Known to most as the land of waffles, Brussels sprouts, and Van Damme, I found out this past weekend that Belgian brews some damn fine ales too at the 5th Annual Battle of the Belgians hosted at Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village.
For three hours I was able to sample Belgian-style beers from around the globe, while chowing on a delicious whole roasted hog. What better to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon? Special guest brewmaster Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales and Union Beer’s Mike Lovullo were there to explain the nuances of brewing to the uneducated Pabst drinkers like me.
I tasted some really unique and different flavorful beers, my personal favorite being Brooklyn’s own Grimm’s Artisanal Bees With a Buzz, which ended up winning the best Belgian-style American beer and the Best of Show. The other winners were:
Best Belgian-style American:
- 1st place: Grimm’s Artisanal (Brooklyn) Beers witha Buzz Triple + honey
- 2nd place: Stillwater Artisanal Ales’ Kentucky Folklore, a Bourbon Barrel Belgian Stout (gypsy brewer Brian Strumke)
- 3rd place: The Secret Engine/Rocky Point collaboration Madame Saveur, an 11% ABV Triple with grenadine (Brooklyn/Long Island)
- 1st place: Rochefort 10 Trappist ale
- 2nd place: Westmalle Dubble Trappist ale
- 3rd place: Dupont’s Bière de Belœil, a dark farmhouse ale
Best Belgian-style from other countries:
- 1st place: Birra del Borgo’s 25 Dodici Christmas/holiday beer
- 2nd place: Baladin’s Isaac
- 3rd place: LoverBeer’s Duva Beer made with grapes
An Outstanding Time, Jimmy’s No. 43 is a nice, no-frills ol’school beer tavern that I’ll definitely be coming back to soon, once I nurse this horrible hangover…