Brouwerij De Landtsheer - Malheur 10
If you’re a real beer connoisseur, which you probably are or otherwise you wouldn’t be in this club, the name Malheur might be familiar to you. It’s a rather odd name for a product because it means “misfortune,” and that’s just the Belgian way. They love making these little whimsical jokes with the names of their beers.
You may be familiar with the name Malheur from Malheur Champagne beer, or the Malheur Black Chocolate, which are truly great beers. A lot of people have tasted those beers and said to me, “We love these beers, they’re very special, but what’s the basic Malheur beer like?” This is the basic Malheur beer.
Malheur beers are produced by a man called Manu De Landtsheer, who started his own brewery in just the last few years in the Belgian town of Buggenhout, to the north of Brussels on the way to Antwerp between Aalst and Mechelen, more brewing towns. He started his brewery there, but his family had a brewery on the same premises since the 1600’s, and the brewery had closed down between the two world wars.
Manu had grown up hearing his grandfather talking about the great days when the family had their own brewery, and it just got to him. It made him want to restart the family brewery, and that’s what he’s done, built a whole new brewery on the old site that makes his Malheur range of beers.
Now what’s this one like? When I taste a basic Malheur beer, the term basic has to be seen in terms of the way things are in Belgium. In Belgium, a basic beer is a pretty wonderful beer. This one is made with three or four different pilsner malts, mainly coming from France, and one more specialized malt from Belgium. It’s got Saaz hops from the Czech Republic, and it’s got Styrian Goldings from Slovenia. I think the Styrians are a particularly influential element in the flavor of this beer.
The yeast originally came from the Affligem brewery nearby, and they have sold so much now to the brewery at Malheur, that it’s really the Malheur yeast. It’s quite a fruity beer. Flowery, dry, very long. Despite its great strength, ten percent, it’s a very thirst cutting beer. And a very, very appetizing beer. It’s a little bit like an even bigger brother to its neighbor, Duvel. If you like Duvel, I think you’ll like this one. It is a bit strong; Duvel’s only eight and half percent, this is ten.
Very flowery, very cleansing, very appetizing. It would be a terrific aperitif beer. You can serve it reasonably cold, it has enough big flavors to withstand that. One thing that I like about this 75 centiliter bottle is that you can sit down to dinner with your lover, or spouse, or partner, or – the same person could be all three really - and crack one of these open and share it between you as an aperitif before dinner.
Why don’t you do that and see what you think? Let me know how you like it. Instead of saying cheers, or a votre santé, or prosit, I’ll say bon appetit.
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