Globe Tapping 

A world beer tour guided by An "Mekong" Bui.

click to enlarge SCOTT ELMQUIST

To the brew-loving folk of the Commonwealth, An "Mekong" Bui is the patron saint of good beer. The chief beer officer at Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant (6004 W. Broad St., 288-8929) has tasted more than 10,000 sudsy beverages from across the globe, and a handful have left an impression on the self-proclaimed beer-vangelist. He shares a few worldly suggestions:

Switzerland

Brasserie Fontaine Montagnes Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (11 percent alcohol)

Taste: Strong sour ale.

An Says: "This cuvée, luminous amber in color, matures for months in oak barrels that previously contained wine or other spirits. It is the oak barrels that give this beer the manifold complex aromas. On the palate, the brew reminds one of fruity red wines with a pronounced acidity."

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Belgium

Val Dieu Grand Cru (10.5 percent alcohol)

Taste: Dark, spicy, with aroma of roasted malt, chocolate and port wine.

An Says: "So many great Belgian beers, but here's one. From Brasserie De L'Abbaye Du Val-Dieu, this is the latest addition from Cistercian abbey of Val-Dieu. It tastes so smooth."

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Holland

La Trappe Isid'or (7.5 per cent alcohol)

Taste: Slightly sweet amber, hints of caramel and a fruity aftertaste.

An Says: "Brewed by Trappist monks with the self-cultivated Perle hop. Worldwide, only seven Trappist beers remain. Six of these come from Belgium, one comes from the Netherlands, and that is La Trappe. Beer can only be called 'Trappist' if it is brewed at a Trappist monastery under the supervision and responsibility of the monks."

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Canada

Dieu de Ciel Peche Mortel (9.5 percent alcohol)

Taste: Imperial stout, pronounced coffee flavor.

An Says: "This is an incredible stout with very pronounced roasted flavors. Fair-trade coffee is infused during the brewing process, helping to intensify the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful taste."

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Japan

Hitachino Nest White Ale (5 percent alcohol)

Taste: Belgian-style witbier, hints of coriander, nutmeg and orange.

An Says: "The mouth feel is crisp and well carbonated. To me this is the best beer from Japan."

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Vietnam

None

An says: "All the beers taste like crap."

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