Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dutch Beer of the Week


This is billed as an "American DIPA", or double IPA. At 8% there are some who might complain that it's too weak for that "style".  Who cares as long as it's a good beer?  And as we shall see, this is a bit of a star turn.

First a bit about "Little Bear"  (go on, who thought "beer" meant, well, beer?). It's based in Lemmer in the north western province of Friesland, an independently minded part of the Netherlands which has its own official language, Frysk, and flag. The national beer revival has been slow to catch on here although among the province's 14 breweries and "brouwerij huurders" it does boast one of the longest lived of the new wave Dutch brewers.  De Friese Bierbrouwerij was founded way back in 1985 and is still going strong (their Dubbel Tarwe Bier was one of the first new wave Dutch beers that made me sit up and take notice).

Kleine Beer started in 2014 and the people behind it are Bernd Beesma and Marcel Top. They have a small pilot kit and once a recipe has been perfected it's brewed elsewhere - so far all of the beers seem to have been made at another Friesland newcomer, Admiraal BierBrouwerij Aldtsjerk.  The core range comprises three beers: a blond (De Beer Uit Lemmer), a dubbel (LE-4) and this little beauty.

The label is very informative and tells us that the malt grist comprises Pale Ale, Pils and Pale Crystal malts. So we get a medium copper-amber beer. Now some of these very big IPAs have an almost condensed tropical fruit aroma which I must say I'm liking less and less these days. Luckily there's none of that here - instead there's a whiff of bitter and resinous hops which is a hint of what's to come. The hops are Cascade and Chinook and together these create a notable and lasting bitterness just nicely underpinned by the malt which gives that slight balancing sweetness in the background.  You can taste almost every one of the 80 EBUs here. The finish is bitter and moreish. I'll be buying more of this when I'm next in the Netherlands.

On a food matching note this pairs well with Babyback Ribs. I only know this because the label tells me that as well. There's a recipe on the website!

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