ClubGonzo (3198) - Bergen, NORWAY - SEP 30, 2009
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 13/20
This is really a different kinda blonde. More voluptuous, more outgoing, blooming - and perhaps just a little overconfident? No head to speak of, bubbly and quickly fading. Medium carbonation. Color reminds me of a plain, slightly misty lager and does nothing to impress me. The taste of sweet fruits (the banana keeps haunting me) is meagerly balanced by an underlying sourness. Or is it bitterness? I can’t quite tell, as the flavor seems to be a bit of both, but hops are certainly in on it. Nevertheless, this is a decent beer, deceptively beckoning in its initial sips as it’s drinkability did not - in my view - justify the 0,75 litre bottle. Its fruitiness and outgoing nature somehow became a bit too overpowering, and - unfortunately - pulls the Hildegarde Rèserve a bit down on my scale, as I prefer my blondes to be somewhat more balanced. Nice try, though, and extra points for creativity. It’s not unlikely that I’ll try a second date with Hildegard sometime in the future. But not for a while.
Gr0ve (2077) - Oslo, NORWAY - SEP 25, 2009
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 ml bottle. Hazy golden colour. Meidum-sized white head. Floral hops and wheaty. High carbonation level. Nice and mellow malt flavours with a strong wheaty note. Initially it feels a little like a witbier, but this beer is definitely stronger, and the yeast is slightly more characterful. More esters and more fruity. Spicy, from hops and yeast. Finish is dry and bitter. Very nice.
Sigmund (4506) - Tau, NORWAY - SEP 21, 2009
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
750 ml swingtop bottle, now available in Norway at Vinmonopolet. ABV is 6.9%. Pale golden colour, just a slight haziness, big white head. Nice aroma of "Belgian" (French, actually) yeast, with spicy / peppery notes. Some fruit and grass too. The flavour is first crisp and moderately spicy / peppery, leading to a fruity moderate sweetness, ending in a moderately hoppy and spicy finish and aftertaste. A truly enjoyable bière de garde - will buy again.
yngwie (11750) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - SEP 20, 2009
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle, 75cl. It pours a hazy, pale golden-orange body under a decent white head leaving lacings. Quite lovely spice touch in the aroma, citrusy with a pleasant grainy imprint. Yeast notes and a suiting barnyard hint. Really refreshing and quenching with a nice blend of pale malts and citrusy hops. Quite sweet, but that just suits the beer, and the finish is as dry as it should be. Some yeast and a fine bitterness also find it’s way down the throat. Medium to full body, slightly warming and pleasantly carbonated. This was a nice surprise after too many mediocre French beers. 090919
thebeertourist (4522) - Oslo, NORWAY - SEP 18, 2009
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle from Cave à Bulles. Hazy golden with a rich offwhite head. Good herbal and grassy hop nose. Spicy flavours, solid maltiness kept in balance by good bitterness. Peppery. Very well-made and interesting.
Bontus (586) - Waasmunster, BELGIUM - AUG 28, 2009
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
75cl bottle. Pours golden with a creamy head. Good lacing. Herbal hoppy aroma, good choice of hops. Strong malty backbone. Good balance, good complexity, perfect carbonation and texture. Very good beer.
goozen (2556) - Leiden, NETHERLANDS - AUG 16, 2009
3.3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: AUG 22, 2009 Bottle 0,75ltr. with cork: One great blonde Biere de Garde with an sophisticated herbal taste with hints of pepper and spices.
dec23 (52) - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS - AUG 15, 2009
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 18, 2009 Everything I said about the Page 24 Blonde (q.v.) is equally true of the Reserve Hildegarde Blonde. Considering the extensive taste review of TAR I have nothing to add except some nice backstory. The name of the beer is derived from medieval herbalist nun Hildegard von Bingen. She allegedly was the first to write down a recipe for beer in a book containing various recipes for tonics etc. made from plants. The book was lost. However, page 24 of the book was recovered and that page had the beer brewing recipe on it - or so the story goes (told to me by the brewmaster of Saint Germaine) Brasserie Saint Germain have dedicated themselves to sticking as close as possible to this traditional recipe as the base method for brewing their beers. That’s in a name. If you drink one French beer in your life, this is a worthy choice.
TAR (2382) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - AUG 6, 2009
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Rusty gold. Alluringly creamy and persistent white foam. Rustic yet brightly fruity nose of minerals, dusty yeast, toasted hay, aniseed, dried pineapple, cotton candy, and herbal hops. Whiff of sulfur lurks in the background. Dense and fluffy carbonation. Considerably mouth-filling with a well-rouned lagerlike fullness. Snappy minerals gently lift the rich yet pristine cakey malt base while lending vivid definition and crispness. Residual sweetness teases the palate as it deposits shades of cotton candy and cake to create a magical alliance with the dusty yeast. Yeast coats the palate with a pillow-soft doughy element while the malt flutters about, expressing ample flavor and a tongue-hugging powdery textures with suggestive toasted hay notions. Baked apple flabbiness remains distant enough so as to not weigh down the immaculate attenuation or overshadow the array of subtleties too much. Peppery notes shyly exude throughout, adding yet more layers of nuance. Finishes continually dusty and mineralic, with an artfully subdued punctuation of flavorsome hops which seamlessly morph into a well-polished spicy and herbal bitterness. Beers like this are among the most difficult to craft. This is an exquisite work of art, chock-full of spellbinding subtleties combined with rustic allure and character.
Ernest (5887) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - AUG 6, 2009
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: DEC 19, 2012 Bottle.
Head is initially average sized, frothy/fizzy, white, mostly diminishing.
Body is hazy medium yellow, bottle conditioned.
Aroma is lightly to moderately malty (toasted grain/bread), lightly to moderately hoppy (honeysuckle flowers, herbs), lightly yeasty (cobwebs), with notes of honey, gum, mint, pepper, dried pineapple.
Flavor is moderately to heavily sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter.
Finish is lightly to moderately sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter.
Medium body, watery/syrupy texture, lively carbonation, lightly alcoholic.
Mind-melting aroma with aspects from all aspects/ingredients of brewing...could sniff this all day...just amazing. Very rich in the mouth...sweet but quite a bit of finishing bitterness that keeps me coming back again and again. The only thing I wish were better is the rather syrupy-watery mouthfeel. Fabulous beer and brewery.