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[label]de Block “Satan” Red Ale (Belgium) – Deep brick-dried spice, fresh clay, a pleasant layer of hoppy dryness, and the memory of red cherries and apple seed. A complete, sophisticated brew. Delicious. (5/07)

de Block “Special Block 6” Blonde Ale (Belgium) – Spicy/fruity and suggestive of fat, but the actual experience is lively and fun. Perhaps even a bit goofy. This brew shouldn’t be over-intellectualized, but it should most definitely be enjoyed. (5/07)

de Block “Dendermonde” Abbey Ale (Belgium) – Weighty and cream-textured, with spice and lees dominating, yet surprisingly light on the finish. Balanced and fresh, which is not necessarily typical for an abbey ale. I’m not even sure it’s desirable, to be honest, but it’s a good beer, no matter what. (5/07)

Port “Lost & Found” Abbey Ale “The Lost Abbey” (California) – Sprightly for an abbey, but with all the spicy/leesy complexity one would want, here dominated by banana skins and strong yeastiness. It’s just the faintest bit watery, especially on the finish, but otherwise a very solid exemplar of the style. (5/07)

Unibroue Blanche de Chambly (Québec) – This is the worst example of this I’ve ever tasted…thin, insufficiently aromatic, and insufficiently interesting. Maybe it’s corked, though I don’t get the telltale aroma. (5/07)

Chimay “Première” Ale (Belgium) – Solid and dependable, but getting a bit boring, with frothy background to a featureless foreground. There’s spice, there’s texture, there’s weight, but – as the beer-swilling kids say – there’s not a lot of “there” there. What’s going on with this stuff? Or is it just impossible to rely on the lower-tier bottlings? (5/07)

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Copyright ©2006 Thor Iverson.