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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Duvel double pack

17 07 2011

A few weeks back I wrote about the Maredsous and Chimay triple packs that have recently reappeared in our local off licence.

Well hot on their tasty little heels is a new arrival; the Duvel double pack with glass goblet…

 

The glass is great… odd as it sounds to say that it really is, anyone who hasn’t tried Duvel from one of these chalices/goblets is really missing out, the flavours open up a lot and a beer that is already great becomes truly excellent -you can read my review of Duvel here.

The price on this was particularly good, I paid €6.25 which seems like a little bit of a steal when you work out that each bottle of Duvel by itself is €3.80 and that last time the goblets were in stock they wanted a whopping €7.50 for them





Duvel

3 12 2010

 So as to prove that I’m not some xenophobic “little Englander” I have decided to turn my attentions to the unsuspecting nation of Belgium.

 In particular I have in my sights their very good, indeed often excellent, selection of beers. I am starting with Duvel for no other reason than my own personal love of the stuff, even if too many bottles do result in the mother of all headaches.

 So where to begin, well Duvel is as I say a Belgian beer but it took its original inspiration from English ale of all things.

After WW1 English ales were getting fairly popular in Belgium and Moortgat decided to get in on the act so off they popped to Scotland and got their hands on some yeast and the rest is history…

I have seen Duvel listed as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and this is probably the closest you will get to pinning a label on it, one thing is for certain at 8.5% it sure is strong, I have known more than one person snort at the diminutive 330ml bottle and knock it back only to find that it has knocked them out for the count – there is a reason it is called the Devil after all.

The aroma of Duvel is rather interesting you get strong citrus notes, some cider like apple, a bit of hay/grass and a strong clean alcohol element that comes through.

Normally I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about the branded glasses that breweries knock out seeing them as a nice little collectible but nothing more, not so this time. 

To really enjoy Duvel at it’s best you need to get your hands on the correct glass, it is the perfect size for starters allowing you to pour the whole bottle in with ample room for the impressive frothy white head; not only that the embossed D on the base of the glass helps create effervescence which aids that head in sticking around. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason the rounded glass helps fully release the flavour and aroma of the beer.

In terms of looks the beer is a lovely clear golden colour that could almost be mistaken for a lager, the carbonation is clearly visible (aided by that aforementioned D) and the pure white head stands tall and lasts throughout with impressive lacing.

The taste of Duvel is to die for; the malt is clean and crisp and lasts from beginning to end, the alcohol is warming and combines with the bitterness of the hops to give a refreshing dry finish that leaves you begging for another sip. There  are hints of pepper and a really pleasant earthiness that are present throughout along with the same citrus notes that you can pick up in the aroma.

There really isn’t a single thing that I can fault about Duvel and trust me I can normally pick holes in anything and everything, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is the absolute best beer in the world but it damn close

5/5








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