Boulevard Dubbel is an, as of yet, unreleased beer that's undergone a long development process. I first had this beer almost a year ago at a Boulevard brewmaster luncheon where it was paired with a short rib ravioli dish. The Dubbel went really well with the food and I couldn't wait to pick up some Dubbels at the liquor store. When I asked Steven Pauwels when the Dubbel would be released he said it probably wouldn't be any time soon. Apparently this beer has been brewed a number of times over the past nine years and the brewers still aren't happy with it. I was completely sold on the Dubbel I had last spring, but then I had it again in the fall...
It has only beer recently that I've started getting into Goose Island's Belgian style beers. The only Goose Island that was available when I first got into beer was either 312 Wheat or Honker's Ale. Those are two beers I'm not particularly fond of and I wrongfully assumed all of their beers were similar in terms of quality. I've been pleasantly surprised by the flavors in the Sophie, Matilda and Dominique that I've had on tap in the past couple of months and I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the series. The bottle I have tonight is Pere Jacques, a Dubbel. This bottle is from the 2009 run, so your mileage may vary if you're playing along with a 2010 at home.
Grimbergen Ales were relatively unknown to me until about 6 months ago when I noticed kegs of their Dubbel started showing up at finer drinking establishments around town. My first impressions of the draft Grimbergen Dubbel were that it was quite good. I remember it tasting exactly like I was expecting a Belgian Dubbel to taste like. I had a couple more times on tap over the summer and finally saw bottles on shelf at my local liquor store. I remember liking the beer quite a bit so I picked up some Dubbel and looked forward to reviewing it formally.
Cathedral Square is Missouri's newest brewery. Based out of Saint Louis, Cathedral Square actually contracts all of it's brewing through the Weston Brewing Company. Weston, which is north of Kansas City, isn't exactly known for putting out quality beers... I've heard the problem exists somewhere in the bottling line. Curious, why would anyone contract brew through a brewery that has such a bad track record? Don't as me, because it doesn't make any sense whatsoever...
This stout little bottle is quite unassuming. It's got a curvy upper half that looks a bit like soft serve ice cream atop a cone. The label is pretty plain, with it's blue background and curiously menacing stork icon. You can never really judge a beer by it's label so I tried not to develop any preconceived notions about this little Belgian bottle from a brewery I'd never heard of. When I poured this beer into my glass I noticed a pretty big aroma coming off the beer. There was a good deal of malt at first but hints of candied fruit, chocolate and caramel were all present. An odd aroma for a Dubbel, but a great combination nonetheless.
I like Beglian Dubbels, Tripels and Quadrupels. These beers rank pretty high on my scale of favorite beers. Strong ales with sour yeast flavors are truly a work of art. I've been waiting anxiously to try New Belgium's Abbey Ale for quite some time. I finally got around to picking up a bottle of this Dubbel style and I was a bit surprised with what was inside... My first impression of New Belgium's Abbey Ale was that it was more spicy than I liked and it didn't mask it's 7% ABV well enough to be a smooth drinking beer. These aren't show stopping flaws, but they prevent this beer from being a great Dubbel.
If you're a fan of Belgian beers then you probably know all about Chimay's Red. Chimay is the only Trappist ale available to most people and the Red label dubbel is their entry level beer at ONLY 7% alcohol. The wide availability of Chimay may lead some to conclude that this is the Budweiser of Belgian beers, but that certainly isn't the case. Chimay, and more specifically their Red label beer, is a great example of the Trappist genre. Chimay's Red is a strong but well balanced Belgian Dubbel that had a sweet and maltly taste up front and finishes smooth and creamy. It is, in so many ways, a perfect example of the style. As the younger brother of the Tripel, the Dubbel is still a big beer. It has strong flavors but is able to remain sweet and smooth. For anyone who has been intimidated by Tripels or Quadrupels in the past, you should really pick up a bottle of Chimay's Red.