Daily beer project

Beer #25: Duvel

Posted in Imports by dailybeerproject on February 7, 2010

I’ll be honest that my expectations weren’t real high for Duvel. Experience has taught me that higher-alcohol content beers are too bitter for my taste, and Duvel is 8.5% abv, double what I get in my local beers. Research, however, suggested that for whatever reason the Belgian beers are less bitter than those of other provenance, so I had the ever-so-slightest bit of hope that I’d like it. Considering it also costs twice or more what other beers do, my desire to like it was just that much greater.

First thing I noticed was the magnificent head. Indeed, the 330 ml/11.2 ounce bottle produced so much foam, I couldn’t fit it all in a pint glass. I drank the last of it straight from the bottle, and waited for the kick of bitterness. It never came. That was weird. So I had another sip. Still no bitterness. It tasted like a full-flavored, but not-very-hoppy lager with a pronounced sourness at the end. At first I found the sourness off-putting, but by the end, I liked it. Liked it enough that I wanted another bottle. I guess there is something to these Belgian beers after all.

Since I had the Duvel early afternoon after I got home from skiing (beer after skiing is awesome, btw), today ended up being a bonus day since my wife and I went out for Mexican tonight. Alex/Watcher gave me a bit of crap in the comments about how I don’t like any of the beers he recommends. Well he also recommended Negra Modelo, so I ordered one with dinner to see if I could break the trend. The trend was broken convincingly. Negra Modelo is an incredibly tasty beer and pairs wonderfully with Mexican food. Now if I could just figure out where to buy it besides that restaurant…

Summary thoughts: While we were eating, my wife asked me what specifically I like in a beer (especially since she doesn’t like beer at all and can’t comprehend what there even is to like). This was a question I hadn’t considered before then, but I’d say the best answer is balance. I want to taste the malt, regardless of whether it’s sweet or dark (the Negra is dark and certainly the darkest bottled beer I’ve really liked). I want to taste the hops without being overpowered by them. I don’t mind hoppy beers, but that can’t be all I taste. And I don’t like being overpowered by the alcohol. Indeed, this has been my nemesis throughout the project, more so than the hops. Finally, the beer shouldn’t taste watered-down or boring–it has to have something to it, something to remember, or there’s not much point in drinking beer over water. Duvel and Negra Modelo both met those criteria, yet both tasted completely different.

Oh, and here’s the lineup for the final six pack. I’m alternating Belgians with macrobrews just for kicks.

  1. Heineken
  2. Delirium Tremens
  3. Pabst Blue Ribbon
  4. Orval
  5. Budweiser

4 Responses

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  1. […] It pours with a huge, thick head that dissipates slowly. It has a bit of sourness similar to the Duvel, but like the Duvel, the sourness is pleasant and becomes more so as you consume the beer. Also […]

  2. Barry said, on February 28, 2010 at 4:02 am

    I’ve become a big fan of the Belgian beers. Duvel, Chimay, and Westmalle are all excellent and relatively available (if a little pricey). If you find yourself in Belgium, search out a Westvleteren. I tried the “8” on my last visit and it was the best beer I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to find.

  3. […] It’s described as a Mexican-style lager, which suggests something like Tecate or Corona. Negra Modelo is also a Mexican lager, but it’s not a typical Mexican lager like its sister, Modelo […]

  4. […] flavor stood up well to the pungency of the peppers and cilantro. Which I guess makes sense since Negra Modelo, another dark beer, is my Mexican beer of […]

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