Today's post covers one of the most readily available Belgian beers in the US, Duvel. I consider Duvel to be a solid go-to Belgian if I want something light and refreshing, but still really tasty. In case you were wondering, yes, Duvel does mean devil. It is named so because the local shoemaker (cobbler) was a little overwhelmed by the strong aromas put forth by the beer.
As you can see, it is a Belgian Golden. To me, I consider this analogy to be true:
English is to Bitter as Belgian is to Golden.
Whether or not this is actually true is up in the air, but that's kind of how I feel. Pretty much what I mean is that most breweries will make the Golden Ale, perhaps because it is one of the most common styles consumed by the population. Personally, I can always go for a Belgian Golden because they are so versatile. Depending on which brand you go with, the beer is going to be very different. I also like the Golden on a more personal level because I think it is a good "gateway beer" into the stronger, "hard" Belgian beers. Pardon the drug analogy.
First off, just ignore the lime. It has nothing really to do with the taste of the beer, I just liked the color addition. Duvel, as I previously mentioned, is a Golden ale, but in Belgium, this is pretty much the same as a strong pale ale. Don't think you will be getting a very hoppy aroma, however, as the Belgians usually let their yeast and malt do the talking. The ABV sits at 8.5%, which if you ask me seems higher than I would have expected, since the beer goes down so easy. It is crisp and a perfect balance of sweet and bitter. Also, don't get me started on the color. I love the pale straw color of Duvel. It reminds me of a perfect Springtime light beer, except if you drink a few of these, it will knock you out.
If you haven't already, I would strongly urge you to go out and find yourself some Duvel. It shouldn't be all that hard, as Duvel has a really strong distribution in the US. If you haven't really given Belgians a shot yet, try starting with Duvel if you like lighter bodied, but very flavorful beers. In my opinion, Duvel is the quintessential Belgian Golden. I always love having one myself.
Glassware: Duvel Tulip (comes in three sizes, corresponding to desired portions)
Synonym Beer: La Chouffe (Both are brewed in the same family of brewers)
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