De Struise Brouwers from Oostvleteren, Belgium has made quite a splash with their very agreeable beers. Tsjeeses a colloquial pronunciation of “Jesus” and this is their Christmas beer. Actually, Struise makes several versions of Tsjeeses. There’s the Bourbon Barrel Aged Reserva and this is the Port Barrel Aged Reserva.
I purchased this 2011 vintage in Belgium last Spring and carried back to the North Pole.
Tsjeeses Port Barrel Aged Reserva pours translucent copper, a little lighter colored than the Bourbon Barrel Aged, with a fine foam head. It’s unfiltered and unpasteurized. The nose has candi sugar, caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, and raisins. It tastes, well, yummy! It’s has sweet malts, vanilla, white pepper, yeast, and a touch of orange peel from the bitter hops. Tsjeeses is sweet but it’s not syrupy or jammy. It’s a satisfying mouthful of candied fruit, finishing with warmth that spreads down your throat from the 10% ABV.
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.”
Despite it’s age, Tsjeeses Port Barrel Aged Reserva 2011 is still available on store shelves. The brewery does much of the aging before it released this beer.
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