De Struise Brouwers produces a Belgian strong ale called Tsjeeses. The 2010 Reserva is aged in bourbon barrels. The name is the colloquial rendering of “Jesus” with a label featuring a headshot of him in a Santa hat that is more reminiscent of the brewer, Urbain Coutteau, than our Saviour.
I’m reviewing the De Struise Tsjeeses Reserva Bourbon Barrel Aged from 2010. It has been carefully cellared.
Tsjeeses Reserva pours copper with a firm amber head of foam that lasts. I detect aromas of malts, bourbon, candy sugar, and yeast. It is surprising dry (not sweet) for such a big malty beer. It tastes of malts, caramel, boozy (it is 10% ABV), vanilla, coriander, white pepper, and bready yeast. It has a smooth mouthfeel and finishes slightly sweet. The star of this beer is the bourbon barrel malt flavors that are rich and generous.
De Struise Brouwers is located in Belgium near the border with France and is one of the highest rated breweries in the world. It is located in village of Oostvleteren. Sound familiar? It is only a couple miles from Trappist Westvleteren.
Struise is related the Flemish word for “ostrich” (one of the brewers also runs an ostrich farm), which are thought by locals to be sturdy, thus De Struise Brouwers means “The Sturdy Brewers.”
Several versions of Tsjeeses Reserva have been created – in oak, bourbon barrels, and port barrels. This is one of those beers that if you see it, buy it immediately, for you may never see a bottle again.
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