Belgium is famous for its stunningly complex, fruity and utterly luxurious high-alcohol speciality beers. The best of them are wheat-based “blondes”, where the texture balance of fizz and smoothness nears absolute perfection.
But how do you choose? There’s so many of them around now and each one has its own unique character. Most of them only have the smallest amount of English on the label too.
Luckily, I’ve had the pleasure to taste a whole variety of these beers and I’ve put together a shortlist with some tasting notes below.
Blanche de Namur
World Beer Award gold-medal winner. Unique, sherbet-like texture with pronounced wheat flavours that are incredibly smooth and drinkable. Notes of sweet citrus make it a very interesting buy. Lemon yellow in colour, great head, and a full, yeasty length that’s almost fruity. One of the few Belgian beers at popular alcohol levels here in the UK (4.5%). Serve lightly chilled.
Numerous award-winning triple style blonde beer. Fizzy, pale copper-yellow that’s high in alcohol (8.5%) and rich in flavour. Sweet mango and banana notes mix with a prolific brioche character in the mouth. This is a complex and unbelievably seductive beer to enjoy slowly. Serve chilled.
Best served lightly chilled and pretty dark for a blond beer, this mature “1295”-inspired beer from St. Stefanus is a treat of creamy smooth fruit. Currently 5 months old since its cellar release, making it 8 months old in total, it’s halfway between fresh and fruity and pungent complexity. Again fairly high in alcohol (7%), there is a certain luxury attached with the beer; while the finish is not quite as long as Tripel Karmeliet, the flavours and texture are perhaps even more characterful.
Written By – Ben Franks Blog- www.benfrankswine.com Twitter- @Writer_Franks
Photo credit to: Niamh Harkett
Edited By- Laura Thompson