reviews, recommendations, recipes, and The Bar Project

Duvel Belgian Ale – Just Great Beer!

Posted by sean

Duvel Belgian Ale

With a brewing history dating from the Middle Ages and born from monastic traditions, it’s hard to ignore Belgium’s influence on the brewing community – after all, how can you argue with experience and the church?

When looking to imports, Belgian beers – and particularly Belgian Ales – are some of the best and most widely available to be had. And selection – wow! – Belgian breweries produce over 500 standard varieties (not including again as many specialty brews and one-offs) – all from a country smaller than the state of Maryland with about twice as many residents (reportedly all avid beer drinkers!).

So if you just can’t stomach the idea of trying to force down another of what passes for beer from the largest American breweries and you’re in a mood for a beer with great flavor – read on…

Of the Belgian Ales, Duvel (pronounced as it’s spelled with stress on the first syllable) is a great example. Dating back to 1871, Duvel is still brewed by family-owned Moortgat and based on the solid Belgian brewing tradition and – if you ask me – is just good beer! Flemish for ‘devil’, the story goes that someone once remarked ‘That’s one devil of a beer’ and the moniker was set.

With a light blond color, a refreshing flavor and no aftertaste or undertones to distract you, Duvel is great by itself or in company of just about anything – today I’m having one with a bratwurst and it really hits the spot.

Triple fermented, the last time in the bottle (referred to as ‘bottle conditioned’), Duvel is an exceptionally effervescent beer with a serious head that stands on it’s own and lasts – be careful when you pour or you’ll end up with a glass of foam… Don’t be surprised when you finish a careful pour and end up with a glass that’s half head – it’s normal and doesn’t at all get in the way of enjoying the flavor.

It’s probably just fine that Duvel produces such a substantial head – it’s a ‘strong’ ale and although it’s flavor is light and refreshing, it’s alcohol content is decidedly not at 8.5%. If two beers is your norm, you may appreciate the head’s self-pacing effect and still find yourself bit heady after two of these – but then what’s wrong with that?

If you like Duvel and are ready for more, Belgium surely has plenty to offer (click here for more).

You might want to give one of Belgium’s most famous varieties a try – the Trappist Ale. To carry the Trappist moniker legitimately these beers must be brewed on the site of a Trappist monastery and brewing overseen by Trappist monks. As a result, there are fewer choices, but decidedly worth your while.

Oh, and about the American beer ‘crack’ – it would be decidedly unfair to suggest that there aren’t some great beers being brewed in the United States – that simply isn’t true and many of the micro-brews are well worth your attention and more than stand up to their imported brethren.

I certainly ‘drink from the tap’, but always enjoy selecting one or two more interesting beers to mix it up a little and let beer be part of the social experience. The next time you’re having a backyard barbeque or inviting friends over, why not share something new? (even if you do buy a staple that comes by the case to keep the budget in line and feed the masses after the ‘good’ stuff runs out…)

Till next time -



Posted in Ale, Beer, Belgium, General


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    Hello I just heard about Duvel from a fellow patron at the bar. I am yet to try it but am excited to try. I enjoy other Belgium beers. I live in the Philadelphia area and we have some good beers here. But I will let you know how I enjoy your beer ASAP…thank you bottoms up.

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