Thursday, 2 February 2012

REVIEW #24: Bruegel Amber Ale (Brouwerij van Steenberge)

Pours amber colour, true to its name and putting it smack in between a pale and a dark ale. A grand head soon fades to half a finger thick leaving plenty of lacing. The smell is of caramel and toffee, suggesting chewy malts lie in wait. In the taste, the malts are not as prominent as in the nose. I feel they are offset, or masked, a little too well by some heavy carbonation. Hops play a minor role, their presence is felt but only in the finish. Quite nicely balanced and considering the low ABV, very drinkable. A sessionable Belgian ale would you believe?!

The Van Steenberge Brewery is a major player on the Belgian ale scene and, happily, they are still independent and family-run. They produce a range of major brands such as the Augustijn line, Piraat, Gouden Draak (of which I have a 25th anniversary 'quad' version coming up for review soon [reviewed here]), as well as Celis White. The brewery were keen to have an abbey beer so approached the Augustinian monks of Sint Stefanus Monastery; the fruit of this collaboration being Augustijn. This beer is has very recently been re-branded outside of Belgium as St. Stefanus so look out for it. Bruegel Amber Ale meanwhile, is named after Pieter Bruegel, part of the famed Bruegel lineage of  painters of peasant life (plus religious works) in the 1500s, a time of deep religious strife between Catholics and Calvinists. The peasants of the time drank secular ales similar to this one whereas the bourgeois and nobility drank Abbey ales. The painting on the bottle is entitled 'The Peasant's Dance'.
  • MALTS: ?
  • HOPS: ?
  • IBU: ?
  • ABV: 5.2%
  • Bottle-conditioned.

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