Brasserie des Géants - Goliath

Brasserie des Géants - Goliath

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Brasserie des Géants - Goliath

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    Snifter or Goblet
Interestingly, this bulky brew began as a much smaller stature creation. Gouyasse, as this beer was first known in Belgium, was brewed at a respectable 6% ABV. However, the US distributors felt that a 6% beer carrying the name Goliath was a bit oxymoronic, especially with the surge of big-bodied, bold-flavored beers that have made waves in the states since the late 90s. So they suggested that brewmaster Pierre Delcoigne come up with a stronger, more intimidating beer better suited to carry the name of the mythical giant. The result was the beer you now have before you, and it's become quite a hit for the brewery since its reformulation. They still make the original Gouyasse, but "Goliath Tripel," as the beer we've sent you is known in Belgium, has become their biggest local seller. Made without the addition of sugar, this is the only Tripel in Belgium that is made using only malt as a sugar source for our yeasty friends. This means the beer will start out a bit sweeter when young, but, over time in the bottle, the flavors become more dry and the hops counter-balance the sweetness more firmly. We've been told that six months in the bottle appears to be where this beer really shines; but, of course, this is one of those beers that is good for at least two to three years of laying down if kept at cellar temperatures. We encourage you to set aside a bottle or two and check in on this sleeping Gulliver about once a year. Look for notes of honey on the nose, with apple, vanilla, pear, oranges, and pepper also appearing. Expect some zesty hops which contribute notes of wildflowers (akin to lavender), that characteristic Belgian yeastiness, and a subtle tartness. The flavor contains much of the above notes, but with a slight spice and peppery quality. Adding the yeast during the pour lends a mango-like character to this brew. Expect a fairly dry finish (considering the original sweetness), with orange peel and Saaz hop bitterness rounding out peppery hop notes. A big beer befitting of the Brobdingnagian name it carries. Pair with a sharp blue cheese like Colston Basset or Roaring 40s Blue (both of which we have featured in our Gourmet Cheese of the month club—want some? Consider a membership. Visit for more info).
The area of Ath, in Wallonia, is home to more than just great beer; this is the land of the Giants! Since the middle ages, Ath has been known for its annual Parade of Giants in which Goliath, locally known as "Gouyasse," leads brass bands and fellow colossal-sized kinsmen through the streets, towering above carnival floats and groups of more ordinary-sized citizens in customary costumes. No surprise then that the local brewery (in Irchonwelz) is named Brasserie des Géants (a.k.a. the Giants' Brewery). Not only do they craft big beers that live up to their name, their homestead is rather sizable as well. Incorporated into the remarkably well-preserved remains of the thirteenth century Castle d'Irchonwelz, the site somehow manages to unite quaint charm and indomitable fortitude. And, as they're quick to point out on brewery tours (yes, they are open for tours—a must if you are ever in the area), their entry gate is hung high enough to permit the occasional giants who may wish to stop in for a quick pint—er, keg—of beer. Interestingly, there's sort of a paradox at play here. The name Irchonwelz comes from the word for hedgehog (urchon), a rather small creature, and the local inhabitants are affectionately referred to as "urchons." Perhaps to a hedgehog, any visitor could be considered a giant—could this be where the giants of local lore come from? No idea really, but it's sort of a fun notion to consider. If anyone has ever been there, or plans a trip, please ask this question and get back to us! OK, we've spun enough of our own mythology here; back to the brewery… Founded in 2000 by a couple of young urchons, Pierre Delcoigne and Vinciane Wergifosse, The Giants' Brewery was built and is run by the pair. Pierre, a graduate of the famed Brewing Engineering program of the Louvain School of Brewing, has been brewing strong for years now. In 1997, he and Vinciane acquired the Castle d'Irchonwelz in order to develop their ambitions of creating the Giants' Brewery. After two full years of construction and set up, the brewery opened. Their first brew, known as "Gouyasse" (Goliath in the local dialect), went on sale in August 2000 (perfect timing, as the annual festival of Giants is held during the fourth weekend of August), and all their brews are fit for giant thirsts—and Giants—alike. But don't let the name fool you; despite their Herculean title, these folks produce small batches of beer. Their brews are never short on flavor, and some could definitely be considered "big beers," but all are created in small batches and released in limited quantities. In fact, in the world of European brewing conglomerates, these folks are far more akin to David than Goliath. We wonder how they feel about the little man taking down a giant, given their appreciation of Giants and all… But we're sure they feel connected to both characters in that story—the little guy in the big world of brewing giants, and the colossus of brewing prowess. Like the brewery and these dichotomous elements, their beers have complexity that's worth mulling over—so no more digressions from us Lilliputians—get to it! For more information about the brewery, check out their web site:
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