Weekend Tap Update – Belgian Styles All Around Us, Including “Magella”, A Dark Belgian Ale at Parkway!

Before we completely say that this weekend in Roanoke just might bring new meaning to the words St. Patrick’s Day ‘hangover’, there are a few newer craft beers coming to taps near you.  True, the usual locations in the Star City known for craft beer bulked up for the green holiday, and yes, many taps might still be occupied by the beers they put on for their festivities.  Not that there’s anything really wrong with that, of course.  Two beers which got plenty of face time last weekend likely will still be found through this one, Devils Backbone’s Reilly’s Red, an Irish red ale, and Brooklyn’s Dry Irish Stout, both quite drinkable beers.  But if you’re like me, you’re always clamoring to try what’s new, and so far there has been at least some movement in that direction as we head into the weekend.

First off, Blue 5 Restaurant placed two new beers on tap in the last couple days.  In case you’re still dipping your toes into the more sour types of beers, and feel like experimenting further, the first ale should be a must try. “Echt Kriekenbier” is a lambic style beer,  a type of sour ale infused with fruit, and is brewed by Belgium’s Verhaeghe brewery.  Traditionally, these kinds of beers were allowed to ferment by exposing the beer to open air, allowing “wild” or natural bacteria or yeast to affect the beer’s flavor.  It’s a process which is highly unpredictable, and for breweries which produce sour beers such as lambics or other sour ale styles, is somewhat dangerous.  The types of yeasts which create these distinct flavors are particularly ravenous, and can survive in many types of environments which might otherwise starve out more typical yeast strains.  Cross contamination into other beers can be a constant worry, and for American craft breweries which produce sour ales, it often means the beers are kept far apart from others – if the craft breweries take the chance on producing such beers to begin with.  At any rate, lambics are Belgian sour ales to which some type of fruit is added during fermentation, to add additional flavor to the beer, and to accent their sour nature.  There are four predominantly used fruits, peaches (Peche), black currant (Cassis), raspberries (Framboise) and cherries, or “Kriek”, as with Verhaeghe’s Echt Kriekenbier.  If you’re still getting into sour ales, a fruit imbued one such as this is a good place to start.

Parkway Brewing Parkway Brewing in Salem recently debuted their dark Belgian style ale, Magella, a beer Brew Master Ryan Worthington developed in honor of his wife Jessica.  Of course, she has had plenty of influence on the brewery already, having painted the beautiful mural which stretches along one side of the brewery’s outside wall.  The Parkway Brewing website describes the beer as having been brewed in a traditional way, “with candy sugar and Belgian hops, malt and yeast. It’s the clove, with hints of banana, that dominate the flavor and aroma of this rich, ruby brown beer.”  These beers usually are somewhat sweet, but with a deep, rich overall character from the malt used and the affects of the yeast during fermentation.  Clove and banana tastes are typical, but occasionally you’ll also get some dark fruit like flavors as well.  These beers are also usually high abv beers, and Magella lives up to that, coming in just north of 11%.  Personally, I cannot wait to give this one a try.  They’re usually an intense, complex tasting experience.

Late Friday surprises aside, there is plenty of new beer to try out this weekend in Roanoke, as well as some excellent ones still hanging around from the week before – either way, we’re almost to the weekend – perhaps a new favorite is just around the corner!  Cheers!


~ by thebeerroad on March 22, 2013.

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