Beer Judging and the Battle of the Belgians at Jimmy’s No. 43

A lineup of secret Belgian and Belgian-style brews awaited our expert palates.

Battle of the Belgians: our beer expert panel judged a total of 28 Belgian and Belgian-style brews.

On a recent morning, Jimmy’s No. 43 owner, Jimmy Carbone reached out to me with a trifecta of good news: he had read and thoroughly enjoyed a feature I had written for Ale Street News on beer web series; he invited me to join him on an upcoming episode of his internet radio show, Beer Sessions Radio, recorded at Roberta’s in Brooklyn for the Heritage Radio Network; and he asked if I’d like to join the beer judging panel at his restaurant for the sixth annual Battle of the Belgians competition to be held that Saturday. Naturally, I accepted.

Jimmy Carbone and I at the Battle of the Belgians on Dec. 6, 2015.

Jimmy Carbone and I at the Battle of the Belgians on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2015.

Beer Judges

The judging panel, led by Gregg Glaser, gathered at Jimmy’s on Friday afternoon to taste and rate what turned out to be 28 Belgian and Belgian-style brews, including a mix of traditional Belgian and American Belgian-style ales, lambics and guezes. The panel included:

Belgian Beer Lineup at Jimmys

Best Belgians

The beer judging panel split into two groups, the first, led by Glaser, tasting a majority of lambics and guezes and the second, led by Paul Zocco (and including myself) sampled a selection of Belgian-style blondes, saisons and tripels. Each group was tasked to select the top three beers in their category for a second round of six total beers to be included and judged in the final round. The following were the best Belgian beers, according to our expert panel:

  • 1st Place: Oude Quetsche Tilquin à L’Ancienne,  a blend of one- and two-year-old lambic fermented with fresh plums, hailing from Rebecq, Belgium
  • 2nd Place: Cuvée Des Jacobins Rouge,  a Flanders sour red ale by Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste in Bellegem, Belgium
  • 3rd Place: Saison Dupont, the ultimate classic in Belgian saisons brewed by Dupont Brewery in Tourpes, Belgium.
Taking some notes on the selected bottles of Triporteur.

Taking some notes on the selected bottles of Triporteur.

The Crowd Speaks

Saturday’s event kicked off at 1pm, drawing in around 40 guests ready to cast their ballots of the best Belgian and Belgian-style brews in the show. To my surprise, attendees were not he usual suspects seen at New York beer events (AKA, not the usual beer nerds and reps I’m used to running into at beer events), but an eclectic group of personalities from the greater New York area who seemed, simply, to enjoy the finer things in life — along with learning about new beers.

This made for interesting Peoples’ Choice Awards results; the popular vote, as it turned out, varied completely from the selections of us judges the night prior.

Battle of the Belgians guests were seldom far from the B.United table.

Battle of the Belgians guests were seldom far from the B.United table.

The Peoples’ Choice Awards were as follows:

Among the other favorites that did not quite fit into the mix were Hitachino Saison du Japan (Jimmy’s favorite), Brouwerij Alvinne Wild West (Pat’s favorite, to a point of near-obsession), and my personal favorites, Crooked Stave Wild Sage Lambic, and Stillwater/Hof Ten Dormaal Arcana.

To learn more about the Battle of the Belgians and Jimmy’s No. 43, visit the website here — or drop into Jimmy’s in the East Village any day after 2pm (1pm on weekends). For photos of the event, see: Battle of the Belgians 2015 at Jimmy’s No. 43.

Photos by Patrick Phillips.


5 thoughts on “Beer Judging and the Battle of the Belgians at Jimmy’s No. 43

  1. Pingback: Photo Gallery: Battle of the Belgians 2015 at Jimmy’s No. 43 | @ beer affair

  2. What a great opportunity. Did you enjoy all the beers? I know when you judging you don’t get much, just enough for a taste. I read the same article. Hope you get lots more opportunities such as this.

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