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Christoffel Blond

June 3, 2009

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The Iconoclastic Dutch Pilsner

Anthony Says:


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To be honest, I very nearly did not buy this beer. Looking for a Euro pilsner I hadn’t yet tried, I was about to walk out of my local liquor store with some Jever in hand when those charming little bottles of Christoffel Blond caught my eye. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for beers sold in mini growlers, but I couldn’t resist grabbing a couple. And all due respect to Jever, I’m really glad I did.


True to its name, Christoffel pours a nice dark orange-blonde, slightly cloudy from a lack of filtration/pasteurization, and with a substantial bubbly head. The nose is really epic: a strong herbal almost green tea aroma, with hints of citrus, honey and a noticeable hop presence. Between the fragrant slightly fruity sweetness and light yeastiness, I’d be tempted to mistake this for a lighter Belgian ale (think Orval) or perhaps even a bock. There is little in the nose that suggests pilsner.


The taste is similarly iconoclastic for a pil: sweet caramel malts and spicy floral hops underscored by overripe banana, peach and is that. . . spearmint? The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and that first wave of buttery sweetness and fruit gives way to a gently lingering back of the mouth hop tartness. Initially reminiscent of a spicy yeasty Belgian, and then finishing as a pleasantly herbal slightly grassy pilsner, Christoffel isn’t exactly the exemplar of its style. Nevertheless, with a well hidden 6% alcohol content, it is a very flavorful and surprisingly drinkable beer.

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Gatlin Says:

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This brew is well suited for the seasoned beer drinker. The flavors are big, bright and in your face. Christoffel has done a great job with this one and in my mind has made up for their terrible Bock.


Technical Rundown:

  • Container: 341 mL brown glass bottle
  • Alcohol:6.00% by volume
  • Colour: 5.3 SRM
  • Bitterness: 50 IBU

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The body on this beer is a dark, cloudy, gold with moderate visible carbonation. The head produced from the pour was almost perfect: slightly off-white and soapy. The head slowly reduced to a small-bubble ring, which left a small amount of lacing.


One of the best features of this beer is the nose. A complex array of minty, herbal, spicy and earthy notes is immediately apparent. A tiny bit of alcohol can also be noticed. A slight hint of yeast, similar to what I would expect from a Belgian triple, comes through secondarily. The process of double-hopping, using European varieties of hops, has definitely produced a very unique and enjoyable bouquet.


The taste mirrors the nose almost perfectly. Mint and pine flavours are highly noticeable. This beer is quite bitter, but the focus is definitely on the more astringent qualities of the hops. In the background the malt comes through with unique qualities for the style, and is once again reminiscent of the malt backbone of a Belgian triple. A warming alcohol sensation is palpable after a few sips, and the bready mouthfeel detracts from the overall  drinkability.


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Some Final Thoughts


Anthony Thinks:

Pros
  • Refreshingly unorthodox for the style
  • Relatively strong alcohol content masked nicely
  • Very appealing aroma

Cons

  • Complexity of flavors reduces overall drinkability
  • Perhaps too close to a Belgian style ale
  • Too strong to qualify as a good session beer, but also too bitter to merit drinking purely for taste

g

3½ stars overall. Part Belgian style ale and part German pilsner, Christoffel is a strange- although quite pleasant- hybrid beer. While it is perhaps a good introduction to both styles for the less experienced, the strong nose and complex flavors will appeal to the veteran beer drinker as well


Gatlin Thinks:

Pros

  • Unique flavors which are quite well balanced
  • Interesting mouthfeel -great brewing craftsmanship

Cons

  • The nature of the hops flavors reduces the drinkability of this beer
  • Alcohol presence is a bit strong in both the nose and taste
  • Price is prohibitive

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Double-Hopped is an easy 3½ star pilsner. Perfect for seasoned beer drinkers looking to try something with unique hop flavors not found in most North American or European style beers


So, What’s On Your Mind?

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