De Blaugies: Biere Darbyste (Belgium: Traditional Ale: 5.8% ABV)

Visual: Very cloudy amber to cherry red with a darkened inch of bubbles.

Nose: Plum, wheat and ground spices. Quite earthy. Slight musty cellars. Slight cherries and raspberry seeds.

Body: Very tart, crab apples and gooseberries. Slight syrup sweet smoothness runs through the centre of this otherwise fluffy textured beer. Raspberry

Finish: Sour gooseberries and wheat. Still very tart and astringent. Plums. Very dry wholemeal crackers. Raspberry.

Conclusion: Some times I despair at trying to assign beer styles. Of course I can always look it up, but I like to give it a shot myself first and anyway that often gives contradictory information depending on the source.

Now this beer is definitely not a lambic, but you could be forgiven for thinking it had an influence considering that it brings a lot of the sourness and dry fruit into play, and especially at its dry finish.

It’s this sort of thing that means that it’s not an easy beer to get a handle on, it’s that which also makes it so interesting. The tartness has a definite mouth puckering effect, and the flavours last significantly longer than the end of your sip.

The fig juice used in it has definite influence, even if I would have guessed it as a different fruit, as you can tell from the tasting. That also makes it quite unlike most beers I have tried.  The sour and varied elements will make it an acquired taste, but its well worth taking a moment to find out if it suits you.

Background: “A light blond ale in an unusual style” according to “100 Belgium Beers to Try Before You Die”. According to the same book this beer is made with fig juice in reference to a preacher who insisted that the dark drink his congregation was drinking was fig juice and not the evil ale. Nice wee background and a bit different touch to the beer makes me well disposed before trying it.  Finally found after much looking in the Drankencentrale de Hopduvel in Gent (that place is a beer heaven).