Sunday, September 4, 2011

Grutt Belgian Blonde

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 4, 2011
I 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 glass.

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 well.

Smell: Virtually non-existent aroma. Very generic "beer smell", but nothing repulsive.

Taste: 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.

Drinkability: 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.

Overall, Gruut 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.

Grade: 6/10

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