Friday, July 21, 2006

Beer O’Clock goes diabolical with Duvel

Continuing our regular Beer O'Clock posts highlighting one of mankind's finest creations: beer that teenagers will hate. This week, Neil Miller from Real Beer gets all elitist, just as he's required to, and celebrates Belgium's National Day in the appropriate fashion.

It seems extraordinary to me that the Main Stream Media and the Blogosphere both appear to have overlooked the fact that today is Belgium’s National Day! How could they have possibly overlooked the Nationale Feestdag where we can all celebrate the inauguration of Belgium’s first king (Leopold I) in 1831 by drking scads of quality Belgian beer?

Honestly, sometimes it seems like I am the only one paying any attention round here!

Belgium – a land world famous for Beer, Tintin, Mussels, Hercule Poirot and some tennis players whose names all escape me about now.

Actually, Belgium is really world famous just for beer. Beer permeates their culture, society and cuisine to a degree not seen anywhere else in the world. This is at least partly to do with the fact that they make such fine beer!

Today, I thought I would highlight an absolute world classic Belgian beer.

[Cue Michael Buffer Ring Announcing Voice] Hailing from the Moortgart brewery in Breenbonk, Belgium, weighing in at a hefty 8.5% alcohol by volume, I give yoooouuuuu ... Duvel! [Cue applause.]

Duvel got its name at a tasting of one of the first batches. History does not record the name of the person who declared it was “a devil of a beer” but the tag certainly stuck. The correct pronunciation of “DOO-vil” will often get blank looks from bartenders as the more French pronunciation “Du-VARL” is common (but wrong).

This beer was developed in the 1930s and was initially based on a strong Scottish ale style, and made with MacEwans yeast bought to Belgium in a stone jug during the inter-war period.

In the 1970s, the recipe was changed to use paler malts which resulted in the lighter colour and flavours which are famous now.

Even by crazy Belgian brewing standards this is an enormously complex beer to make. It uses hot and cold fermentation, several fermentation periods, additions of candy sugar, blending of beers and a long maturation time.

It is worth it though.

This is burnished golden beer which throws a massive rocky head. The distinctive glass is designed to encourage a full layer of foam just the way the Belgians like it.

It is a fragrant beer with a hoppy, spicy and fruity (orange, lemon) nose. The beer is quite smooth and creamy with notes of orange zest, pear brandy, green apples and lemon. It ends with a long bitter and dry finish. A huge beer but tremendously well balanced.

I give you: Duvel!

Cheers, Neil

LINKS: Duvel
NZ's Real Beer blog

TAGS: Beer & Elsewhere

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