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Thursday 22 April 2010

Am I still a hop head?

Its been a while since I posted. Just checked and apparently the date is the 19th of April! Woops. I havent forgotten about you all, honest. Rather Ive just not had that much great beer recently which has inspired me to write. I tend to find that I only get in a beer mindset if I am drinking some nice beer or I am anticipating a box of nice beer. Since I am currently in France and all my boxes of nice beer are in the UK, this is a problem.

Recently though I have been questioning my self declared status of 'hop head'. That was until the other night anyway.....but more about that in a bit. The reason I question whether I am such a hop head is because I seem to have been drinking a large amount of beer that I wouldnt really class as hoppy. Since the weather got nice again in France ive switched to a lot of Lambic, which the more clever among you will know use aged hops and therefore do not have that zingy hop taste. Also on the darker cloudless nights Ive been sticking with a bottle of Orval or something equally lovely and Belgian. My excuse for this though is because I am in France. Its not that I dont enjoy these beers, I do, a lot! Rather my status as a hop head will just have to be put on hold until I get back to the UK in May (if the volcano stops by then).

I was reminded the other night though of why I do classify myself as a hop head. Valeir Extra.

Image from RateBeer, my own image to follow

On a recent visit to my regular Belgian beer bar the local called me over and told me she had a bottle for me. Something that she wasnt selling because it was only a sample from the brewery so she could decide if she wanted to stock it. I was quite excited, not because I was getting a little exclusive but because I know she thinks of me as a hop head and immediately I knew it might be something good. Anyway, she produced a bottle of Valeir Extra, this is a beer I have never seen or had before. In short its a Belgian IPA and it is probably the most hoppy Belgian I have had maybe aside from De Ranke XX Bitter. The two beers are hoppy in different ways though. Whilst De Ranke has a dry refreshing hop bite Valeir has a lovely tropical and fruity hop body. It reminded me of a certain little Scottish beer I have a thing for!

Proper tasting notes will follow, but I thought I better let you all know that I am still here and that normal posting will resume soon. There is after all a very large collection of great beer waiting for me at home.

Stay tuned folks.....


  1. You want interesting beer that makes you feel British? Try Shake's Beer, a special edition brew made by the boys at Church End Brewery to commemorate Wiliam Shakespeare's 446th birthday today.

    Its blend of four hops and four malts, along with a hint of chocolate, which give it a light brown colour with an ABV of 4.0%. And if you can shoot a video of you or a pal shaking your beer (like these examples, and and upload it to you could win a pin of ale.



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