Saturday, December 16, 2006

Belgian Beer Night.

On Wednesday a group of serious beer tasters assembled to rate a group of Belgian beers. It was a tough job, but even though they became more and more intoxicated in full knowledge that they would pay for it the next day they persevered and were able to not only taste, but actually completely consume a considerable amount of considerably strong beer. Here's the results. Beers are rated out of 30 points, with 6 possible points from each judge.

This Christmas beer was the winner. It also costs more than a private jet or a small country. It was full flavoured, complex, but still refreshing. And the label had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with our decision. Noel de Silennieux, which claims it's the beer that can make you dream, 1st place, 28 pts.

This photo is reflective of the photographers condition at this point. It was completely in focus when I took it. If you're beginning to wonder if these results have any credibility at all, let me just say that, no, they don't. Duvel. Lighter milder and more refreshing than most. this one made us happy because it was what we expected from beer. Easy to like. 27.5.

Bit of a mixed bag here. Westmalle, in third place was a great beer with a clean intense taste and a nice fresh finish. 25 pts. Maredsous fared quite well tieing for 6th place with Chimay red. 23 pts. Santa Claus, (Julemamens Trøst), a Christmas beer made for the Danish market, was a bit monolithic and a bit too sweet. It finished tied for 11th with Golden Carolus. 17 pts.
Since we had many lager drinkers in our group. the lighter beers with a bitter edge did well. Orval, 4th place 24.5 pts.

In this case Leffe brune beat out Leffe blonde in a rare and exciting moment in our tasting. When I thought about it the next day it was SO exciting I could almost puke. Leffe brune, 5th place, 24 pts.
Justin elegantly displays one of the two Chimay beers. I kind of thought that these were medium-powerful beers; intense but still refreshing. The red label was more popular, finishing in 6th place, tied with Maredsous. I didn't get a picture of the blue label, which finished 10th. Chimay red, 23 pts. Chimay blue, 19.5 pts.
The contreversial Achel beers caused a stir. This one went over okay. Achel blonde, 7th place, 22 points.
But this one bombed. Sickly sweet syrup that made us feel kind of dizzy and giggly, almost like we were drunk. Achel brune, 12th place, 13 points.

Apparently Chris like beer. Abbaye de Val Dieu, 8th place, 21.5 points.

Golden Carolus Christmas beer didn't do too well, but it did win the award for most alcohol - a whopping 10.5 percent. Drinking it is like getting punched in the face by some big Belgian guy.

Well that's about it, 'cept for a couple of missing pictures. Here's the rundown:

1st place - Noel de Silennieux 28 pts.
2nd place - Duvel 27.5 pts
3rd place - Westmalle 25 pts.
4th place - Orvel 24.5 pts. (tasted first)
5th place - Leffe Brune 24 pts. (gulped last)
6th place - Maredsous and Chimay red 23 pts.
7th place - Achel blonde 22 pts.
8th place - Abbaye de Val Dieux 21.5 pts.
9th place - Leffe blonde 20 pts.
10th place - Chimay blue 19.5 pts.
11th place - Julemanen's Trøst and Golden Carolus 17 pts.
12th place - Achel brune 13 pts.


It's been a while now, but we managed to squish in a trip to Paris in November. It was a long weekend and we basically did all the touristy stuff. Here's us at the Louvre. We met some friends there, ate loads of food, and then flew home. That's about it. Now I can say I've been to Paris.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Nordic Quirkiness #4

It's been quite a while since my last post, and even longer since my last Nordic Quirkiness. It took a while, but I promised that my next observation about Norwegian culture would be positive, and I intend to deliver on that promise. On Saturday evening I attended my second ever julebord which was arranged by Vinmonopolet. The whole tradition of the julebord (literally, "Christmas table") means that every year, one's employer sponsors food and booze for an evening. Stories abound about extreme drunken behaviour at these events. The most extreme I have heard could possibly fall into the category of urban myth, but who really knows? It concerns a slightly disgruntled employee who, in an extreme state of intoxication, decided to urinate on the salmon.
Rest assured there was no such transgression at my julebord and the food, despite a lack of vegetarian options, was unscathed and generally well received. There was also plenty of booze and fun, and I found myself enjoying the tradition of the julebord very much. I did in fact, managed to get rather hammered, suffering greatly the next day. And although my behaviour was not as boorish as the individual mentioned above, I imagine there was some unsteadiness, and slurred speech. Which brings me to the best part of this fine Norwegian tradition - I was not alone. Apparently nearly everyone misbehaved, and I thankfully did not have to hear choruses of "man were you ever pissed!" on Monday.
On another note, we have recently returned from Paris, and I'll post some photos soon. A big hello to my family of friends back in Van. - if any of you are reading this.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Thank you to all of the fine folks who came out to our small, but oh-so-distinguished Halloween party on the weekend. As your host, I felt that it was my duty and also my privilege to push the cocktail envelope, and as a result I appologize for my "absence" in the late evening. Thank you for the fine costumes, as evident in these photos, and a special thanks to Tim and Bente for filling out the guest list with such fine individuals! Thanks also for being nice to the cat.

Safe Men

A friend recently e-mailed me a song (isn't it great how you can do that?) which I immediately recognized from one of my favourite films "Safe Men", which I highly reccomend that you check out. I recently ordered the DVD from Amazon and I was really excited because this film has never been on DVD before. Of course it doesn't work on our DVD player since it is North American format. One would think that with all of the technological advances that have been made, along with an inceasingly globalized society, we could kind of come to some kind of agreement about things like electrical outlets, photocopy paper, which side of the road to drive on, and yes, dvds.
Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I have of course still managed to watch the film, which is as excellent as I remember. So for Brad, here's another song from the film. Give this a bit of time to load up - things seem to go a bit slowly over at ezarchive since they "upgraded".