Heavy Hangover | Your Highness – Hoogheid
Belgian Strong Ale
In 1963 the ‘Almanach de Gotha’ was first published, providing detailed facts and statistics on the nations of the world and their reigning houses. 1200 pages, of which about half dedicated to monarchial or aristocratic families ruling their nations. The almanac soon became the authority in classification of monarchies and their court, reigning and former dynasties, as well as princely and ducal families. The book adequately covered Europe’s highest level of aristocracy and bloodlines, but has also fallen prey to the conquerors of Europe over the centuries.
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Napoleon for instance demanded a second edition featuring the French bloodlines, much to Monsieur de Champigny’s disgruntledly claiming it was a horrible piece of work and in 1877, upon the founding of the German empire, many of the ruling houses from the Holy Roman Empire were grouped together in section II, causing rift. Its change over the course of centuries was significant with a downfall in the aftermath of WWII when Soviet troops took Gotha and systematically destroyed all libraries and archives at Perthes publishing company, ceasing operations.
Nevertheless, the titles of royals and reigning houses were established royal houses of Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium still applying the official title to its members addressing them in second and third person. And this, is where ‘Hoogheid’ comes in… with Belgian metal band Your Highness bridging the translation of this noble title with their band name as well as the collaboration with Vleesmeester Brewery releasing their ‘Hoogheid’ I.P.A. “Your Highness” translates to “(Uwe) Hoogheid” in Dutch/Flemmish, and politely drops the possessive adjective for empowerment and more appeal in formality. Ladies and gentlemen of the Heavy Metal court, I present to you: ‘HOOGHEID’
YOUR HIGHNESS AND HOOGHEID
Antwerp based Your Highness has established name and fame with their stoner tinged Heavy as Hell metal. Sludgy and doomy it pulls forward with tremendous turmoil and avid anger building a wall of sound to accompany their intense videos on YouTube. Videos with intense content, like the stylish “DesertKater”, directed by Erik Hauters and famous Belgian comedian Philippe Geubels, topped by the horrific story of “Deathsman”.
The latter tells the story of 3 students disappearing after they investigated the urban legend of Johannes Duyster, the cities hangman and executioner of Antwerp in the 17th century. With Your Highness rehearsing in Music City rehearsal studios, they get introduced to the story and video made about the sinister disappearance… and they have vanished ever since….
VLEESMEESTER BREWERY – Hoogheid
Belgian Strong Ale
9,0 % ABV
Contrary to the band’s sludge driven and anger-laden metal, this ‘Hoogheid’ is a subtle and crisp Belgian Strong Ale with lush appeal, heavily hopped and bordering with an Imperial I.P.A. The label is heavy metal black with brownish golden artwork and frame. ‘Hoogheid’ dominates the label in white gothic font, with piercing white eyes staring back at you from behind. The royal represented appears to be of Eastern descend, judging the turban featured in subdued gold color. As brewery and band state on the back label, ‘Hoogheid’ is a 9% alcoholic “heavy, hoppy, rockin’ beer” to enjoy.
This tasteful presentation lines up perfectly with the golden and slightly hazy amber pour of the beer. Dubbed ‘Belgian Strong Golden Ale’, I prefer labelling it as an Imperial IPA for its higher ABV of 9% and sweet notes full of hopiness. For that matter, the beer as a Belgian Strong Ale, also shrugs with Dry Hopped tendencies. Like the gloomy driven riffs, the beer pours with insidious persistence inflating the head rapidly. The result is a thick, off white, foamy honeycomb head that lasts. The clear golden beer transforms into hazy light copper with the last drops and bottle’s sediment added.
There’s a nice malty sweet nose with spices and caramellike sweetness and vanilla tones. It balances with the typical sweet hoppiness of an I.P.A. and invites for a first sip. Overwhelmingly bitter drought hits with a peppery grasp. Drying rapidly the mouthfeel is somewhat harsh but balances out with the sweetness that is contradictive and long lasting. The tasting experience lasts feeding the frenzy. Heavy ponder, gripping daunting riffs and angry belted lyrics fill the air with Your Highness playing.
,,Black Moon Rising” swings the axe and makes perfect companion for my first gulp of ‘Hoogheid’. Bringing the beer back and forth, taste buds are tickled and the dry dominant mouth feel gets injected with more tropical fruity notes. Mango, pineapple and peach are present, but the overall supremacy is grapefruit welling with the previously mentioned peppery spiced notes.
Sweet malty tones fuse with the (minor) caramel sweetness and balance the top of the beer’s taste palette. Again, the longevity of the beer is exquisite and impressive. Tongue tickled, the beer manages to impress with a fruity pierce of the harsh bitter, enhancing the taste. Mentioned to be an easy drinking beer, I challenge this with the alcohol presence and the IPA bitterness raising the bar for average drinkers. While pouring another bottle picked up previously, I taste the light degradation of its aging, matching the sludge and doom of ,,The Quietus” playing. Expiration day passed, the beer is more malty and leans towards an earthy triple. Still enjoyable, but it not matches the ‘drink fresh’ allure of the previous pour as is. Yes indeed, I f*cked up!
On the other hand, a scorching and more grainy ale with malty head will make a perfect companion in Your Highness’ thick as molasses riff-rage of ,,The Quietus”. Nothing like the fresh and crisp ‘Hoogheid’, but it still bridges with some other beers to taste this evening.
A greasy platter of baby ribs added to the experience of the beer’s tasting. Smokey BBQ sauce atop, ‘Hoogheid’ and ribs gel like mad. Grease thick covering is dissolved by the I.P.A.-like bitters, making it a pleasant pairing.
‘Hoogheid’ is brewed since 2014, and definitely is meant to last. The beer has a refreshing taste crisp and its longevity entices. Once you get past the bitterness you will find great depth and tropical sweet tones that make it highly enjoyable. Served chilled, this will make a great companion at sizzling hot summer festivals enjoying heavy blunt riffs and ominous metal. It will certainly cool you while it blooms with its rich palette. Be careful, as its unexpected high ABV of 9% will slam your knees inside out drunk to fast.
On the other hand, once you care to let it warm and breathe, the beer opens an even richer and more varied palette. This makes ‘Hoogheid’ a contribution to every craftbeer and metal enthusiasts’ collection, in summer and autumn/spring. And yes: Blast Your Highness on your sound system to insert heavy vibrations for the beers carburation, and to get you banging!
You can purchase ‘Hoogheid’ via Johnny Liquor HERE