This month The Session is being hosted by Bathtub Brewery and Melissa and Ray have come up with a rather interesting topic: Beers and Memories. I knew a day would come when I felt it was the perfect opportunity to talk about a beer that I admire dearly yet have avoided blogging about. Duvel is a Belgian Strong Ale and is likely the staple for this style. Brewed by Duvel Moortgot in Puurs, Belgium since over a century ago this beer has far too much history to summarize. I chose this beer for The Session this month because though I’ve never been to Belgium (unfortunately) this beer always reminds me of my second trip to Europe. Though perhaps it would seem more appropriate to make this post about Heineken or any number of other mass produced and popular beers of Europe it is not so. While riding trains from The Netherlands to France and particularly the Chunnel from France to the United Kingdom I experienced the convenience of having alcoholic beverages available on a long trip. Though the food was decent the beer was spectacular. When riding through the Chunnel there are a number of hours where you can’t even look out the windows because all you see is the black of the tunnel walls, not to mention the fact that you are under water. This didn’t particularly frighten me, but it was very strange so I decided the most logical thing to do was to have a few beers and have a rest. Reconizing the name and bottle from the very few occasions I had tried it prior Duvel seemed like the logical choice for a drink, the 8.5% ABV also helped me make up my mind as it was only a Dollar or I suppose more accurately a Euro and change more expensive than a boring and light Heineken. Not only was it lovely to have a deliciously flavorful Belgian Ale to enjoy during the ride but after two beers it made it very easy to rest my eyes. Ever since that day I have become a sucker for Duvel and for a long while drank it quite regularly. Sadly it has been quite some time since I have purchased this ale, so tonight will be well deserved particularly as the price of this beer seems to continue to rise, oh well it will always be worth it to me. Though Surly Furious was the beer that got me into American Ales my second trip to Europe and Duvel were what got me to really appreciate beer and its flavors, particularly Belgians so it will always have a special place in my heart.
This wonderful beer pours a nice golden color that doesn’t have any sediment but seems slightly hazy depending on the light. Head is pure white and will overwhelm you if you do not pour carefully. Head is tight, thick and sticky and will not dissipate quickly likely leaving residue on the side of your glass that will eventually harden quite intensely. This beer simply smells like what I think of when I hear the term Belgian Golden Ale, sweet, malty and alcoholic with hints of nice spices rounding it off wonderfully. People claim to find many flavors in this beer, and I don’t doubt them. Though I mostly notice smooth caramelized malt sweetness, hints of bananna and other spices come out regularly. Though this beer is smooth there is no doubt you will notice it’s slightly bitter alcohol content, but at 8.5% ABV what do you expect. With a medium body and surprisingly light mouthfeel I find this beer very drinkable even though it is carbonated a bit heavily. If you like Belgian Ales particularly blondes but don’t mind the increased alcohol content you will certainly enjoy this beer. Perfect with fish or chicken this beer will compliment a meal very nicely, not to meantion help balance the alcohol out. Give it a shot and ride your bike.