Brouwerij Dilewyns - Vicaris Generaal
- ABV: 8.80%
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Chalice or Goblet
Abbey Double (or Dubbel) is a difficult style to pull off, and generally speaking, it’s a variant of Belgian ale that often suffers from imbalance—too much sugary sweetness, nips and bites from the high alcohol, a bit rough around the edges, even if smooth in mouthfeel. But not this beer—Vicaris Generaal takes Abbey Double and gives it the poise and balance akin to a German pilsner. That’s what stands out the most to us about this beer—and it’s exactly why it floored us (well… the alcohol content may have aided us in connecting with the floorboards too… but, we digress…). We know it’s from Belgium, so, one anticipates good beer, but from a brewery that opened less than a year ago, finding beer this balanced, with its own distinctive stamp, is quite remarkable. That sly ABV will help in keeping this beer going for years to come—cellar as you see fit—we suggest 6 month intervals up to 2 years.
*The horse on the label is actually a depiction of Bayard, a powerful folkloric horse well known in the area from the saga of the Four Aymon. In short, the knight Aymon, a local vassal of Charlemagne, had four valiant sons. The strongest of them tamed a wild stallion named Bayard. Since at least the 18th century, about every ten years, in Dendermonde, there is an Ommegang (a medieval pageant), featuring a local treasure: a massive wooden sculpture of Bayard that is nearly 15 feet tall, weighs about 1800 pounds, and is actually carried by twelve porters who stand beneath it in hollowed out chambers. During this decennial procession, atop the famed Bayard of Dendermonde sits four local boys, in full metal knights’ armor, representing the four sons of Aymon. It is a sought after honor to sit atop Bayard in this ceremony, and the requirements are strict: the boys must be siblings, aged 7 to 21, with no sisters born between them, and they, their parents and grandparents must have been born in Dendermonde, and, the boys must all still live in town. Why are we getting into all these details? For a cool little bit of trivia: look closely at the figures atop the horse on the label on Vicaris Generaal—they are girls, not boys. Previously, Vincent Dilewyns had challenged convention by trying to have his daughters serve as the Bayard riders, but gender was not negotiable with the officials. So, his four girls adorn the horse on the Dilewyns beer labels, bucking tradition, yet remaining firmly in the saddle—a nice metaphor for the Dilewyns beers themselves.
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