Het Anker - Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizer Imperial Blond
- ABV: 10.0%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 44-48° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice, Goblet, or Teku Glass
The Het Anker Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizer Imperial Blond pours a lightly hazy orange-amber color, with flecks of pink as light shines through, and a thick pale cream-colored head. The head is well retained and leaves behind sticky church window-like lacing after every sip. As we poured, the aromas of rich sweet malt and candied orange peel immediately filled our noses, as did hints of bubblegum and cotton candy as we raised the glasses towards our faces. Hovering our noses above our glasses we were met with bright anise spice, coriander, floral yeast, and orange blossom. After a generous swirl, white pepper, pan dulce, and vanilla invited us to take a sip and we were rewarded with flavors of caramel, toffee, and a hint of candy sugar before a deeper expression of fruit and malt rolled onto our tongues. Pronounced ripe Mirabelle plums, Anjou pears, apricots, and yellow apples filled the mid palate, with dashes of mango, banana cream pie, and lemon zest, supported by crackery malt and herbal bitter hops.
The Het Anker Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizer Imperial Blond is full bodied, well rounded and mouth coating, without being weighty or syrup-like. The mousse was finely bubbled, smooth, and creamy with a delicate lather. This allowed us to experience the dense layers of malty sweetness, varied fruit flavors, delicate spices, hoppy bitterness, and a comforting toasty warmth that left a smile-inducing satisfaction. Finishing our glasses, we noticed the finish was fairly dry and light for such a complex beer, only adding to our appreciation of it.
This fine beer will age well over the next few years, but why wait? It can be enjoyed now with aged Dutch Gouda or a host of soft to firm cheeses such as Bouquet des Moines, Fromage de Maredsous, and Vieux Chimay. We’d also pair this with roasted chicken breast with a lemony velouté, pommes Lyonnaise, and charred brussel sprouts.
This month we’re happy to bring to our Rare Beer Club members the fantastic Het Anker Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizer Imperial Blond. It was first brewed in 2008 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van de Keizer Imperial Dark, but made with more types of malt and three different herbs to distinguish it in color, aroma, and flavor.
The Het Anker brewery can trace its roots back to the founding of a brewery in 1471 by a group of Beguines, a semi-monastic religious order active at that time in the Low Countries. In 1872, the brewery was purchased by Louis Van Breedam, who ultimately dubbed it with its current name, Het Anker (The Anchor). He installed a modern brewing system including a state-of-the-art steam boiler, bringing the brewery decidedly into the modern age.
A further modernization of the brewery was accomplished in 1990 under the leadership of Charles Leclef, who represents the fifth generation of Van Breedam family brewers. In the same year, they opened a three-star hotel at the brewery site, and in 2010 they overhauled and relaunched their attached “Brasserie” restaurant.
Het Anker is most well-known for their line of Gouden Carolus beers which they began producing after WWII. Currently the line consists of their Classic, a strong dark ale, along with a tripel, an amber, imperial dark and blond ales, a smoked beer, a Christmas ale, and others – many of them spiced with herbs as was common in ancient recipes. They began distilling whisky from their Gouden Carolus Tripel in 2010, and currently also produce a line of sake.
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