Battle of the Belg!

Ya know, just one beer festival a year is for suckers. At least, that’s what our fearless leader decided last year around this time, and as a result of the chaotic brainstorm that followed CellarFest arose to great fanfare and even better turnout.

And so the thirst for unquenchable crowds and ever more creative taplists took hold of us, and sanity was discarded entirely when it was decided that henceforth Bailey’s could feature no fewer than four mega beer fests a year (mind you, not counting the Brewpublic events, tastings, and special brewery showcase tappings).

This Saturday’s first annual BelgianFest is the first new addition to our roster. The idea was to marry our two favorite things, Belgian beer and local brewers, and watch what happened in the honeymoon suite. We contacted some of our favorite breweries and asked them to devise some special Belgian-style brews with a distinctive Northwest twist, and of course, once the gauntlet was thrown down, none of these guys (or gals) were willing to back down from the challenge.

What we love about Belgian beers is how brewers can’t just fall back on hops or massive malt bills. So much of the soul of any good Belgian brew comes down to the yeast and how the beer is fermented; of course, it also opens the floodgates for brewers to work with unusual adjuncts that are strictly verboten in any other regional style.  The resulting line-up is a fascinating hodgepodge of styles familiar and arcane, with a few off-the-wall monstrous hybrids to keep things interesting.

Here’s what you can expect. Descriptions are either straight from the brewers’ mouths or Geoff’s:

10 Barrel Dubbel Woody Cabernet
A deep amber brown. Spicy and complex. Aged in Leonetti Cabernet Barrels for 8 months. 7.7% , 26 IBUs

Ambacht G++

Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Slightly darker and very smooth. 8%

Astoria Blueberry Lambic

165 pounds of blueberries and an additional 3.5 pounds added to each keg. Brettanomyces was added along with oak chips soaked in wine barrels and aged for five months.

Barley Brown’s Trappist Strong Ale
Crystal malts along with some Munich Bonlander, a touch of rye malt and flaked oats. Simcoe and Amarillo hops. 8%, 50 IBUs

Beetje Blonde Beetje
A blond ale with a twist. Clean pilsner base layered with a dash of Golding and Sterling hops. A dose of lambic blend and oak chips in the secondary adds a hint of funk. 5.8%

Bend Wicked Medicine

Belgian Strong Ale. Aroma teases of ripe banannas, sweet candy and warm spices. Tastes of sweet malt, dark Mexican sugar and an underlying spicy, cherry essence. 10.6%

Block 15 La Fermé de Demons (The Demon’s Farm)

Black Farmhouse Ale aged in bourbon, Oregon oak, and Pinot barrels with Brett. Blended with a touch of Oregon tart cherry. 8.8%, 31 IBUs

Caldera Vas Deferens Ale

Belgian-style Strong Ale brewed with blood orange zest, orange bitters, and dark Belgian candi sugar. 8.1%

Cascade Sour Bain de Brugge
This Belgian spiced porter has a  rich porter flavor with soft, spiced undertones for a complex finish. Spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise and orange peel. Aged six months in Pinot Barrels.

Deschutes The Marooned Belgian
Named for some experimental hops which got marooned in the cooler due to their higher strength and color. This may just keep you stranded here longer than you predicted. 13.7%

Fort George ’08 North II

Grand Cru, aka Belgian-style barleywine. Canadian Pilsner Malt, Golden Promise from Scotland, Belgian Wit yeast, raw Hawaiian sugar, and oats from the mainland USA.

Laurelwood Tripel

Chad Kennedy brewed this beer exclusively for the fest. It is still fermenting, so we don’t  have much additional info yet.

Lompoc ’08 Brewdolph
Belgian-style red ale features a malty and creamy body, boasts a mild fruitiness and a spicy clove character and has been aging in Port barrels for about 1.5 years. 7.6%

Lucky Lab Doggie Kong Sour Lychee Saison

Sour mash with about 20% of the grain bill. No hops. Lychee fruit added during fermentation to give just a hint of fruitiness to help balance the sour flavor. 6.4% ABV, 0 IBU

Oakshire Oak-aged Collaborative Evil ’09

Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Aged in an Oregon Pinot Noir barrel for 15 months. Mild vanilla notes blend with flavors of cinnamon and fruit. 9.5%

Roots Brune “O”

Belgian Brown brewed for the Cheers to Belgian Beers festival early this year. One of the few remaining kegs from the now defunct Roots Brewing.

Seven Brides Abbey Dubbel

A spicy nose and a complex fruity taste that lingers for some time. Full-malt taste, with deep, smooth flavors and almost no hop aroma.7.8%, 18 IBUs

Upright Barrel-Aged Seven
A batch of Seven that has been aging in two wine barrels since August 2009, one with Brett Lambicus and the other with Brett Clausennii. This is a blend of both.

We’ll post more details about the fest tomorrow!

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