Affligem Blonde

1 09 2011

 Affligem Blonde is a classic example of an authentic Belgian Abbey beer. Brewed since the 12th century and now produced by Affligem Brewery under licence from the Benedictine monks.

 I first came across Afligem in Belgoes in London when I had several bottles to accompany a very nice, relaxed lunch last Summer.

 Now any regular readers, I assume I have at least one, will know that I am rather partial to a nice Belgian beer and Affligem certainly ticks that box.

 I wouldn’t say it is the best Abbey beer that I have ever had but it is far from being the worst and with a fairly middle of the road abv, 6.70 %, is great for those Summer afternoon sessions in the back garden.

So lets have a look  shall we?

The beer pours with a decent off white head, about 3 or 4 fingers, which last well and creates a nice contrast with the clear, golden body of the ale.

As is usual with Belgian beers there are plenty of aromas vying for your attention; there are strong hints of  tropical fruit, cinnamon, there is a light hoppiness that comes through along with with some floral elements and a big punch of spicy yeast… all in all so far so good!

Flavours are well balanced and light across the board, you can pick up pretty much everything that was present in the nose along with some green apples and what tasted surprisingly like coriander.

The beer has a great mouthfeel to it with a some really nice tight carbonation, not unlike a Champagne.  Affligem starts slightly sweet and finishes on a nice dry note that is really quite refreshing.

I find that Affligem has a slightly cleaner taste to it than a lot of the heavier Belgian beers and this coupled with it’s relatively low abv mean that whilst it isn’t one of the stand out Belgians it is a very capable example and is actually better suited to being consumed in larger volumes.

4/5

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Belgo Centraal

14 05 2010

I am still trying to work through my slightly incoherent notes from my recent trip back home to London, this isn’t proving to be the easiest task as a lot of my latter notes are affected by the copious amounts of beer that were being consumed.

However I did stumble across one sheet of paper on which I had simply written the word Belgos and drawn and very amateurish trappist monk getting chased by a mussel.

This childish drawing was actually surpsingly helpful as notes go, it encapsulates a lot of what Belgo is about.

Mussels, Belgium and Beer – lots of beer,  absurd amounts of beer.

Let me start at the beginning, Belgo is a chain of Belgian restaurants with several locations  throughout the capital, Centraal is on Earlham Street in Covent Garden and is just over the road from Neal’s Yard.

You walk into the restaurant at ground level and it is a little bit like entering an industrial inspired nightclub, lots of steel walk ways and warning stips lead you towards a greeter who announces your arrival and how many guests there are through a large walky talky.

If you look down and to your right you are actually over the kitchen and can see a brigade of chefs beavering away busily.

The dining area is downstairs and the first thing you notice is that all of the serving and bar staff are dressed like trappist monks…

The star of the show in terms of food has to be the moule et frites, they do several different selections of mussles however for me it has to be the classic Moule Mariniere, you can even get a 1 kilo pot of mussels for a very reasonable 12 quid!

The rest of the food is also excellent with wild boar sausages with stoemp another favourite of mine.

But of course I don’t just come here for the food, Belgo has one of if not the best beer list of more or less any restaurant in London.

Whilst they might not have my usual choice of cask ale this is one occasional where I just don’t care!

There are proper lagers, there are blonde beers, there are wheat beers, there are a range of fruit beers to die for, there are trappist beers, there are abbey beers, they even have the mighty 11.5%  Deus Brut des Flandres at a whopping £32.95 for a 75cl bottle.

It’s a little bit like dying and finding out that heaven has great beer on tap and a never ending supply of mussels.

It isn’t the worlds greatest or poshest restaurant, hell it doesnt even come close but the food is very good (reasonable too) and the beers are to die for.

If you like food and beer then visit.








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