Twelve Beers of Christmas #10: Straffe Hendrik / De Halve Maan Xmas Blend 2018. Bruges, Belgium
Date: January 3, 2019
The Story— We’re presenting our list of 12 great beers for the season. Some are relatively easy to find, others are from our archives and beer vault. Follow these posts for other beers in the series: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth,
De Halve Maan (Half Moon) brewery is one of the reasons to visit Bruges. The brewery is state of the art, but they’ve preserved the old brewery that’s included in a fine brewery tour. It’s not free, but it gets you a couple of glasses of Brugse Zot’s light and dark beers. The brewery produces both Halve Maan and Straffe Hendrik beers.
We’ve tasted several Straffe Hendrik Quads. The best, by far, was a 2013 that we tasted two years later. This one, though, showed the same fine play of dark fruits and hints of chocolate and brought a nice range of barrel tastes to the table. It’s a wonderful blend of barrel aged beers that have spent months on Bordeaux, Calvados and Rum barrels with young quad.
We bought this at Bethesda Market near the Sangamore Safeway in outer Bethesda Maryland. Prices aren’t bargains there, but the premium price is the fault of Montgomery County’s distribution system — the last in the country to distribute beer and wine. We’re grateful to have a beer store just a couple miles from our house that stocks several hundred beers.
The Beer— Rich and complex. The brewery quads without the barrel aging complexity are enriched by wine and barrels. Fruit is rich and dark with figs, dark berries, and red grapes with wood accents. Some ending chocolate remains from the usual richness of the Straffe Hendrik quads.
Value — Good. No one discounts a beer like this. Expect to pay $15 or more for the 75 cl. bottle
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.