have a fairly open tasting room that doesn’t get too hot despite lack of air conditioning and the warm weather outside. All 4 beers on my flight were Belgian inspired and they all had a similar flavor.

The saison was super dry with light funk and mild cracked pepper. The beer had notes of peach white wine and mild cherry with a crisp dry finish. The farmhouse was very similar with a bit more pear white wine and subtle brett funk. The Belgian style pale ale was dry and funky with subtle herbal hops and mild bitterness, very similar to the farmhouse before it. The brett IPA was the most funky of the bunch and mildly hoppy and not too bitter. Though they were all similar, they were all subtle and balanced in a way that tells me the brewer is quite talented.


I stopped by Zillicoah by the recommendation of the bartender at Archetype. They are in a large building close to a river with huge amounts of both indoor and outdoor seating. I wasn’t immediately excited by the tap list but then I tried a splash of their session IPA and went for a full pour of that.

It was super creamy with tons of pineapple hop aroma and mild bitterness. It reminded me of Holy Mountain’s similar beers. The best part of this brewery is their $5 full pours and seating by the river. We relaxed there for a while before moving on to the next stop.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Denver Breweries – Baere and Cerebral

Baere Brewing

Baere was one of the most recommended breweries that I visited in my trip. Some said it was a must visit spot. I thought the beers were good but they didn’t particularly blow me away. They had a nice tasting room in a strip mall with good air conditioning inside and plenty of outdoor seating, though it was too hot to sit outside when I visited.

I started with their saison, which was good. The beer was dry and spice forward with cracker notes and a lingering bitterness. It was a bit bitter for the style but solid. I prefer a different style of saison but it was nicely done. The Belgian Single was solid with notes of light orange and light funk. The beer was subtle and lightly bitter on the finish. The Grisette was my favorite of the bunch. It had bright notes of lemon and grapefruit with mild funk from the brett yeast finishing with light oak. This is one of the more impressive brett beers I have had in a while.

The porter was good and roasty with mild bitterness and somewhat syrupy. It is fairly standard for the style. The kolsch was light and creamy with notes of grape and corn. It was average for the style. The pale ale was super dry with nice mix of resin and tropical fruit. A solid pale but it could have used more explosive hop aroma.

Baere was overall solid though the only thing that stood out to me was the grisette. It is a good brewery but not something I would go out of my way to return to.

Top 2:
Belgian Single

Cerebral Brewing

Cerebral had mostly hazy IPAs and I tried quite a few. They have a good sized tasting room and a solid line up of hazy beers including a few available in cans. For hazy beers they were fairly average though still good. The sours with lactose were much more impressive. I tried a flight of six beers of which most were IPAs with a few sours.

I started with the mango coconut lime berliner weisse with lactose. It was easily my favorite of the bunch. The beer initially tasted to me like peach pie with light tart and notes of cinnamon. The lactose gave it a creamy body without getting overly sweet. Their flanders red style sour was solid with notes of caramel and red wine vinegar and a strong tart finish. It wasn’t the best but a solid example of the style.

The Tangerine Stuff IPA was bursting with citrus and the fruit balanced wonderfully with the base hops. The beer had nice prominent notes of mango to combine with the tangerine. The last 3 were all hazy IPAs. DDH Strange claw was creamy with tons of hop acidity and a nice burst of tropical flavor. Rare Trait was super flavorful and exploded with notes of tropical fruit and papaya. The Controlled Chaos was the most creamy of the bunch with tons of pineapple flavor. The three hazy beers were all solid, fairly average as far as hazy IPAs go. They are a solid stop if you don’t want to hunt for Weldwerks hazy IPAs.

Top 2:
Bird of Paradise – Berliner with lactose and fruit
Controlled Chaos – Hazy IPA

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Bar Sin Nombre – New Bar Brings Beer Fans to Chula Vista for World Class Beer

San Diego has its share of world class breweries. There are certain names in the beer world where you know whatever beer you order from them will be excellently made. At Bar Sin Nombre the tap list features beers from these breweries on the regular. Belgian beers from a couple of breweries are regular highlights as well as Belgian inspired beers from within the US. You will always find a few select IPAs and stouts along with some excellent lagers. By keeping the number of IPAs on the board fairly small, they can rotate through IPAs to ensure that whatever you find is fresh.

This is just half of the beers that were available on tap on my most recent visit.

They post updated tap list regularly on Facebook so you can see ahead of time what to expect. There is also a great selection of beers in bottles and wines for those who don’t drink beer.

Each beer is served in specific pours ranging from 8oz to 18oz with glassware selected to leave plenty of room for head. Most of the Belgian-style beers and sours are served in 8oz tulip glasses. I am especially glad that the larger pints are served in Impeiral Pint glasses and not the usual shaker pint glasses that I am surprised are still used at major bars around town.

A Belgian beer poured into their lovely short glasses with plenty of room for head.

The bar draws massive crowds occasionally when they share on Facebook that they have a special Cantillon on tap or other excellent beer. I have visited both when it is insanely busy, where I missed the Cantillon but saw a number of my fellow beer enthusiasts and more recently on a lazy Saturday where the crowd was light but still quite respectable.

The outside front has no sign telling you where to go, as part of the nameless theme but you won’t have any difficulty finding the place. The inside decor is simple with standard bar stools and plenty of spaces to stand around the outer walls. If you come on a particularly busy day you may barely be able to walk through the place. Though it only opened in Mid-November 2017, Bar Sin Nombre has already become a regular spot for local beer enthusiasts to visit, knowing that they will always find world class beer and meet people who appreciate the same.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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Northern Idaho Breweries, Selkirk Abbey, Post Falls Brewing, Daft Badger, Slate Creek, and Mad Bomber

Selkirk Abbeynorthern-idaho-01

Selkirk has been brewing Belgian style ales in their location in Post Falls since 2011 though I hadn’t even heard about them when I was in the area a few years back. Now that I have visited, I’m not that surprised that they aren’t insanely hyped up. The beers don’t taste like any of the Belgian brews I have had in the past either from Belgium or American brewers. I did quite enjoy their Belgian IPA though.


The Deacon Belgian style pale ale was smooth and malty with lots of fruit and mild spice and some bready malts. While it was a solid beer I found it to be far too heavy on the malts for my tastes. The St. Stephen saison was similarly malty and the first amber saison I have had (besides Biere de Garde style beers). It was quite thick with tons of fruit and very sweet. Again, I found this one to be a bit too malty for the style. The black saison was tasty with a dry finish and some nice mix of coffee, plum, and mild smoke notes.


The Guilt, coffee porter, was very mild in the coffee department and dominated by dark fruit and overripe fruit on the finish. Though I wasn’t a fan of the beer on tap I did buy some bottles of the wine barrel aged version because it seems like it should be more to my tastes. The wine barrel version was absolutely phenomenal and I’m glad I bought two bottles to take home.


The huckleberry wheat ale was smooth and not too sweet with just the right amount of berry taste in the finish. The Belgian IPA was quite different than any other I have had yet quite delicious. It is also malty but more balanced than the others with some nice citrus and grapefruit hops to balance the bread and fruit malt notes. The beer has a nice dank finish. I also got a bottle of Imperial Quad that I opened some time later at home and I was quite impressed with that one as well.

If you come in expecting dry, effervescent Belgian style beers like most are used to, you will be disappointed. However, if you are interested in exploring a more malt-forward style of Belgian beer and are in the area it might be worth stopping by Selkirk to see if they have some bottles of their barrel aged beers.

Slate Creek Brewing



I stopped very briefly at Slate Creek because they had run out of the beer my Uncle recommended them most for, the black IPA. The three beers I tried were all well-brewed though fairly standard to style. The Nose Nectar pale ale was fairly standard fruity and dry pale ale. The IPA is a fairly standard old-school North West IPA with a good balance and prominent pine hops. The stout was tasty with notes of chocolate and a smoky finish.



Though we went back to Spokane area after Slate Creek, I decided to group the Northern Idaho breweries in one post so next up is Post Falls Brewing.

Post Falls Brewing

We went to Post Falls Brewing before lunch so I didn’t hit any of their beers too hard. I feel bad for the other breweries that we stopped here first because other breweries couldn’t compete with their fantastic IPAs. The MacGuyver IPA was balanced but bursting with tons of citrus hops. This is the first time I have had mosaic hops showcased on a beer that is so malty but done well enough that I really enjoyed it.


The Double IPA was fairly malty as well but had a nice balance of mild booze kick and tons of melon flavor from the hops with a nice bitter finish. There were other IPAs on tap as well which are worth trying depending on your hop preference. I skipped a few that were listed with hops I don’t normally care for.


The milk stout was quite nice with tons of roast and marshmallow notes. The imperial stout was a bit too bitter and smoky for me. It was also dominated by lots of dark fruit malts with a dry finish. I didn’t finish this one. The coffee pale was smooth and had nice mellow coffee. A solid beer. I was quite impressed with the IPAs at Post Falls Brewing and would certainly return if I end up in the area again.

Known For:
Come for the IPAs. They are nicely balanced and avoid being malt bombs.

Daft Badger Brewing

This is one of those breweries that I hesitate to post about because it is hard to believe that so many of the beers served were as difficult to finish as the ones I was served. It was quite the popular place with tons of people eating their house BBQ but almost everything on my flight was a mess in one way or another.




The Summer’s Envy, touted as a citra hop beer was completely lacking in aroma and was pure malt and bitterness. The double IPA was a malt bomb with a strong boozy kick and very mild notes of dankness and fruits. The imperial stout was intensely dark fruit and boozy on the finish. Huckleberry beer was fairly average with some berry notes that were a little on the syrup side. The scotch ale was almost to average but again it was far too much dark fruit and not enough roast.

Mad Bomber

Despite hearing average things from my uncle before visiting, I had to go to Mad Bomber because of their logo and slogan “Make Beers not Bombs.” I was surprised by a lineup of some of the most restrained hoppy beers i have tasted, all of which were quite well made.


The blonde was clean and crisp and mildly fruity. The pale ale was nice and balanced with tons of grass and pine and a very mild bitterness. The stout was bitter with molasses and roast, and a nice overall balance. The Fatman IPA was fruity with tons of peach notes from the hops and nicely balanced and smooth.


Classified black IPA was tasty with tons of roast, some smoke, and mild bitterness. The XM20X was a bit more fruity and the most bitter of the bunch with nice fruity hops. I remarked to the bartender that this is the least aggressive hop character I have encountered from a brewery in quite some time. It is refreshing to taste such delicate hop flavors without being knocked over the head with bitterness. The only disappointing thing was that they didn’t have any shirts saying “Make beer not bombs.”

Come for:
Excellently balanced IPAs that are restrained on bitterness and overall clean beers.

Out of the four breweries in the area, I would recommend you visit Post Falls Brewing and Mad Bomber. They are both excellent breweries and plenty to satisfy you if you happen to be in the area visiting friends and family.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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The Bruery Revisited

Back when I first visited The Bruery I indicated that they made some solid sours but didn’t try any of them. At that time I wasn’t interested in sours and wouldn’t have tried them if you paid me. Now that I have grown to appreciate sour and brett beers I stopped by The Bruery recently when I was in town and got to try some of their new offerings. For a look at some of the core beers and my general overview you can check out my original post.

For this visit I made sure to try as many of the specialty beers as I could. For my taster flight I tried the Golden Orchard Belgian with Brett, Sour in the Rye, Tripel Tonnellerie, So Happens It’s Tuesday bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, and Floyd D’Rue, a rum barrel aged imperial porter.

Flight of tasters.
Flight of tasters.

The Golden Orchard immediately grabbed me with the delicious sweet and fruity flavors mixing tropical fruit with the Belgian spice. I picked up a bottle of this when I left because I was so impressed. The brett yeast added almost zero funk and instead enhanced the delicious fruity flavors. Next came the Sour in the Rye, an oak aged sour rye ale. I really enjoyed the combination of mild tart with dark fruit and caramel. Everything was mellowed out nicely by the oak barrel. This one is also available in bottles, though they were a bit more expensive than I wanted to spend. The price is pretty typical for sours though.

The Bruery Revisit Round 1 02

Next came the Tripel Tonnellerie, an oak fermented Belgian Tripel. This was a tasty tripel with nice mild caramel flavors coming from the oak. If they hadn’t had the next beer on tap I might have ordered more of this. I was glad to see So Happens It’s Tuesday on tap, a popular bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Bottles of this beer are limited to reserve club members so other than trading or going to a bottle share this is the only way to taste it. The beer was thick and sweet with caramel flavors and sweet bourbon. It was so delicious that I barely got a taste before my husband finished the 2oz taster. We ended up ordering a 10 ounce pour of it to share before leaving and savored every drop. Thankfully my husband didn’t have much to drink and could drive me after that powerful beer.

Enjoying some So Happens It's Tuesday.
Enjoying some So Happens It’s Tuesday.

This visit ended with the Floyd D’Rue, a rum barrel aged porter coming in at an impressive 14.7%. With a beer this strong I wasn’t surprised that it was pretty boozy. The flavors of various spices from the spiced rum barrel dominated, especially cinnamon and cloves. Compared to the previous beer I wasn’t very interested in ordering more but I did enjoy experiencing something aged in rum barrels.

The tasting room was packed as expected!
The tasting room was packed as expected!

There were a few other tarts available on tap that I tried a few days later but I didn’t end up taking notes. I do remember really enjoying the flavors of the Oude Tart (2013) flanders red ale and the Rueuze (2014) Gueuze. Both of these were available as a special for Earth Day with some of the proceeds from each sale going to various charities. Visiting The Bruery ready to enjoy the beers they are known for leads to a much more enjoyable experience, though it still tends to be so crowded in the evenings on the weekend that you have a hard time finding a place to set your taster flight.

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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