received an 11.2oz bottle from a friend in Belgium (thanks, Bart!). I
split it with a friend and poured my half into a beer festival tasting
Appearance: Crystal clear amber hue (very
lager-like); extremely carbonated like a champagne. Forms a large,
bright white, frothy head that lingers forever and laces the glass very
Smell: Virtually non-existent aroma. Very generic "beer smell", but nothing repulsive.
Even though Gruut Belgian Blond is an ale, it looks, smells and
initially tastes like a lager. The first thing I thought of when it hit
my tongue was a German helles lager. It has the same basic palate of
mildly sweet grain, but ends with a quick dose of cider-like spice. This
could be due to the fact this beer is brewed with herbs rather than
hops. This flavor is good, akin to a Macintosh apple or a green pear,
but it’s so quick and faint it’s the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it equivalent
to the taste buds.
While this beer has a little more
complexity and intensity to its palate than the other Gruut brand beer,
I was still grasping for flavors to hold on to. There’s a battle in
the palate between the generic lager-like side and the original,
authentic Belgian qualities. Had the true Belgian aspects been more
prominent this would’ve been a good, solid brew, but as it stand it’s
little more than above average.
Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated with noticeable fizziness; on the higher end of light-bodied; mostly clean aftertaste.
While not refreshing per se, Gruut Belgian Blond is not a hefty or
complicated beer. With a mild palate and clean aftertaste it’s very
drinkable. This is even more commendable considering the beer is so darn
carbonated, yet the CO2 doesn’t cause me to belch after every swig
like most Belgian beers of the style. At 5.5% ABV it’s not truly a
session beer, but I think it could be done easily. It’s a little too
mild to stand up to food, though.
Belgian Blond is not your typical Belgian offering of the style, but
it’s not a bad beer at all. I’ll give it a thumbs up, but I won’t
cheerlead for it.