By Jared Dillon
Duvel is one of the benchmark beers of Belgium. Essentially, the beer spawned the style now known as Strong Belgian Golden Ale.
Duvel’s appearance lends itself to a lager more so than it does a strong ale. The color is a pale gold and the beer has an exuberant amount of carbonation visible in the beer’s lofty head when first poured.
Like all Belgium beers, Duvel has a unique glass that, in my opinion, is probably the most commonly known aspect of the beer. Similar in shape to a burgundy wine glass — although with one main difference — the lip of the glass comes to a curve meant to handle the intense amount of beer foam caused from Duvel being bottle-conditioned (refermented with yeast in the bottle).
The name Duvel is a phrase synonymous with the Flemish word for devil. The legend is that when first producing the beer, a worker tasted a batch and exclaimed the beer was “nen echten duvel,” which essentially translates to “a real devil.”
Duvel has two unique aspects. One is that its yeast is from Scotland.
Two, it undergoes both a cold and warm fermentation. The beer itself has flavors of citrus fruit and barnyard grains, with light hops.
In recent years, brewery Duvel Moortgat has had increased influence on the beers of Brewery Ommegang, one of the finest Belgian beer producers in the United States.
It recently released a Duvel Rustica, its personal take on Duvel. The result is a fruiter version of the classic.
Duvel itself also started doing a Duvel Triple Hop series in 2007. These beers are Duvel-produced with distinctly new hops, giving the beer a variety of different flavors.
Duvel Moortgat continues to try and evolve its flagship beer, but in my humble opinion, the original is still the best.
On Thursday, June 20, Idyll Awhile Wine Shop will be tasting a variety of Strong Belgian Golden Ales, each beer paired with individual food courses. Price is $25 per person. For more information, call (951) 659-9463.