Brouwerij Alken-Maes - Grimbergen Blonde Ale
- ABV: 6.7%
- Serving Temperature: 45-52° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, Goblet
This Belgian blonde ale sure is a looker, presenting a beautiful copper-golden color with brilliant clarity and a robust crop of tight-bubbled foam that coats the glass nicely as it recedes. Off to a good start. On the nose, it certainly smells Belgian with that yeasty pepperiness and grassy-herbal noble hops. There's a hint of fruit here too. Flavor-wise, the fruit comes through bolder, with notes of apple and apricot, some lemony acidity, and hints of cherry, banana, and even tropical fruits. That trio of yeast-driven pepperiness, lively carbonation, and spicy noble hops, which is present in so many awesome Belgian ales, is present here too – and we enjoyed the counterpoint offered by a malt sweetness that was a little stronger than what we perceived in the aroma. We also found the finish interesting, as the malt sweetness persists into the aftertaste for a few seconds, only to be outlasted by the hops which end up clinging on for a while longer and drying the beer out at the end... making us want to take another sip. Try this with a margherita pizza, grilled lobster, or a simple snack of sharp cheddar. Cheers!
It was 1128 when Saint Norbert founded a monastery in Grimbergen, Flanders, not far from Brussels. Despite being destroyed by fire three times, the Grimbergen abbey was rebuilt again and again, with the monks adopting the phoenix as their symbol. Like monks in many other abbeys across Europe, the Norbertine monks at Grimbergen made brewing an integral part of their way of life. Beer provided sustenance and nutrition for monks during periods of fasting, and could be sold to raise money for their monasteries. The image of an inebriated Friar Tuck may be a caricature, but the association of monks and beer is not an accident. Even today, several European beers sport a monk on their labels (typically with a satisfied or even beaming look on his face); Franziskaner hefeweizen and the classic St. Bernardus abbey beers come immediately to mind.
In 1880, a few hundred years after the founding of the abbey at Grimbergen, a gentleman named Egied Maes took over the operation of the Brouwerij de Sint Michael, near Antwerp. By the turn of the 20th century, his sons Ferdinand and Theophiel had taken the reins, modernizing the brewery with a steam engine to run new mechanized brewing equipment. The brothers Maes were also ahead of their time by appreciating the growing demand for lager beer, introducing their first in the 1920s. In the succeeding years, Brouwerij Maes stayed a family affair with new generations of Maes family brewers coming into the fold.
But man cannot live on lager alone, so in 1958 Brouwerij Maes approached the Grimbergen monks with a business opportunity. The parties struck a deal for Maes to brew Grimbergen beer for retail sale across Belgium (and ultimately beyond). In 1988, Maes merged with another Flemish brewery, Brouweri Alken, to form the Alken-Maes brewery of current times. Grimbergen beers remain key products for the brewery, and we're pleased to bring you two of their classic beers freshly imported just for you. Cheers!
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