Het Anker - Lucifer
Serving Temperature:42-48° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Flute
There was a time when the Church took a dim view of imbibing strong ales, and the brewers of such strong golden-hued beers naturally responded by branding their brews with various devilish or wicked names, the most famous of which being Duvel (Devil), with Lucifer, Satan, Judas, Piraat, Brigand, Deugniet (Rascal), and Sloeber (Joker) among other notable players. Lucifer presents a bright, lightly hazy golden yellow hue, capped by a robust head of foam from its in-bottle refermentation. The aromas on this classic Belgian strong golden ale are just what we expect from the style, which is very much driven by the spicy traditional yeast strains used in this land. Look for clove, mild banana, citrus, and white pepper, all underpinned by crisp, lightly honeyed, bready pale malts. The story continues on the palate, with perhaps a touch more citrus, along with plenty of the spicy phenolic clove and peppery notes, touches of banana and tropical fruit, a dash of stone fruit, and a solid backbone of bready and crackery pale malt that drops just a hint of sweetness which is easily countered by the spiciness and a dash of fruity alcohol. Complex and expansive, this is easily enjoyed on its own, but food pairings are compelling, too. We’d turn to rich cheeses, like double or triple crème brie, fried chicken, a bacon burger with blue cheese, lobster or crab, or any light to moderately spiced Asian dishes. Cheers!
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.
This month’s selection, Lucifer, is a Belgian classic originally produced by Brouwerij Riva which later changed its name to Liefman’s. When Liefman’s was forced to restructure in 2008, Duvel Moortgat took over the recipe but as the style was too similar to their flagship, Duvel, they thankfully negotiated with Het Anker to take over production and keep this classic alive. Cheers to that!
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