Friday, March 20, 2009

Brasserie d'Achouffe: La Chouffe

If you couldn't figure it out from the name, this one isn't just a Belgian-style beer, it's a Belgian-brewed beer. And while it's a bit outside my normal price range, it's also the kind of brew that merits top dollar now and again, especially if you can find it on tap. May I present, La Chouffe.

La Chouffe is an abbey-style Belgian ale, in the same vein as Leffe. However, this brew definitely one-ups Leffe, as well as pretty much any American-brewed abbey ale that I can think of. Like most abbey ales, this brew has a faint sweetness about it. Ususally, this is tempered by a very earthy hoppiness, but La Chouffe's hops are a bit more muted. This seems to work because the sweetness has also been scaled back, perhaps because the malts are toward the dry end. The real treat here is a faint spiciness and subtle fruit flavors, similar to what you might taste in a witbeir. It's very light-bodied and well-carbonated, lending the brew a pleasant fizziness and muting the aftertaste very effectively.

All in all this beer is a real treat. There's a ton of flavors packed into this one, but they are all balanced really well. Probably the best Belgian beer I've had to date.

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