Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Corsendonk Pater (Abbey Brown Ale)

What better way to help relieve the record heat here in Los Angeles, then by conjuring up memories of this past weekend when it was less hot. And to do so, I bring you the latest and greatest installment of my monthly malty masochistic machinations (yeah alliteration!).  This month I decided to get away from the American craft beers that had been doting this blog and head back to some 750mL bottled Belgian ale. My random choice from the local BevMo, Corsendonk Pater (Abbey Brown Ale).
The Beer:
I think the first thing I can say in regards to this month's experiment is that I've grown as a beer drinker. I now know things I didn't before and acknowledge subtleties in the taste, texture, and aroma. I also can appreciate the finer things in life like cigars, brandy, and a good book. Walks on the beach are always nice, as are antique flea markets and bird watching. Occasionally, I'll enjoy an old jazz record on a Sunday evening by the fire. Perhaps I'll even break out Bill Cosby's "Fatherhood" just for good measure. Ahhhh, aging...ain't it grand!  Oh, did I forget to mention that I turned 30 a few weeks back. Yeah. Fucking aging! So, I jest about those finer points. Instead, I've enrolled in Muay Thai Kickboxing and have eaten more cheeseburgers this month than in the past several years. Yeah! Fuck aging!
But as for my brew o' the month, Corsendonk Pater was a great choice and I did notice those subtleties that I mentioned above. Which I can only attribute to my growth in beer and brewing. This brown ale poured nicely into my wonderful Trappist glass with a dark brown color and light bubbly head of foam. I immediately could smell notes of fruit and spice but the most prevalent aspect was the texture of the beer. It had a really light and carbonated feel to it. Knowing a little more from my tests, readings, and general inquisitiveness of beer, I'm sure this all stemmed from the bottle and brewing process. Unlike American craft beers that I've been sampling for the past several months, this one came corked and bottle-conditioned. Meaning that it was brewed with respect to its serving method. Much like the way Guinness cans their beer with a widget to help with cascading pours. Two full servings in the Trappist glass of Corsendonk Pater went down smoothly and swiftly. Well worth the price of admission!
The Buzz:
With a beer that tasted, smelled, and felt so good to drink, my hopes were high for the perfect buzz. Something that I could appreciate as a go-to beer when I was looking to celebrate a big occasion. An occasion, say, like a 30th birthday. Or perhaps something even more 119. Well, wouldn't you know both those occasions happened in this past month. And while I opted for a plethora of specialty and craft brews on the big 3-0 at my local awesomeness-pub (The Daily Pint), I opted to celebrate the 119th UFC sanctioned pay-per-view fight with this Abbey Brown Ale. Boasting a respectful 7.5% abv and going down smoother than Billy Dee on a lucky lady circa 1979, one might think that this beer would've achieved its the perfect buzz-worthy-ness that I had hoped for. Alas, it was not to be. For whatever reason, I was barely phased by this Belgian brew. I actually wished for another after it was over. The combination of taste and refreshing palate had me yearning for more. And without a noticeable drunken state setting in, I was fairly confident that my body could handle it --- old age and all.  Regardless, this Dubbel style ale is one that I would certainly try again and again. And unlike it's celebratory counterpart, Mr. UFC 119, I was thoroughly pleased with the overall experience.

The Hangover:
Deciding to drink my beers on a Saturday eve while watching my monthly UFC pay-per-view has now become almost tradition. Doing so on a Saturday after having attended a grueling Muay Thai Kickboxing class during the day...not so traditional. My body was hurt and exhausted. But fortunately, none of the physical wear translated into physiologically. Perhaps it was the large Mexican dinner I had beforehand, perhaps it was the light and airy nature of the beer, or perhaps it was because I'm now officially 30 years old and have grown out of my pussy-beer-drinking phase.  But whatever the reason, there was absolutely zero point zero hangover symptoms. I feel asleep, stayed asleep, and woke up just fine. No need for even a hangover cocktail of meds. I more or less knew that I'd be ok with this beer. The lack of buzz seemed to solidify that notion. Now, I only wonder if another 12oz. of Corsendonk Pater would've changed this outcome. Perhaps I will have to explore that notion further with a follow-up test. To do so, however, would require finding this beer in smaller batches. Because if I was to buy two 750mL bottles, I certainly would find myself drinking both --- well over the allotted amount for these purposes.

The Verdict:
The second Abbey Ale in a row and one that is very closely compared to last months Ommegang pick, this beer couldn't have been any more different. From taste and aroma to drinkability and hangover, every aspect of Cosendonk Pater was the complete opposite my experiences last month. And all for the better. It truly may have been an instance of circumstances, or it may have simply been serving methods and bottling procedures. Whatever the factors were, this was a beer I truly enjoyed. And one that I'd like to enjoy again in the future. And unlike past beers that I've enjoyed through and through, there were no negative reactions the next day. While I'd like to chalk it up to my body and mind and soul aging properly, it's very likely this instance was just a birthday gift from the beer gods!
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