Worthwhile Spring Cleaning

Erik Hernquist, June 26, 2013

"Spring cleaning" normally conjures up thoughts of cleaning your garage, closet, car, or whatever is full of random junk that accumulated over the winter or perhaps even longer.  These chores are terrible. However, after several months of my wife asking if I could make some room in our garage refrigerator so she could at least fit an extra gallon of milk, I decided to oblige her request and temporarily clean out the beer over the course of two weekends.

In order to complete this challenge, I made a rule for myself – no more beer purchases until I finished the task at hand.

As you know, winter brings us a wonderland on delicious brews in many different styles.  I unsuccessfully attempted to sample them all.  Every time I went out shopping, I’d come back with an assortment of beers I “had to try.” With each purchase, another beer was pushed to the back. This left me with a delicious assortment of seasonal beers, each with their varying levels of spices, complexity, and ABVs. To make my wife happy, it was up to me to drink them all. As I made my way through each of these beers, I found the remnants of a Dr. Pepper that exploded during the Super Bowl after turning the fridge to the coldest possible setting. I'm not only talking about the some plum cola splatter, I also found the damn lid.

It dawned on me that I should probably do this more often.

On a separate shelf I found some leftovers from a “Beer of the Month” Club gift my mom gave me. If you’ve never done one of these, it's not bad. You get to try beers from popular beer breweries you generally can’t find locally. These beers have a broad crowd appeal.  They aren’t bad, but there generally isn’t a “wow” factor to them either. A couple of these were stuck to the shelf because one of the kids spilled a juice box and naturally didn't clean it up or let someone know what happened. These beers hit the spot as I scrubbed the sticky, gelatinous apple juice off of the shelf. Yes, I certainly need to do this more often.

As I ventured further to the back of the fridge, I made a startling discovery -- a Delirium Noel by Brouwerij Huyghe laying on its side. This forgotten treasure had been hiding back there since December 2011. However, it aged quite well and tasted as good as I remembered. From the pour, I noticed the festive red hue of this dark Belgian ale with a nice head that resembled the color of a perfect, slightly underbaked cookie. The nose was full of spices and fruit from the holiday season. The taste of dark fruits, caramel, and a hint of cherry reminded me of a night of wrapping gifts for the kids. Its smooth and balanced mouthfeel made it quite easy to forget the amount of alcohol hiding inside. For you dads out there, this will definitely get you through those Christmas Eves of “some assembly required.”

As I finished the last of one of my "go-to" beers, I thought about how well that Delirium Noel aged and looked forward to the future winters I would enjoy the beers not getting cleaned out on this particular weekend: Bourbon County, Black Ops, and an excellent local brew – Hardywood Bourbon Barrel Gingerbread Stout.  

After all of my hard "work," my wife can now fit that extra gallon of milk or some other groceries in the extra fridge. Not to worry, I still have plenty of room for future purchases.

Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Noel

Look - 4.25

Smell - 4.0

Taste - 4.25

Mouthfeel - 4.5

Overall - 4.25

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