I was recently invited to a beer tasting at The Copper Door to try some amazing beers paired with some interesting and unusual appetizers. The event was themed “Belgium and Belgium Inspired Brews” with Joe Corona from the Wine Warehouse. The appetizers were provided by The Crosby, a local restaurant/bar, which were delicious and very adventurous.

The Copper Door is quite possibly one of my favorite bars in Orange County. It seems to be untouched by the “douchey-hipster” vibe that you get from practically everywhere else in Orange County, which is a very good thing. Sometimes you just want to go to a bar, and have a beer, and hang out and relax. Unfortunately most places don’t cater to that preference, or have a good beer selection. Lucky for you, The Copper Door has a stress-free atmosphere with a fantastic beer assortment to choose from. The design of the place reminds me of Belgium/German style design with a very long wooden table in the middle of the bar with wooden benches. The bar itself is underground, which might make reception for you phone hard to come by, but the feeling of stepping away from the norm of reality makes it worth it.

Arriving to the tasting, my fiancé and I sat next to Greg from OC Beer Blogwhom I have met before and thoroughly enjoy. Greg might possibly have the best quips and tasting notes on the planet so if you spot him at an event you should follow him around with a recorder because the stuff he says is gold.

We arrived right before the pouring began and Joe started speaking about the beer. We tasted several beers, in a very fast paced-fashion, and talked about the differences in flavor, origin, and complexities.

Chimay Triple White (8%ABV, 99 RB) – Hazy honey in color and served with a medium white head. Light fruit, dough, yeast smell with sweet flavor of fruity esters and yeast. Good carbonation and a bitter, crisp finish.

Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles (4.5% ABV, 61 RB) – Light, somewhat hazy yellow color with a lot of head. The carbonation is high, and the mouth feel is widely varied. The tartness is nicely balanced by the malty sweetness. The major flavor profile is the coriander and orange.

Grimbergen Cuvée Ambrée / Double (Dubbel) (6.5%ABV, 88 RB) – This beer was a nice change from the light Belgians, with a chocolate and toffee flavor and dark in color.

Van Diest Früli Strawberry Beer (4.1%ABV, 24 RB) – I like some fruit beers very much, but I was not a huge fan of this one. It tasted like lipstick to me.

Allagash Black (7.5%ABV, 98 RB) – bitter coffee chocolate darker ale with lovely change in flavor profile as it warms. The fuller body and carbonation shines through with a hint of oats.

Unibroue La Fin Du Monde (9%ABV, 99 RB) – “The End of the World” beer. This beer is triple fermented with a blend of different yeasts which give it a very unique flavor and very mild alcohol burn. If you haven’t had this one, you should.

North Coast PranQster Belgian (7.6%ABV, 92 RB) – citrus noise and a hint of apple, subtle spice flavor and mild carbonation. The interesting thing about this beer is North Coast uses a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that results in a floral nose, a full fruity flavor and a clean finish.

Allagash White (5%ABV, 94 RB) – spicy and light flavor. It’s got a terrific yeast profile and has some hints of herbs which remind me of basil.

Chimay Bleue (Blue) / Grande Réserve (9%ABV, 100 RB) – This is one of my favorite Belgian dark beers. This is a Trappist style, bottle conditioned strong ale with varied sweet yeast and malty caramel flavors. This beer gets more complex the warmer it gets.

The beers were paired with:

German Tea Sandwiches: Fennel sauerkraut, head cheese, smoked gouda, sweet & spicy mustardon on pumpernickel bread.

Gruyere Cheese Tuile: Smoked sausage with Gooseberry marmalade.

Red Cabbage Tart: Beer braised red cabbage currants and carrot mustard puree on a dill puff pastry.

The appetizers were very interesting and good. I particularly liked the red cabbage tart because the carrot puree was very tasty, and the cabbage was delightful. That’s saying a lot because I don’t really like cabbage. The cheese tuile was also good, and I liked the smoked sausage.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable evening where I had great food and amazing beer with marvelous people. The Copper Door is in downtown Santa Ana, right on the corner of Broadway and 3rd street and are open Tuesday through Saturday between 8pm to 2am. Come and enjoy a beer with me there!