Wednesday, November 30, 2011 at 9 a.m.
The Copper Door brought the creations of nearly 50 craft breweries to downtown Santa Ana when it opened in 2010. The (literally) underground beer bar has approximately six beers on tap at a time but dozens upon dozens bottled delights. Their simple menu is broken down into categories (beer connoisseurs, beer lovers, beer drinkers, etc.), with beers ranging from highbrow, like Duchesse de Bourgogne, to Pabst Blue Ribbon tall cans (obligatory for the under-30 crowd that crawl these gentrifying streets).
They hosted a Belgian tasting Tuesday along with appetizers from their pseudo-neighbors, the Crosby. Joe Corona of Wine Warehouse in City of Commerce hosted the tasting. Corona served 11 Belgian style ales ranging from Belgium's number-one selling beer, according to Corona, (Maes Pilsner) to West Coast imitations (Allagash Brewery).
Unibroue's La Fin du Monde was a crowd favorite. "If you only have one beer for the rest of your life, this is it right here," Corona said. This Canadian tripel was slightly darker than the other tripels presented with a deep yeasty flavor.
The Allagash Brewing Company of Portland was-well represented with four samplings. Curieux was the most outstanding. The tripel ale is aged eight weeks in Jim Beam casks and tastes just as you'd imagine a bourbon/Belgian ale fusion to taste. The sweetness of the bourbon overtakes any sweetness in the ale. It leaves behind the Jim Beam burn despite it's 11% APV. On top of the bourbon lies vanilla and coconut notes. A truely complex, successful fusion.
Allagash White, Black, and the seasonal Noel were also presented. Allagash Black was created by a female office worker while she tinkered around in the brewery. It was so well-received that they started manufacturing it, and the dark chocolate Belgian stout is now their second-best selling beer.
What Belgian tasting would be complete without Chimay? We sampled Blue, "The world's best beer," Corona said. It was brewed at a Trappist monastery in 1948 as a Christmas edition. Thank baby Jesus the public demanded it be sold year-round! The Copper Door serves Chimay Tripel (8%) on tap but Blue (9% APV) and Red (7% APV) will never be served on tap--the bottled carbonation is impossible to transfer to a keg, because it will explode if attempted (then again, remember when Homer opened the Duff can that Bart had placed in a paint shaker as an April Fools' joke? Mmmm...beer mushroom cloud explosion).
was the most critically dismissed beer--as most fruit beers are. It's not nearly as heavy and tart as say Lindemans' lambics thus goes down much, much smoother. I personally liked it, but Corona warned your stomach might not appreciate if you drink more than a few of the 4.1% strawberry beer.
We also tasted Blanche de Bruxelles
, North Coast Prankster
, and Delirium Noel
. And no one from the Crosby
explained the ingredients or names of their appetizers but they were what one can expect from the Crosby: experimental and provocative.
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