Season 2, Episode 8: It’s getting to the point where selecting a great craft beer, and rare beers even more so, is like finding fine wine: it becomes a very expensive endeavor. This episode of the “I Love Beer” show – broadcasted live at Cheers Bar in Las Vegas, NV – proves you can drink some great tasting craft beers at bargain prices, and we highlighted Hoegaarden White Ale and Trappistes Rochefort to prove it!

If you’re been searching for craft beer at your local beer/wine distributor, you’ll find the craft beer aisles are filled with interesting selections that rate highly on various beer tasting scales. The problem is many craft beers are in the double-digit pricing per bottle! And that’s no exaggeration. While we’ve showcased many a beer that fits that category on the show, some are actually worth the price. But what if you don’t want to spend that kind of money? The good news is there are alternatives.

The Hoegaarden Original White Ale that we started the show off is such an example. Brewed in Belgium, it’s only 4.7% alcohol, but this witbier has constantly ranked highly in the low 90s on many taste tests. For the price, it’s hard to find fault with this craft beer as this beer holds up extremely well to its expensive ale counterparts. We found Hoegaarden to be a quick, refreshing, and great tasting session beer. It’s smooth with no lasting bitterness, making this really a perfect beer to start craft “newbies’ on.

Hoegaarden pours a substantially tall head with above average retention. The body is almost an opaque, yellow hue producing a pale, cloudy yellow color with just a touch of carbonation resulting in a soft, foamy mouthfeel that makes for enjoyable drinking. The beer closes semi-dry, with a light stickiness that lingers across the palate and crates an aftertaste of yeast, banana ester, faint citrus peel, coriander, and a wheat-centered malt base that you’ll find delicious. The best part? You can get a six-pack of this beer for about $7.50. Seriously! Talk about craft beer value!

But then we upped the ante and introduced Trappistes Rochefort 10, which can only be described as a world class beer, consistently rating 100 out of 100 on taste tests. The brewery is located inside the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Saint-Rémy, near the town of Rochefort, and has been brewing beer since 1595. As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is only sold in order to financially support the monastery and some other charitable causes. Like many strong Belgian beers, those produced at Rochefort age well and can be cellared for at least five years while maintaining quality. The water for the beers is drawn from a well located inside the monastery walls.

The 11.3% alcohol beer pours a soft mahogany with a light tan foam with decent retention. While we found it light on aroma, the taste was an extremely complex mixture of earthy, dried fruits, roasted pecan, country bread, toffee, and cherry. What’s interesting is that the flavor level kept increasing as we drank the beer, almost like a wine has to “breathe”. Strangely, the taste morphed from a lightly bitter dry molasses into an amazingly deep bready character, offset with hints of citrus, toasted rye, honey, and grain with a completely smooth, dry finish. Being priced at $7.00 per bottle makes this beer perhaps one of the best price-to-value craft beers you can possibly find.

Mission accomplished! Those drinking in attendance at Cheers finished the Hoegaarden in record time and as you can tell from the video, the Rochefort didn’t last long either. Great craft beers will do that! Do you know of any great tasting craft beers that make excellent bargains price-wise? Let us know on our Fan Page on Facebook and don’t forget to text BEER to 69302 to get our mobile updates of upcoming shows and events!