Tag Archives: Belgium

Extra Blond Vedett

Another eight months goes by without a single beer tasting post. How does this happen? And in these eight months Myanmar has received its first craft brewery, to boot. I need to lift my game it would seem. Unfortunately I missed out on sitting down and thinking hard about the many beers I had last week in Denmark (mostly from Mikkeller and Carlsberg) but I am on point this week here in the Netherlands. So, without further ado.

The Vedett range of beers is brewed by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat, i.e. Duvel, and seems to be their attempt at trendiness, although as I understand it the Vedett name is quite old and they took it over through acquisition.

The beer is a “premium lager” and weighs in at 5.2%. It certainly is pale, one of the palest lagers I’ve had in a while, especially after all the dark lagers I had in Denmark through Carlsberg. It looks great in the glass, a flowing, democratic head, super effervescent, big, brash bubbles and that scintillating paleness. Perfectly clear. The aroma is spicy hops, saaz for sure, with subtle lemon and what seem to be zesty phenolics, kinda strange for a lager.

It has a thin mouthfeel and a tight aftertaste, a little harsher than I was expecting. It fades the more you drink, but certainly this is not a typically balanced beer. It would go very nicely if today were less overcast and I were seated on the grass by the canal lapping at the backyard. As it is I sit inside typing. After warming the aroma becomes soapier, an unusual addition to an already weird smell.

The lager profile keeps things fairly underwhelming but on the whole this is an odd beer – its dryness, bitterness and peculiar aroma throwing me off with every sip. Vedett claims the beer has “smooth, malty character with subtly balanced hops … lingering fruitiness with subtle notes of vanilla”. Not getting it.

I bought a bottle of this beer at an unnamed supermarket in Utrecht, the Netherlands and drank it in a home nearby. What a beautiful city.

Maredsous Abbaye-Abdij Blonde 6

The Maredsous abbey beers are brewed by Duvel under license.

The blonde 6 (they also brew an 8 and a 10, referring to ABV) comes in a delightful bulbous bottle, sitting squat on the table. The beer rings in a capacious head on the pour, staying fluffy for the drink’s duration. The colour is deep gold, completely clear, not a freckle of yeast to be seen swimming which is unusual for the style. Spritzy carbonation is evident on viewing. The beer smells interesting – sweet marshmallow wafts between banana and the faintest, dimmest hint of spicy phenolics.

On tasting delightful balance prevails. The Belgian yeast notes deliver a smooth ride of clean, mellow malt and a balmy bitterness. There is nothing puckering, astringent or harsh; it’s a perfect example of a rounded, delicate bitterness that still keeps the malt in check. This is a fairly dry beer with a nice finish that is worrying at 6% ABV. Oddly there is a subtle vegetative note going on, a phantom hop flavour that I find difficult to distinguish and elaborate on. Perhaps some late hopping occurs – my bottle was as fresh as you can get in Australia.

This is worth the time and money to procure. A good example of a Belgian blonde and I will look out for their double and triple.

I bought this bottled beer at The Wine Republic, Northcote and drank it at home.

Brasserie d’Achouffe La Chouffe

The Achouffe Brewery – now owned by Duvel – is headquartered in the southeast of Belgium and has been pumping out yeasty ales for over thirty years. Their La Chouffe Blond Bier is 8% ABV and features a beguiling, gnomic label in sunny hues. I’d never tried one of their beers before this, but researching online it looks like they have put out some interesting brews: the N’Ice Chouffe looks particularly good.

This ale poured a murky mandarin colour with huge, swirling clumps of red yeast dominating the eye. My glass literally looked like a live, flocculating fermentation! It had a fairly typical Belgian yeast aroma with a breadlike aftertaste that I found pleasing, cutting off some of the less pleasant phenols present. This rounded smoothness at sip’s end is enviable and quite unlike my own attempts to imitate Belgian beers.

La Chouffe displayed truly gargantuan head retention – possibly pointing to a high wheat grist. Slight alcohol flavour, but not too remarkable considering the 8% ABV. This isn’t a cheap beer in Australia – but it was worth the money, I guess, though nothing to seriously write home about. A solid blonde double: sweet, hopless, chunky, cloudy and chewy. Supposedly this beer has coriander in it – I got nothing.

I bought this beer at McCoppins, Abbotsford and drank it at home.