Belgian National Day at The Dovetail

Well well well, it’s been a while! Life has been a little bit hectic over the past few weeks, which has meant I’ve needed to prioritise other things. This post is obviously a little out of date, but I hope it will still be interesting. Besides, it’s about Belgian beer, what could be better?

Belgian National Day was on Monday 21st July. To celebrate, we went along to one of my favourite pubs; the Dovetail in Clerkenwell. The Dovetail has a wonderful atmosphere, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, the beer selection amazing and the food is equally good. Ultimately, I was expecting a lot and luckily they didn’t let me down.

Ten beers had been chosen and we were to taste them all (clearly we wouldn’t be drinking pints). They had been divided into 3 categories, starting with the lightest and working our way through to the heavier, wheaty numbers. Not only was it an opportunity for the punters to try a range of Belgian beers, but we were also guinea pigs for The Dovetail who were considering adding a few newbies to their selection.

Now, I don’t want this to turn into War and Peace so I’m going to give you my tasting notes from the evening (although I’ll attempt to make them slightly more understandable…)

A Trip around Belgium

1. Lindemans Cuvee de Renee: Tart and sour with hints of lime. A little like a tequila shot? Apple cider at the end.

2. Boon Framboise: RASP MADNESS. Sweet and tart. A little too sweet for me.

3. St Feuillien Saison: Yum yum in my tum. Nice head. Lemons, herbs and a peppery bitterness.

4. Rodenbach Grand Cru: Sharp fruits, slightly medicinal on the nose. Tart, tannins and blood orange at the finish. I literally have nothing but good things to say about this beer; it stands head and shoulders above the rest. 

Spicy meatballs: delicious.

Something New

5. Duvel Triple Hop: Very hoppy on the nose, pine and grass. A bit of heat but no strong alcoholic taste. Bitter, smooth, but with a chewy finish. Using the Mosaic hop for 2014, which is a friendly little fellow.

6. Deliria: Brewed by 100 women from local villages to celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s essentially a lighter version of Delirium. Very pleasant and easy to drink.

7. Averbode Blonde: An Abbey beer. Smooth with sweet caramel, bananas. Beautifully balanced, but not ‘wow’ (I think this would be a wow if it wasn’t up against so many worthy contenders).

Cheese with Kwak chutney- OM NOM NOM.

The Trappist Heritage

8. La Trappe Wit: Nice, easy drinking. Light, cleanses palate, very refreshing.

9. St Bernadus ABT 12: Originally made at the Westvleteren Brewery, which only brews enough to be self sustaining. This recipe was then sold to St Bernadus with the only difference being the water used. A dark sweetness like cherries dipped in chocolate or raisins soaked in sherry, but then a bitter finish. Interesting. 

Chocolate and beer heaven.

10. Rocheford 6: Quite a lot of sediment, enough for a shot glass to accompany the beer! Fresh, tangy with a bitter/smooth finish. This really was very, very good.

Thank you to Kate and her team for making it such a wonderful evening! Now I just need to recover in time for next year’s…

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