Belgian brews are among the world's greats, and Dick Naudts of De Proefbrouwerij likes to experiment with the varied recipes that make them so unique. He founded his small, techno cutting-edge facility back in 1996, and while collaborating with other top brewers from around the world, Naudts has explored the varied Belgian styles with admirable success. Here are three of his remarkable brews that have found their way to Boise, all in 750 milliliter, cork-finished bottles.
K-O Blond Beer
Looks can be deceptive. This hazy amber pour appears to be a patently civilized brew, but lurking beneath that subtle exterior is a 10 percent alcohol kick in the face. The floral bouquet is marked by spicy fruit esters, orange zest, earthy hops, soft citrus and a touch of pepper. Fruit flavors dominate the palate (apricot, spiced pear, orange), all wrapped around a toffee accented core. It finishes with honeyed fruit and you can feel the alcohol more on the back end. It's a big take on the blond style that is not for the faint of heart.
La Grande Blanche Belgian Imperial White Ale
Wit beers are among my favorites and this one is as good as it gets—smooth and creamy and oh so easy to drink. A cloudy straw in color, it's bright and fruity on the nose with sweet lemon, tropical fruit and touches of cranberry and coriander. The flavors have great hang time and are full of yeasty citrus and light, but floral hops. It has all the freshness I like about this style with just the right hit of spice. This remarkably satisfying brew makes you think spring must be right around the corner.
Saison Imperiale Belgian Farmhouse Ale
This caramel-colored ale is the most wine-like of the three, opening up with a nice Belgian barnyard funk on the nose that's layered with plum, cherry, leather and light spice. It needs to warm up a bit to reveal the full flavor profile: a creamy texture filled with buttery malt, baked cherry, fig, a light earthiness and a hint of mineral. This one gets better with every sip and is the kind of brew that begs to be paired with food. It goes great with the Basque Market's killer mushroom bisque, or try it with a plate of bleu cheese. Grilled steak smothered in mushrooms and onions or salmon would also make a good match.