Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V., Ertvelde, Belgium
Beer: St. Stefanus Blonde
Serving: 11.2 oz bottle
Glassware: Duvel tulip
Information: 7% ABV, Cellar Release: 1-2012, 8°C, “maturation calendar” on side, Best Before: 03/11/13 on back label.
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Price: $4.99 / bottle
Cellaring: Under proper conditions, this beer can be cellared for extended periods.
Pairings: Chicken Alfredo with broccoli and rice pilaf, white fish
A steady stream of strong carbonation billows from the glass’ etching, through the vibrantly clear golden yellow beer, to the effervescent and pillowy egg shell-colored head. Gobs of lace decorate the glass in a whole-y Swiss cheese pattern.
Giant fruit esters erupt from this fresh Belgian yeast-laden beer! Sweet orange peel citrus masks, ever-so-slightly, a dribble of white grape juice while earthy clay and white pepper spice follow through. Pilsner malt adds plenty of sweetness to the aroma as alcohol finishes out gently. Abounding aromatics make this one hell of a great smelling beer!
Sweet pilsner malt is traded for an unpleasant grainy pale malt as the explosive yeast esters fade to the background. Apricot hints come out and white pepper is still pretty strong, but the finish is very dry and almost metallic tasting.
Strong carbonation should come as no surprise, making this a perfect beer to pair with some cheese as it’ll scrub your tongue nicely. Medium-bodied and leaning towards the sweet size, hops never enter the picture; instead, the beer is balanced by an overwhelming dryness along the finish that lingers for quite a bit.
This beer loses track somewhere between the aroma and flavor, changing drastically. The first sip was quite distasteful as it finished out with a metallic-like dryness, but after a few further sips, it became more drinkable. It’s aggressive and inviting aroma is near perfection, it’s just the flavor that doesn’t quite follow in the footsteps. I’d imagine that this beer with it’s fruity, earthy, and spice characteristics would be a good beer to pair with a handful of different cheeses and explore their interactions.
Score: 71 / 100 – Decent