Granted I think I had with a better name in mind and could have promoted the event a little better, but never the less, it's easier to join and help, than compete. So with that, I throw my hat into The Session.
Unfortunately I missed the first Session (Stouts), but I'll make up for it by covering double the Dubbels. A Dubbel is a style of beer popularized in Belgium that is characterized by a balance of malt and hops with a spiciness, mild fruit aromas and a slightly higher alcohol level. You can read more about this style on BeerAdvocate.com
The first beer I reviewed was a dubbel I just happened to pick up from Beertopia a couple of weeks earlier knowing nothing about the theme for this month's Session. The second beer I chose because it's very popular and available at most well stocked stores. It turns out picking blind was the way to go.
On with the beer!
Abbey Belgian Style Ale
From: New Belgium Brewing Inc.
Location: Colorado, United States
A nice range of colors starting from a deep golden honey running to a dark amber of goldish-red. Slightly cloudy from the remaining yeast. The head consisted of a nice layer of dense foam that had respectable retention and lacing.
Mostly just a blend of spice, malt and yeast with underpinnings of hops and a bit of an apple cider fruitiness. I have to agree with others that there is a faint smell of fermented bananas in here.
Good balance between malts and hops. Complexity brought with clove like spice. Fruit wasn't as present as it was on the nose.
Definitely drink out of a wide mouth glass at the recommended temperature. Doing so accentuates the creaminess. Otherwise the mouthfeel is closer to a Bud Light. I thought the carbonation was completely inline with the dubbel style.
Not something I'd want to drink more than 2 of. Would probably go quite well with food, especially beef stew or some goulash.
Not a bad beer at all, but not an outstanding beer either. In general, I'd say I'm just not a dubbel person, but I could drink this occasionally.
Chimay Première (Red)
From: Bières de Chimay (Abbaye Notre Dame de Scourmont)
Okay, I'm copping out on this one a bit, but only because I want to be fair. I think I got a bad bottle or something. This beer smelled and tasted skunky like a bad home brew. Maybe it was because I stored the bottle on it's side which the back label expressly dissuades. My theory is storing it up right allows the remaining yeast to settle to the bottom which would allow you to pour carefully and prevent basically decant your beer. If anyone knows the reason for not storing on it's side, please let me know.
*** UPDATE ***
You can read the round up on Alan McLeod's site.
Session 2: The Day Of The Dubbels Is Here!