BEER BOX

THE WEEK'S BEST BUYS
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The Independent Culture
*La Chouffe, Oddbins, pounds 2.99/75cl

* Poperings Hommelbier, Oddbins, pounds 1.29/25cl

TWO HAPPY arrivals through the letter-box inspire the contents of this week's booze-box: a copy of Michael Jackson's new book The Great Beers of Belgium (Prion, pounds 14.99) and the guest beers for March from Oddbins. Sipping and reading contentedly, I learn that the brewers of La Chouffe recommend laying it down for three to 12 months, and that its fresh, lemony flavours - thoroughly admirable on my drinking - gain in complexity through ageing. The Poperings is made with local hops and has a lovely balance of sweetness and hoppy bitterness, and its diminutive size makes it a perfect lunchtime aperitif. Delicious bottles both, and cheap (especially La Chouffe) for such dazzling quality.

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