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Day #81 – Stella Artois

March 23, 2011

If you recall, last week I reviewed what is arguably the world’s most recognizable stout, Guinness Draught.  Well today I am planning on reviewing what is arguably the world’s most recognizable craft BEER!  I’m excluding the macro breweries for the purposes of this blog because, well they aren’t craft beer.  However, technically as this company was purchased by InBev Belgium then they no longer qualify as a craft brewery anyway.  Oh well screw it.

Stella Artois

Stella Artois is a pale lager that originates from Leuven, Belgium.  While Stella itself has only been brewed since 1926, the brewery it came from dates back all the way to 1366!  If you look closely you will notice this is reflected in the label for this beer, “Anno 1366”.  From my research I found that tax records date back this far and that is how we know the brewery existed back then.  Even hundreds of years ago beer was still taxed.  Crazy.

Stella Artois is also known for it’s iconic glassware, with a thick stem and base that melds into a large sloping bowl topped with a gold rim.   I usually have more than one of these laying around my house but as I am checking now, it looks like I only have 1!  (It was fairly dusty when I pulled it out, so excuse the freshly washed appearance in my picture). I must have traded the others away.  Oh well, I’ll just have to find another time to hold a free glass contest.

On to the beer…

This beer pours a very clear light golden color with a fizzy white head.  There is quite a bit of carbonation apparent in this one.

Aroma is of pilsener malts and grains, slight metal, and some other sweet notes.  Almost a candied sweetness.  I don’t think it’s skunked but I can’t say for certain that there isn’t just a hint of light striking.

As an aside, I was watching a beer special on the cooking channel earlier this week and it centered around this beer, Stella Artois and how it gets from the grain to the glass.  At one point they were inside the brewery and viewing the bottling line.  It was at this point that it was mentioned that all Stella that is bottled in brown bottles is reserved for the Belgians themselves and the green bottles are used for export.  The gentleman who was working there mentioned that this is due to the green bottles having a special treatment to protect them from the light.  This was absolute CRAP!  No amount of special treatment would improve green glass over brown.  I don’t know the real deal here, but if I were to guess it would be that green glass is cheaper to come by and American consumers don’t know the difference between good beer and bad beer so that’s why they use them.  Granted that’s merely speculative on my part.  If it were me, I would want the beer that has the furthest distance to travel to carry the most amount of protection.  But that’s just me.

The flavor mirrors the aroma.  Bitter grains and malts with some metallic flavorings and a bittersweet finish.  No skunk flavor at cold temperatures.  Drink it fast though because this style certainly does not improve as it warms.

And the glass goes back on the shelf…

Cheers!

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