Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beer Notes: Duvel

I've sometimes wondered what would happen if France ever absorbed Belgium. One thing's for sure: they'd have better beers. I'm not sure why exactly the French make beers that are just so-so, while the Belgians, who are so nearby, make such great beers. Is it just the Flemish that make good beer? In Belgium, the Trappists brew a lot of really great beer, but they have abbeys in about twenty other countries, where they don't. Anyway, it's a mystery.

Duvel is excellent Belgian beer. It's extremely dark tasting and sort of bitter; the word they use on the bottle is "strong". I want to say that it's like drinking coffee, but not quite; it's more like liquor. It's about 8.5% alcohol, which might explain that. It's also, frankly, delicious.

The recipe is from the 1920s and hasn't changed at all. Wikipedia: "Considered by many the definitive version of the Belgian Strong Golden Ale style, Duvel is brewed with Pilsner malt and white sugar, and hopped with Saaz hops and Styrian Goldings, the yeast still stems from the original culture of Scottish yeast bought by Albert Moortgat during a prospection-tour in the U.K. just after WWI." The beer is also aged for two months in the brewery cellar.

Anyway, it's highly recommended.


gregvw said...

I've had pretty good luck with Belgian beers in general. While the most well-known, Stella Artois is wholly unremarkable, Orval, Duvel, Chimay and the like are excellent. I also like lambic and wit.

By many accounts "the best beer in the world" is Trappist Westvleteren 12. Conveniently, I will be in Leuven in a month and shall endeavor to scare some up and give a review.

rufus said...

Yeah, do that! I was just talking about the Westvleteren beers with a friend who went to the abbey and got some. I don't imagine I'll be able to travel there any time soon.

Actually, we just tried Chimay last night and I was planning to post about that soon. It was pretty great.