Belgian or Bust

I recently stumbled across a Belgian themed brewery in Post Falls, Idaho called Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company. It struck me as odd to locate a Belgian brewery in northern Idaho, but the owners claim they love Belgian beer, they live there, love it there, and they have no plans of moving. It’s as simple as that! They bottle their brews in 650 ml, or 22 ounce bottles, not to mention the stiff alcohol numbers… whoo-hoo! Out of 15 or so, I tracked down five of their year-round, seasonal and special brews. Beer research being my favorite topic, I attempted to try all of them in one afternoon/ evening. Not a great idea! Needless to say, I made it through three and finished the remaining two the following day.

Let’s begin with the highest ABV and taste our way through to the lowest.

The 10° Abbey Quadrupel Ale checks in at 9.8 % ABV and in my opinion is pretty tasty. It pours like an amber going into the glass and takes on a dark rubyish hue with a light tan head that doesn’t stick around too long. It did leave a perfect cap and decent drapes of lacing. The nose is malty and sweet with elements of dark fruit and caramel. The flavor is nicely balanced… great malt complexities with an abundant dark fruity ester component and a nice warmth of alcohol complementing it. It has an enjoyable finish. Try it now or lay it down for a year or two down the road.

The 8° Abbey Dubble Ale, 8.5% ABV, is rich with a gentle malt flavor that leads the way followed by delicate spicy notes from the noble hops. It pours a very deep mahogany hue with a thin white head that dissipates to patches leaving good lacing. This too will lie down and get better with age.

GUILT is a Belgium coffee porter that checks in at 8.3% ABV. This beer has a nice aroma of dark black coffee and edgy dark orchard fruits with a hint of caramelly malt. It pours a dark, yet opaque, mahogany brown with a half finger khaki head that slowly dissipates to a thick cap with nice lacing. The flavor develops into a toasted malt and latte coffee finishing with fresh dark orchard fruit and a hint of chocolate. It has a nice take on a coffee porter, somewhat reminiscent of a Belgian porter.

Infidel, an unbowed and unrepentant imperial Belgium style IPA checks in at 8.2% ABV. This free spirited brew pours a dark bronze amber with a one finger ivory head rendering some decent multilayered disintegrating cloud lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs out of sight. The nose is really well done for a Belgian IPA… American fruity hoppiness, a hint of leafy pine needles and a laid- back creamy caramel malt. The flavor begins with sweet tropical fruits that slowly develop into peppery spices followed by a slightly dry finish that begs for another sip.

If there is room in your shopping cart for a few more brews, I would suggest throwing in the Huckleberry Chapel, the Octavian and Selkirk Abbey’s latest release, 12° abbey strong dark Belgian Ale.