Category Archives: Blonde

Jindabyne Brewing ‘Tipsy Monk’ Belgian Blond


“Part of our Belgian series. The Tipsy Monk is brewed in the style of a Single Trappist ale. Saaz hops give it some herbaceous hop flavour with fruity and spicy flavours coming from the yeast. Big enough to get some character but not too strong that you can’t enjoy a few in a session. Don’t forget to let it warm a little.”

Glassware: Jindy Brewing-branded tulip.

Appearance: Bold amber with 100% clarity. It forms a light and fluffy two finger head which retains well. Healthy lacing as we go.

Aroma: They’ve absolutely nailed the yeast profile. It has that super conventional fruit and spice character i.e banana, pear drop, clove, pepper, aniseed etc. The floral aromas are further reinforced by the Saaz hops which provide a beautiful array of white flowers, coriander powder and honeysuckle. A flutter of orange blossom is also coming through. A nice semi-sweet honey malt at the base. Very nice.

Flavour: Follows on from the nose with its classic set up of fruity and spicy yeast esters and herbal/floral hops. Getting a slight hint of lemon/candy plus a much more robust earthiness…especially around the mid palate for the latter. It pairs up with a delicate bitterness and gently rolls into the dry, spicy and floral finish. Good duration on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Gassy, creamy texture. Medium body with a good consistency. Slightly lifted Co2 and the 5.5% ABV, although low for a traditional Blond, is nicely positioned.

Overall: This style is right in Jindy’s wheelhouse. Clean, easy drinking, traditional European beer. Absolutely bang on target for the style.

Madocke Belgian Blonde


“Both refreshing and smooth, boasting a rounded flavour with medium bitterness and subtle fruity notes.”

Glassware: Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Bold amber with an orange tint. It has a slight haziness and a thumb of creamy white foam atop. Good retention and healthy lace trailing it down.

Aroma: Dead set this smells as good as any Belgian Blonde you’d get from the likes of Duvel, Chimay etc. It’s packed with conventional Belgian yeast esters i.e banana runts, orchard fruits and bubblegum then further bolstered by tangy orange citrus, clove/peppery spice, fresh herbs like coriander and ground aniseed. Maybe just the mildest touch of ginger as well. Very impressive.

Flavour: Follows the nose with its magnificent and classic marriage of Belgian yeast esters, citrus fruits and herbal spice. Tasting a very delicate honey malt sweetness woven through the candied banana, clove, coriander and dried floral notes which develop a bit later in the piece. It all shifts into a fairly dry, clean and herbaceous finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, refreshing and dry. Co2 is a little under its more traditional Belgian counterparts though. The 5.2% ABV is on point and the body is mild-moderate.

Overall: We’re hooked on these guys at the moment. Their Belgian-only ethos, the high quality of their range, the simple yet effective branding. They seem to be the complete package!

De Brabandere ‘Petrus’ Belgian Blond


“Petrus Blond is a refreshing blond beer that leaves your taste buds craving more. This blond beer is brewed from the finest aromatic hops, which gives it a refreshing and enjoyable taste. Perfect when taking a moment to relax!”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Bold amber hue with full clarity. It struggled to produce much head as it quickly retreats to the rim. Still manages a magnificent lace despite the lack of head.

Aroma: We know this will sound super corny but the first thing we smell is “beer”. If a novice was to ask us what beer smelt like this is the one we’d be putting forward. Kind of a classic Noble hop profile; fresh herbs and spice with a heady Caramalt sweetness i.e caramel, honey and butterscotch. Certainly picking up the crystallised sweetness of the candi sugars along with hints of coconut oil, floral perfumes, tinned pear and apple juice.

Flavour: It opens with a nicely tempered, spice-driven caramel malt sweetness but it’s immediately countered by a gentle hop bitterness alongside notes of fresh herbs, light florals and a touch of tangy orange citrus. Somewhat doughy and tasting the candi sugars here and there. Plenty of orchard fruits coming through too…mostly apple and pear as it leads to a yeasty and sweet fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth. A little gelatinous yet still quite crisp. Finely carbed, medium body. The 6.5% ABV is very well hidden.

Overall: So much to love about these traditional Belgian ales. From the history to the unmatched quality, the complexity and polish they come with. We have nothing but the utmost respect for them. This one included!

Brasserie DuPont ‘Moinette’ Blonde


“In the little village of Tourpes existed also a mill and a “Cense de la Moinette”, both belonged to the Dupont dynasty. (cense = farmstead). Originally, the name “Abbaye de la Moinette” was used for this beer, but since 1980 the name “Moinette” has become the commercial name. Coppery blond with many fine hop aromas, the “Moinette blonde” is a very refreshing beer, thanks to its subtle balance between sweet, bitter and fruity.”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Cloudy apricot coloured pour with a light and fluffy two finger head which holds its shape. Healthy lace sticks to the glass as it ebbs.

Aroma: The classic Belgian yeast fills the olfactories with banana, subtle clove and cracked pepper, a hint of bubblegum and fruity esters i.e apple, pear etc. There’s a really dense malt sweetness which displays super sweet and sticky caramel, honey and toffee/toffee apple. Quite herbaceous too. Some delicate funk but it’s more farmyard grains, hay and wheat. Traditional AF and we love it!

Flavour: Literally a mirror image of the aroma; tonnes of yeasty esters (apple, pear, banana) clove, peppery spice and dried fruits. Again, a big sweet malt presence throws out rich caramel, honey and a hint of golden raisins. Herbal, floral and at times citrusy hops with the farmyard-ish hay, straw and wheat grains peeking through. Such a smooth, creamy and yeasty finish which lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, a little sticky and ultra smooth. Coats the whole palate beautifully. Medium body, Co2 is perfect. The 8.5% ABV! So well hidden.

Overall: An amazing drop from an equally amazing brewery. So rich and complex but still so unbelievably crushable. Yummo!

CellarMaker Brewing Co ‘Le Blond’ Hoppy Belgian Blond

36240551_882037945313685_8280408900411326464_n“We brew this Belgian-style blonde ale to satisfy our Cellarmaker wants and needs for a European hopped ale that is also light on malt like a pilsner. The restrained phenolics from the yeast add some depth without overwhelming the classic hop profile and a touch of spelt adds a subtle layer to the pilsner base. This beer is bottle conditioned but is not meant to age; that means drink it now!”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Pours a super murky pale golden colour – looks like a NEIPA! It generates a big and frothy three finger head that holds its shape. Laced well.

Aroma: It balances between the floral/fruity hops and the sweet Belgian phenolics. Getting strong wafts of rosewater, honey, clove and buttery crackers with hints of caramel, grassy/herbal hop, bubblegum and boiled candy in support. A rather sweet malt structure at the base…maybe slightly dry and grainy as well. Really lovely aroma, showing lots of depth and complexity.

Flavour: Playing a bit of Jekyll and Hyde here. The flavour profile is completely different, it’s much drier, it’s quite spicy and revealing a lot more hop bitterness. Certainly tasting the grainy wheat notes as they fuse together with the earthy hops and spicy yeast esters. It stays dry and finishes with subtle booze warmth, phenols and a mild hop bitterness in the tail.

Mouthfeel: Dry and somewhat chalky. Relatively smooth though with a hint of the 6% ABV coming through.

Overall: It’s a well structured beer but we’re still a little undecided. We like the distinction between the aroma and flavour but it was the actual flavour profile that lost us. It just seemed to lack that little bit of sweetness which could have balanced it out. Not bad.

De Struise Tsjeeses ‘Kerstbier’ 2013 Belgian Blond

24177131_777764292407718_7733095642270848930_n “Strong blond winterbier with fluffy white head. Aroma is elegant, it has hints of fruits, spices, refreshing herbs and noble hops. The taste is very strong, very complex and fairly dry for the style. This beer has an expressive taste and ends with a nice afterglow”.

Served in a stemmed tulip. This interesting beer offers a light chestnut hue with a short and finely beaded cap. Lovely lace work clings to the sides as it ebbs.
Holy moly! Where did this aroma come from?! It’s like a lovechild between a barleywine and a Belgian quad. It offers massive spicy overtones, canned fruits, golden syrup, toffee, residual sugars, booze and dates. Sensational aroma, so sweet, sticky and conplex.
Woooowwwww. The flavour carries on with the trend here. Loads of spice – mainly earthy and rich ones like clove, nutmeg and star anise. Super sweet toffee, syrup and raw sugar but not cloying in the slightest. A delicate nudge of booze makes way for a sweet and spicy finish that endures on the rear palate.
So smooth in the mouth. Velvety texture, a bit of warmth from the booze (10%), mild-moderate co2 and full in body.
Stunning drop. It’s almost 2018 now so this beer already brings 5 years with it…and boy hasn’t it improved! So slick, smooth and silky. Well tempered and incredibly well balanced. The 10% ABV has certainly mellowed too. The fact that we have another four stored away means there’s some absolutely top notch drinking in store for us! Flawless.

Two Birds Brewing ‘Knock On Wood’ BA Belgian Blonde


22780291_762304763953671_1660180611813551713_n“This Limited Release beer was brewed in honour of the Two Birds 6th Anniversary, traditionally marked with the gift of wood. For the occasion, a Belgian Blonde Ale was aged in French Oak barrels, previously used to age wine. Knock on Wood is peachy, spicy and complex with vanilla oak notes and a touch of funk. Perfect for celebrating special moments and days worth a cheers.”

 Served in a Trappist tulip. Crystal clear and amber in appearance. The pour arouses a puffy two finger head that steadily recedes and settles to a dense film. Seeing some soapy lace work as it ebbs.
The aroma opens with a strong floral note, candi sugar, heady spices, musty oak, vanilla and a light citric funk. It offers quite the vinous character too – like a blend of young chardonnay and champagne…surely due to the time spent on French oak barrels. Plenty of fruity esters, yeasty phenol and saison-like funk here. Not bad.
Interesting flavour profile. It follows the nose in terms of citric sourness, esters and oak but there’s a certain earthy and or woody accent that wasn’t as easily detectable in aroma. Good impressions of stonefruit sweetness – white peach, nectarine. Subtle and semi sweet malt structure with a light, funky finish which provides hints of spice and woody oak tannins on the rear.
The texture is quite light on, approachable and balanced with a very vibrant co2. 7.1% ABV is well concealed and the sour qualities are nice and mild.
Not too shabby for a couple of birds (pun intended) from west Melbourne! Certainly isn’t short on character. Some extra complexity thrown in from the barrel aging process as well. Solid offering.

Brouwerij Westvleteren Blond

17155661_656127434571405_247795794364893761_n“Westvleteren Blond is the basic beer for the monks’ own consumption, since 1999.”

Served in a Trappist chalice. Hazy light golden in appearance with quite a fair bit of suspended sediment floating around in there. It only manages a short head that peels back to a ring but it’s still able to dispense a nice wavy lace as it ebbs.
Nice and easy going on the nose – light, citrusy and sweet but still packing a healthy amount of yeasty complexity. Clove, orange peel, bubblegum, honey, coriander and a kind of grainy barnyard hay accent seals up a pretty darn fine aroma. Certainly smells like much more of a bang-able summer beer this one.
The mouth feel is mild and effortless with a delicate Co2. Such a smooth and silky texture that compliments the medium body so well. Way too easy to drink for a beer sitting at 5.8% ABV.
The front palate certainly projects from the malty side – bready with a hint of honey sweetness flowing through. A nice fusion of spice and grassy hops provide that suggestion of bitterness through the middle. Flavours of sweet citrus and a somewhat herbaceous note punctuates the finish and offers good duration on the rear.
Geez these guys have it dead set dialed in! Well, after 180 years of mastering your recipe we guess you couldn’t expect anything less. It’s just a lovely beer to drink. Nothing aggressive, it’s well balanced and absolutely jam packed with flavour and aroma. Another top shelfer from Westvleteren.

Brouwerij Contreras ‘Valeir’ Blond


15181605_600521453465337_7338474983137454087_n“Valeir Blond is a top fermentation beer by brewery Contreras in Gavere. It has a golden color, a dry and bitter flavor and a long bitter aftertaste. This beer is brewed using the “dry-hopping” principle. It has an alcohol content of 6.5%.”

Served in a wide rimmed tulip glass. Valeir pours to an amber hue with a fair amount of suspended sediment floating around. It constructs a foamy two finger head that retracts and settles to a healthy overlay that weaves a wavy lace pattern as we imbibe. She provides an aroma of orange citrus fruits, aniseed, spice, leafy herbs, some yeasty phenols and barnyard-y notes of straw and hay. It’s quite a fair bit hoppier than your standard Belgian Blond, these fresh herbaceous characters appear to strengthen as the beer settles in the glass. A sweet candy sugar scent also develops with a bit of time also. Not bad. In the mouth it’s light, foamy and effervescent with a discernible bitterness forming in the swallow. The 6.5% ABV is well disguised. Quite a pleasant quaffer. Flavour wise it offers a distinct Belgian candy sugar sweetness upfront. Soft bubblegum and citrus notes carry it forward through the mid where the delicate bitterness is introduced. Hints of honey and sweet malt then lead in to the light, dry finish that reveals a slightly spicy note on the back palate. Look it’s nothing overly memorable. If we were to stack it up against other Belgian Blond’s from the likes of Leffe, Chimay or Westvleteren it doesn’t compare. But on its own merit it drinks nicely, it’s well carbonated and spritzy and all the sweet Belgian characters present well enough. It just didn’t bowl us over. Not bad.


Boatrocker Brewing Co ‘Epice’ Spiced Belgian Blonde

13872681_547958315388318_4509377437114255918_n“A refreshing spiced Belgian style blonde. You’ll find star anise, plus fresh orange peel and champagne yeast.”

Served in a beer tulip. It pours a somewhat milky straw golden hue with a fizzy one finger cap. The head slowly reduces and settles to a fine film of micro-bubble that dispenses a subtle yet sticky lace as it ebbs. Quite a fresh and vibrant aroma here. It’s certainly amplified by a variety of different types of subcontinental spice – mainly clove, white pepper, aniseed and nutmeg. Strong herbaceous wafts of coriander and sage, zesty orange rind and vanilla also work in as yeasty hints of bubblegum and fresh pear fills it out. The use of champagne yeast offers that subtle sweetness and it’s a really clever touch. The mouth feel is light on and super smooth. Good Co2 as well as it appears to add a slight fizziness to the texture. 5.8% ABV is well contained. Just a nice all round easy drinker. Upfront the yeasty phenols and fruit esters are slightly more pronounced than they were on the nose. We taste subtle banana, pear and a clove-like spiciness that holds up as it flows across the mid palate. A mild tangy orange flavour picks up support in a fresh herbal note that delivers a dry, yeasty finish with reasonable length. Pretty damn fine interpretation of the style by these Victorian brewers. Nice strong traditional base of funky, estery yeast but modernized beautifully with the careful addition of various spice. Full flavoured and yet pretty sessional. A decent offering here.

Duvel Moortgat ‘Maredsous’ Belgian Blonde

10472590_448134765370674_1733113317423940763_o“The light Maredsous Blonde was the abbey’s very first beer. Nowadays, the monks still drink it daily at lunch. Maredsous Blonde (ALC. 6%) is a delectable Blonde ale with sprightly fruitiness, soft malting and a slightly dry, gently hopped finish. A sparkling nose, complex flavours, and a touch of bitterness give this fine ale all of the refreshing qualities of a classic Belgian Blonde.”

Served in a beer tulip. We cast our gaze upon a slightly hazy but bright golden hue that’s capped off by healthy three finger crown that recedes but retains a thick overlay. Laced well. We’re getting some lovely perfumes wafting out of the glass. Soft Belgian notes of banana, bubblegum and white bread work nicely in to the sagey/herbal overtone. Subtle suggestions of fresh pear, clove, dried apricots and a faint hint of vanilla tie it all together. Essentially a very pleasant and well layered aroma. A swish around the mouth offers a light, gassy texture with a lively Co2 level. A delicate bitterness develops once it glides down the throat with ease. The 6% ABV is really well contained, no sign of it at all. Quite sweet, a little spicy and a little floral on the front palate. Hints of candied banana begin to come through as do bready/doughy characters through the mid. A gentle bitterness is felt before a crisp and mildly dry finish reveals hints of ripe pear on the back end. Length is pretty good, hanging about well between sips. Well this is certainly up there with some of the better Blonde’s we’ve tried. Full in flavour but light enough to session on. We must say it went down beautifully on this warm and sunny Sydney arvo. Good drop.

The Lost Abbey ‘Devotion’ Blond ale

image“It’s an unassuming road leading to the priory. Here, off the corner of two intersecting roads, dedicated monks have been making beer for over 150 years. It’s always been a simple life-the kind that requires they brew only enough to sustain the activities of their monastery. In the silence of passing seasons, they pray, they brew and retire in a solitary existence behind the sheltering walls. They live a most interesting life. Most likely one we couldn’t sustain. Near by, each summer, the trellised fields spring to life as rows of resinous green cones are trained towards the heavens. Rumor is some monks love these hops and being surrounded by budding yellow aromas and the leafy pungent fields inspires them. Since we weren’t sensible enough to locate our brewery near hop fields, we can only offer this blond ale in celebration of our Abbey brethren and their steadfast Devotion.”

Uncaged and uncorked then served in to a wide-rimmed tulip glass. This Belgian style Blond pours to a bright but slightly hazy golden glow, topped off by a pillowy three finger head that maintains itself, eventually settling to a dense layer with an egg shape over the top. Thick, soapy residue is strewn all the way down the glass. Looking good. Quite a delicate aroma, it has some soft, spicy saison-like notes upfront with a hint of herbs, grains, bubblegum, marshmallow and orange peel also streaming through. Maybe a light floral hop undertone with a delicate suggestion of aniseed in here as well. Nice, crisp and summery on the nose. A fine start to this beer so far. The feel in the mouth is light and crisp with velvety soft texture. Co2 is vibrant, giving the tongue a nice tickle which is emphasised by the evident hop bitterness. Again, the flavour profile is crisp with some funky Belgian spiciness and bright citrus notes swimming around on the taste buds initially. We’re loving the spicy/herbal hop presence too, really giving this Blond a hoppy American-style twist. Citrus peel, hay, peppery spice and fresh bitter herbs all vie for a piece of the action as it’s all completed with a light, dry finish. Another big point scorer for this beer is its ability to disguise the 6.25% ABV. A truncated warmth can be detected around the mid but it’s worked in to this hoppy bitterness brilliantly. Well, usually we don’t get all that excited about Blond beer but this one has really ignited our respect for the style. Keeping with tradition for the most part but putting a slightly hop-charged spin on it was the key factor for us. Really nice, we thoroughly enjoyed this.

Achel Trappist Brewery Blond

imageThis is our first entry for this Trappist brewery. We have somewhat embarked on a mission to try (and hopefully) review not only beers from all eleven Trappist breweries but every Trappist beer from these eleven breweries. It may be quite a feat, and our livers may not be too fond of the idea but we will get there. Eventually.

From the bottle and in to a snifter she goes. The golden appearance is presented with a slight haze and good levels of active carbonation that stream up to form this pillowy 2 finger cap. The head is retained well, only peeling off about 5mm with a sheet of lacing that wraps around the top of the glass. Looks good. We’re getting those prominent Saaz hop and Belgian yeast aromas initially. Wafts of fresh pear/apple, light citrus, stone fruits, banana, honey, clove and coriander are hinged on a good base of biscuity pilsner malts. In the mouth it’s quite highly carbonated which provides this frothy texture. Quite light on but this spritzy carbonation offers a little grip on its way down. We’re getting quite a pronounced sugar-like sweetness in flavour which we weren’t getting off the nose. It’s not distasteful in any sense and if anything the spicy hops and mild bitterness does cut through it well. After a few more sips the sugary sweetness takes on more of a honey flavour and as it warms further it morphs into stewed fruits. It’s somewhere around the mid-palate where the 8% ABV begins to open up as those fleshy undertones of pear and a suggestion of herbs carry forward on to a yeasty/fruity finish with a lingering note of banana and clove to the back end. Certainly a versatile beer, it’s one you could knock back chilled in summer or one you could let rest for 10 or 15 minutes before consuming. Nothing you will hear us rave on about but a decent drop all the same.

Emelisse white wine ‘white label’

imageWe have had some cracking brews from this Dutch brewery so we were intrigued when we saw this new edition, stating that it is Bordeaux barrel aged for a whole year! Wow. We then noticed that it has an alc vol of 8% and thought “hmmm this is going to have a real grape backbone and wonder if there are nelson Sauvin hops here?”.

Pouring an amber colour with a massive thumb width head full of large and small carbonated bubble. Head retains beautifully leaving a big wall of lacing on the glass as it slowly subsides. First whiff elicits sweet grape, green apple, funky sour overtones, white wine, raisins, and oak. This has the markings of a brilliant drop. As we first taste, the aroma is completely different to the flavour. We get white wine again, and a sweet toffee like malt, but also a bitter grapefruit tang and this acidic vinegar like palate with a dominate booze burn. Whoa. We get a subtle presence of vanilla and spice also..must be the barrel ageing. There is moderate carbonation and medium body. There is a real good balance between sour and sweet here and to throw in an 8% alc vol…sure it’s strong, but it’s sitting nicely. It’s such a complex array of aroma to flavour that we can’t help but sip and sip and enjoy it thoroughly. We don’t really know what bittering hops are used but we don’t care. This is a complex, well brewed beer, and any craft beer enthusiast will enjoy this. Very, very good.

Martin’s ‘Bourgogne des Flandres’ Blond beer

imageIt’s quite confusing trying to work out who actually brews this beer but after a little research we found that ‘Martin’s Finest Beer’ which is the tiny label on the back of the bottle (which is connected with the well known Timmermans and Guiness breweries) actually brews this, while the ‘van Houtryve Brugge’ on the neck of the bottle is the name of the family who founded it.

OK now onto the beer which we served in a beer tulip. The appearance is displaying a bright gold with very active bubbles streaming up to produce the airy 1cm cap. Decent head retention, eventually settling to a fine layer on top with healthy lace trails. The nose is offering some nice, light florals with sweet hints of musk, banana lollies, cloves, pear and a touch of citric lemon in the background. All of these with that classic Belgian-style champagne spritziness. Slightly generic but nice to take in on this hot Sydney day. In the mouth it’s light with a foamy texture. Carbonation is quite high with mild-medium body. Also a tad generic but pleasant in this heat. The flavour kicks off with a mild hop bitterness cutting through the sugary burst of tangy malt sweetness and stone fruits, particularly melon and peach. Not a whole lot changes through the mid until the slightly dry finish stops short of good length leaving a mild grainy taste on the rear-palate. 6% ABV. Well, it’s not bad but it will most probably go down as one of the less memorable beers we’ve tried. Definitely a sessional summer beer….that’s about it.

Brasserie de Silly ‘Abbaye de Forest’ Blonde

image“Lightly scented aroma followed by a subtly bitter taste. It leaves a subtle raisin fruitiness on the palate ending with a pleasant bitter tonic when swallowing”.

From the bottle we served this into a beer tulip. The hazy straw-gold appearance knocks up a big, fluffy 2 and a half finger head that eventually settles to a thin cap that retains well. Good amount of lacing provided. The aroma is coming off as quite subdued, usually these hoppy, yeasty Belgians are overflowing with perfumes. What is on offer are hints of herbal hops, musk, banana lollies, grain, clove and lemon. What is lacking in the aroma is slightly made up for on the palate as the smooth mouth feel, lively carbonation and the fuller bodied flavour presents itself. Underneath the initial fizz on the tongue are zesty hints of candied orange and sugar. The fizz mellows out through the mid and a subtle touch of booze and spice carry forward and deliver a grainy finish with standard length. The 6.5% ABV is about on par, it does play a little role in taste but nothing out of the ordinary. A little disappointing considering this is Belgian brewed, it almost comes across as an inferior attempt by a lesser known non-Belgian brewery. We’ve had better.

La Trappe Blond

image“La Trappe is honestly-brewed beer. But there’s more to it.
If you savour taste, you will pick up on another important ingredient that represents the essence of a monk’s existence. The silence.”

We can’t help but get excited when we see the authentic Trappist stamp on a quality Dutch label. It’s almost like you just know it’s going to be good. Served in a beer tulip the cloudy straw gold pour produces a fizzy 2 finger head that collapsed quickly to a halo with minimal lacing. Quite a bit of suspended sediment in this one so watch your pour. Again, as you would expect the trademark banana and clove dominates the aroma initially. Once you can get through those there are sticky undertones of bubblegum, pear, mango and vanilla that creep through. It’s like a fruity ice cream beer! In the mouth it feels quite frothy with a smooth texture. Lively in carbonation with full body, filling up the mouth well. Solid flavours of banana are evident from beginning to end. Intermittent additions of peppery spice and clove marry up beautifully within the yeasty, fruity mid palate while, again, banana and spice are here to round it all off. 6.5% ABV is well hidden. Well, in summary there are better Trappist beers out there but it’s tasty, rich and unique. Can’t ask for much more, really.

Leffe Blond

image“In the fifties, an extraordinary meeting took place that all beer enthusiasts should raise their glass of Leffe to. 
 The abbey’s Father Abbot Nys became acquainted with Albert Lootvoet, a master brewer.
 Passionate about the future of the brewery, Father Nys was upset to have to witness how, since the unpleasant stay of the French revolutionaries, the brewery had slowly fallen into decline and had eventually had to close its doors in 1809. Such a magnificent place could not be forgotten, he believed, and he vowed to bring the Leffe beer back. Father Nys and the brewer set about the challenge with vigour…and succeeded. Shortly after, the Leffe brewery was back in full effect. After Leffe Brown, a beer that shone brighter than the sun saw the light of day; they named it Leffe Blond – a beautiful chapter for Leffe indeed”.

From arguably the best Belgian Abbey brewery comes this fine offering. Served in a beer tulip the translucent golden pour produced a fizzy 2 finger head with decent retention but average lacing. Like all great Belgian Trappist (even though this particular beer isn’t) and Abbey ales the aroma is dominated by Belgian yeast and spice. Big notes of clove, pepper, bubblegum, banana, pear and esters are staple scents for this breed of beer. Subtle sticky undertones of burned sugar, toffee and fortified wine outline the complexity and brilliance of the Belgian Abbey style of brewing. Mouth feel is quite frothy and full bodied with medium-high carbonation. Upfront the fore flavour is dominated by a viscous sweetness. Flavours of banana and bubblegum are almost cloying but they’re balanced by an injection of spice and grain that develop through the mid-palate. The finish is again sweet with a touch of subtle spicy bitterness boasting good length to the back end. 6.6% ABV is hidden well amongst the array of flavours. Once again we’re blown away by the complexity and unique style of these Belgian beauties. Our hats are off to you. Delicious beer.

Red duck ‘shy blonde’ Spiced Belgian ale

image“Red Duck Shy Blond isn’t really very shy at all, but a ramped up Chai Spiced Belgian Blond ale. Notes of cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, ginger, fennel, cardamon, black pepper, black tea and a touch of honey, all cheekily wrapped up in a strong Belgian ale. Its all in there, but we do mean notes, not a whole orchestral movement, because overall Shy Blond is a sweet harmony of spices, in a easy drinking ale. Only one batch made, so she is rare, and beautiful.”

This beer from red duck is a pearler. It’s a chai spiced Belgian blonde ale and so very fragrant. Served in to a beer tulip, it pours with a nice thick head which retains and laces well. We’re immediately thinking Hoegaarden as the spicy wafts of cinnamon, pepper, aniseed and clove are well offset by zesty hints of lemon, honey and doughy malts. The taste is quite complex. Full of delicious spice, sweet honey, herbal hops and hints of warming black pepper  and mild alcohol warmth at the end of each swig. It looks like we’re drinking a golden ale or a lager it’s so lightly coloured but that certain Belgian smell is undeniable. It’s 7.1% ABV but hidden so well. Every sip is just so pleasurable. According to the bottle there are also aniseed, ginger, fennel and black tea thrown in. This beer is for the adventurous craft lover, and it’s actually better than Hoegaarden. We know that’s a big call but so worth trying if you can find one. Brilliant beer.

Newcastle ‘Bombshell’ Pale blonde

image“If you’re trying to get people to buy a great-tasting summer seasonal beer, it helps to have an attractive woman on the packaging. Newcastle, the No Bollocks beer brand, understands this phenomenon. So it’s with great excitement that the makers of the popular Newcastle Brown Ale are bringing back the also popular Newcastle Bombshell Blonde Ale this summer, featuring a lovely swimsuit-clad bombshell on its packaging”.

Served in a shaker glass the clear golden pour produces a thin filmy head that collapsed instantly, leaving patches of scattered foam on top. Laced poorly. The aroma we are getting is somewhat peculiar as a milky/creamy perfume hits the olfactory’s. We’re reminded of a lager when a faint hint of grain and sweet malts come forward. It would really help the aroma if the Cascade hops could push through a bit harder but we’ll have to settle for a slight grassiness. Not the most memorable aroma we’ve ever encountered. In the mouth it’s very light on with a mild watery body and tired carbonation. Primarily, hints of marshmallow, sweet bready malts and mildly assertive hops are uncovered. The sweet malts move forward and literally drop off leaving a muted hoppy finish to the rear palate. The flavour profile is quite delicate and the bitter fore-flavour and back end aren’t backed up by much at all. Very sub-standard, it’s a strange one really..not big fans of this at all.