Friday, January 13, 2006


A Dark Duvel?

It is Friday the 13th, the day of bad luck. So has even the devil of a beer - the Duvel, as praised by beer writer Michael Jackson- gone dark for the day?

In Belgium the devil - or rather the Duvel, I suspect- has inspired a range of other strong blond beers, also called hoogblond, like De Block's Satan, Liefmans' Lucifer, maybe even Lefèbvre's Barbãr and Van Steenberge's Piraat.

The idea has even hit on in traditionalist Pajottenland, the area just south-west of Brussels, famous for its lambic and gueuze. The picture above is from The Dovetail, one of London's premier Belgian beer bars. Served in the Duvel glass above is revivalist lambic-brewer Frank Boon's dark interpretation, Donkere Duivel.

The Donkere Duivel is chestnut brown with a small head. It has a tart, fruity aroma and caramel and fruity flavours. Balancing the sweetness is good sourness. It comes from Lambicland, after all.

Quite a special and complex beer, in other words, yet almost as different from the world-famous Duvel as can be.
But then again, even an old devil can surprise.

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