Wednesday 18 August 2010

Back to Black: Brasserie de Bellevaux Black

Lately, I have been moaning and moaning about how difficult it is to get most of the Belgian craft beers here in Brussels. Well, the good people at Brasserie de Bellevaux in Malmedy have helped out by posting me a couple bottles of their lovely Black beer.

This is the second time I’ve tried it, and I’m glad to say my first impressions were upheld: Brasserie de Bellevaux Black is excellent. It’s super dark, burnt malty and sharply bitter yet somehow smooth at the same time. It has notes of clove, liquorice and mace. The alcohol is not overpowering at 6.3%, but it gives the beer just enough lightness for the delicate tastes to take flight over your tongue.

I’ve been doing a little experiment here, and I’ve discovered that Brasserie de Bellevaux Black goes extremely well with very dark chocolate. I’ve just tried it with a couple squares from my current favourite Brussels chocolate shop, Zaabär, which is located, as luck would have it, just a few streets away from my home. Their spiced dark chocolate bars are magical treats, particularly their Zanzibar clove and Grenadian mace varieties, which both -- surprise surprise -- match nicely with Brasserie de Bellevaux Black.

The Brasserie de Bellevaux also has a very good Brune, by the way.

With this tasting of Brasserie de Bellevaux Black, we have a perfect example of what I’ve been talking about: it’s an excellent beer, and the brewery is only an hour or so away from Brussels, but it’s almost impossible to find this beer in any local shop. Brussels retailers tend to stick to a few mass production brands and a familiar handful of other well-known labels. Is this entire city doomed to Jupilerification? Starvation in the capital amidst a country of plenty? I feel a letter-writing campaign coming on... I’m going to start with my local small supermarket and see if I can get them to expand their selection a bit. Stay tuned...

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