Belgian Beer, to me, was Craft Beer before Craft Beer was a thing. Craft Beer is known for being extremely well-crafted, flavoursome, and in a variety of unique styles and flavours. Belgian Beer has been known for producing quality beer for hundreds of years, and the Belgian Trappist beers – brewed in Monasteries by Trappist Monks – one might argue is the origin of craft beer.
Westmalle Brewery is one of the prominent Trappist breweries which finds it’s home at Westmalle Abbey, in the province of the same name located in Antwerp. It has two beers, the Tripel, which is a golden ale bottled at around 9%, which is credited as being the first Golden Ale to use the term “Tripel”, and the Dubbel, a dark beer bottled at 7%.
I have tried the Tripel beer before, but somehow I have managed to miss trying the Dubbel, so I wanted to rectify that. The Dubbel is fermented not once, but twice and receives it’s second fermentation in the bottle which makes it stand out from other beers and I must say I had some high expectations for this beer.
The first thing that struck me about the beer was the colour which was dark brown but with a lovely reddish tinge to it, so I was expecting to get some great flavours from it, but the aroma of the beer wasn’t overwhelming. I caught some slight sweetness akin to dried fruit and a fair hit of malt, the combination of which reminded me of a good fruit cake, but beyond that I can’t say it was anything that stood out. Upon tasting the beer, those malt and dried fruit flavours really followed through and the dried fruits and malt really kicked in to give it a very strong, rich, sweet fruity taste initially which is followed by a long, bitter aftertaste which is which makes it a real sipping beer.
Overall, Westmalle Trappist Dubbel is a really lovely, well made beer but I’m not sure if it lived up to my own high expectations, however I’m not sure you can blame that on the beer, which really is lovely. However, I have tried a lot of lovely beers in the last several weeks and while this is an undeniably a very good beer, it’s certainly not the best I’ve tried. But if you do want to try an example of a great Belgian Beer, then I’d definitely recommended it. But… it does lead me to ask the question now… have Belgium, the fatherland of great beer, finally been surpassed by the rest of the world?
A great example of a Belgian Beer, with a lovely combination of rich, sweet and bitter flavours.