Last night I decided to put one of my Westvleteren Brick Pack bottles with date code 10.02.15 (right in the photo) against a bottle brought back from Belgium with a date code 20.12.16 (left in the photo). The Brick bottle should be just hitting its stride right now as it is two years old, and the Belgian variant is just a bit over a year old. So how would the beers perform in the showdown?
Both the Brick and the Belgian poured with a creamy moussy head which never left the party. The Belgian was slightly cloudy while the Brick was crystal clear. I suspect I should have let the Belgian sit in the fridge for a couple of weeks since I just got it on Wednesday, but you cannot stop science. The aroma on the Brick was malty with a light hint of spice, the Belgian was a little more husky in nature and seemed to sit back a notch on the complexity scale. I preferred the aroma of the Brick and the appearance of the Brick won hands down. Advantage Brick!
For the flavor the Brick was still quite bitter, almost 2X the bitter character of the younger Belgian. I’ve long thought the Brick bottles I received were overly bitter and now that has been confirmed. Both had great, and similar, malt complexity and the velvety smooth mouthfeel was quite a treat. The Belgian was still a bit young to soundly defeat the Brick, but would definitely be kicking the Brick in the teeth twelve months from now. Because the bitterness in the Brick was still so pronounced the Belgian took the flavor prize. As far as mouthfeel it was a draw. Since flavor is so important the showdown goes to the Belgian.
Now somewhere in the back of my mind I thought if I mixed the two beers I would come up with a bottle mix which would outperform both the Brick and the Belgian. Of course I was correct. Mixed the bitterness was lessened, the aroma was complex and the flavor was darn tasty. I still don’t think it quite measures up to the bottle I had ten years ago which was already five years old, but my plan is to try a Brick beer every year until I drink all six and since I still have four left the beer has time to come around.