Sunday, February 10, 2013

Affligem Blonde (Belgium) 6.8%

Affligem Blonde (Belgium) 6.8%

This Abbey ale is deep gold in a glass and well carbonated. It has an floral aroma of apricots. The aroma is also distinctly alcoholic reflecting its strength at 6.8% ABV.

The taste is along much the same lines: sweet at first, floral, tastes of fruits like apricots and mildly banana, spicy like coriander; then bitter and obviously high in alcohol with a gingery aftertaste. It is right in the middle of the pack as far as abbey beers for alcohol content (or even towards the low end) but because its flavour is relatively mild the alcohol comes through quite clearly.

The flavour of Affligem Blonde is pronounced and interesting when compared to your average beer (and in truth profoundly delightful for those of us who have fallen for Belgian Abbey beers), but it is not nearly as strong as some other Abbey ales, especially compared to, say, Trappist ales. This makes it an excellent ale to use to introduce someone to the style: after having tried and enjoyed Affligem Blonde, some of the more "exotic" tasting (and thoroughly wonderful) Belgian beers will be much more approachable.

Affligem makes several other types of beer, a Dubbel, a Tripel and a Belgian ale, which I suspect will be much more like the explosion of flavour expected of a Belgian Abbey beer and I look forward to tracking them down.

A note on the serving: this beer, like any Trappist ale or Abbey beer (or really anything at all with a pronounced floral nose and spicy taste), should be served in a goblet style glass or, failing Belgian Abbey Ale dedicated glassware, a wine glass would do nicely to capture the aroma and bring out some of the best flavours.

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