Have you ever seen that Colin Farrell movie, ‘In Bruges’? Basically, they spend the whole movie complaining about how boring Belgium is. And maybe for non-beer lovers, it is boring, but for beer lovers like us it is pretty much beer mecca.
We visited Belgium on a beer tour a while back and was astounded not only by the amazing range of beers available, but by their overall drinkability. Considering the lightest beer is around 6%, it’s a real feat to start your tastings at 11am and still be standing at 6pm – and moving up the ladder to the 9% tripels and 11% quads.
One of the highlights was visiting Westvleteren, which is ranked as one of the greatest beers (ever) by many a beer writer and drinker. The attention is always on Westvleteren 12, a ruby-brown quad, but we were blown away from its little brother, Westvleteren 8, an 8% blonde beer. This beer was heaven (apt, considering it was made by monks) – incredibly clean yet complex, with loads of aroma and flavour but incredibly drinkable. We happily let others sip down the 12, passing the day in the Belgium countryside sipping this golden brew for hours.
When we returned, we planned to make that brew and, while it took us time to re-create, we were very pleased with our Holiday Fund Belgian Blonde which was released with League of Beers (INSERT LINK?) in early 2019. Our goal was a beer that, like Westvleteren 8, packed a punch of malt and yeast flavour alongside 6% ABV, but was still light and easy drinking so you would want to have a fourth.