Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Travel: Notes from Ghent - Back at the Trollekelder ... Where the Wild Things Really Are...


There are places I'll always go back to...

And the Trollekelder is one of those, so I was eager to return on this visit to Ghent, not only for the beer but also for the crazy-hot mustard and celery salt that's served with the platter of cheese and a salami-esque substance. The place hadn't changed much since my last visit but it was certainly busier, so we were relegated to sitting at the back, split from the noisy weekend crowd.

Scanning through the beer list I spotted Troubadour Magma. A beer I've had before from Brouwerij The Musketeers, who appear to do all of their brewing at De Proefbrouwerij in nearby Lochristi ... but this was a triple spiked Brett version. I have a fondness for Brett beers, probably stemming from my unseemly adoration of Orval, so I closed the menu, attracted someones attention by waving like a madman and ordered it along with a platter of cheese and meat of course.


It was superb...

It probably had a lot to do with where I was, who I was with, and my general elated mood caused by being back in Belgium and in Ghent, but there is no doubt that it ticked all my boxes at that moment in time.

One of my notes reads 'Orval on overdrive!' and I think that's a fair statement given that it's a 9.8% abv so-called imperial IPA with added Brett. It was also well over a year old which presumably helped its character.

I got citrus at first, like an under ripe orange, even down to that tartness. This was chased by a clean-but-wet labrador smell somehow converted into a taste, and some ripe fruit like plums or damsons. There was a lovely cleansing carbonation and then you were left with citrus again but perhaps more like that squishy, funky mandarin that sits in it bottom of the fruit bowl until you feel sorry for it and tentatively polish it off - with a slight grimace.

When I finished it I sat back with a sigh...

Was it really better than Orval? At that time and place, yes it was...

Would it still be now, sitting here at home ... in a side-by-side blind tasting?

Who knows?

... and that's hardly the point.

Liam


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