Brouwerij De Graal - De Graal Gember

Brouwerij De Graal - De Graal Gember

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Strong Pale Belgian Ale Spiced with Ginger

Country:

Belgium

Alcohol by Volume:

8.00%

Brouwerij De Graal - De Graal Gember

  • Alcohol by Volume: 8.00%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Tulip or Snifter
Gember (Dutch for “ginger”) was among brewer/owner Wim Saeyens’ first commercially brewed beers—a bold move to kick off his brewery’s offerings as this is an uncommon style of beer (which is part of why we lined it up for you to check out this month). De Graal Gember is a blond beer spiced with ginger. This spicy root has long been used in beers as a spicing agent and, in some cases, can entirely supplant the use of hops. Its application is not that bold in this beer. Instead, it gives the beer some notes of gentle spice and supplies a drying character in the finish. On the nose, look for notes of chamomile-like tea, lemon, ginger, vanilla, orange-blossom honey, leafy, herbal noble hops, coriander, some clovey-spiciness and a waft of floral elements. On the palate, expect notes of honey, pepper, lime, earthy, minerally hop notes and, of course, ginger. A minor note of lavender peeks through here and there, but ginger spice takes center stage, and helps balance the big malt sweetness. Pair with ginger-spiced chicken thighs served with green and red peppers, pineapple chunks and picante sauce.
“Purity and Innocence of Spirit Shall Reveal the Glory of the Grail.” Or, you could just drink any of the beers brewed by our second featured Collectors Beer brewery and get a feel for that glory. Brouwerij De Graal, or “The Grail Brewery” in Dutch, has, like our first featured brewery, obvious religious symbolism behind the name. This is not uncommon for Belgian beers, among whose ranks live many a monastically-brewed Abbey beer. Let’s face it, monks can brew some damned fine beer—and many strive to deliver beer of like quality. Brouwerij De Graal is a small artisanal brewery located in the Flemish Ardennes (the informal name given to the hilly region in the south of the province of East Flanders). Brewer and owner Wim Saeyens was a homebrewer for years before opening the brewery in 2002. Wim holds a Ph.D. in chemistry and attended the brewing school at the University of Ghent. All credentials aside, the man can brew with the best of them. A curious peculiarity is that De Graal produces a 40% alcohol beverage, a sort of beer-schnapps, called Bierbrand that is made by the distillation of De Graal beers. The aromatic liquor is distilled twice in order to retain only the alcohol and hop aromas from the original beers, and is then matured in oak Bourbon barrels. Now this is taking beer to its furthest extremes! And since their opening in 2002, one of De Graal’s specialties has been the production of beers on premises, an arrangement that permits customers to brew their own beer on site, according to their own wishes. This is a great way for customers to create a personalized beer, and is a great outlet for pubs and restaurants that want to sell their own beer but don’t want to bear the capital expense of setting up their own brewery. Another common use is for birthday, anniversary, or wedding celebrations, yielding individualistic beers that make these events truly memorable. Having tasted a handful of the commercial De Graal beers, we’re jealous that people can just waltz on into the place and brew a beer on their system, with the guidance of their masterbrewer. Ah, Belgian beer culture . . . there’s nothing quite like it on Earth. (Though there are a handful of similar “brew on premises” outfits operating in the USA. Check your local listings; you might just have one in your area. In the meantime, we’ll keep sending you some of the world’s best brews.) For more information about the brewery, check out their website at www.degraal.be.
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