First of all, we were shockingly deceived by the name of this event. Yes, *last* year it was Queen’s Day, but Queen Beatrix abdicated almost a year ago, a year ago Wednesday, in fact. This was, in fact, King’s Day in honor of King Willem-Alexander. Curiously, this was the first King’s Day ever due to a tradition of long-lived queens:
The country marked its first-ever Kings Day since the occasion was first celebrated in 1890 when princess Wilhelmina became queen following the death of her father. Queen Juliana, Wilhelmina’s daughter, was crowned in 1948 and from 1949, the Queen’s Day celebrations honored her birthday on April 30. Queen Juliana’s daughter Beatrix became queen on April 30, 1980. Her birthday is on January 31, but Queen’s Day remained on April 30 – coinciding with Queen Beatrix’s own coronation day and her mother’s birthday.
Moving on to the important thing: the beer!
As a warm-up, I had a flight of 4. Last Thursday was their tasting of the beers from Clown Shoes Brewery, and four of those were still on the board. I had three of them. I was not impressed by their Brown Ale. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but nothing outstanding either. Their IPA was quite good, hoppy and spicy, maybe a touch of citrus. Their Black IPA was the most interesting of the three, somewhat sneaky: at first it didn’t appear to be that hoppy, but the bitterness came on strong late on the finish. I must say that the best of the flight was a Double IPA, but I must confess that I forget whose it was. Mea Culpa!
My sister-in-law had a Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat, a very interesting beer which tastes like <drum roll> pretzel, very much so. I would happily drink that one. Meanwhile, may wife had a Paulaner Salvator Dopplebock, an old favorite that is consistently good . . . but German, so not in the tasting.
Speaking of which, five of our party of seven participated, and everyone found at least one to like. That wouldn’t have been the case if this had been an IPA tasting. I might have been the only one of us who likes hops, with the possible exception of my nephew’s girlfriend. The first one was a Saisonette, quite light and relatively close to a lager, not especially memorable to me. The next was a Dopplebock, quite nice, and I see that I have grossly failed you by forgetting who brewed what . . . and none of these remain on the board, having been totally consumed since then. However, the next entry was Kwak, a bottled Belgian Strong Ale, a very good one with a touch of caramel and a faint hint of smoke. The next was my favorite of the batch, a Tripel Karmeleit from Brouwerij Bosteels (which I just looked up, apparently the recipe is older than Belgium). This had significant caramel and spice and a very, very smooth finish. All of us liked that one, and three of us bought some to bring home (the first two bought 12-oz bottles and the stock was cleared out, so I had to settle for a 750ml. Pity. The final one was a Quad, very good, and once again I have let you down by forgetting to record this immediately.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!