Van Steenberge

BROUWERIJ VAN STEENBERGE

“The only operational brewery left in the Meetjesland. Traditional brewing techniques in a modern environment. The Brewery Van Steenberge is synonym for independence, progress and growth. It focuses on traditional brewing techniques that have evolved on the rhythm of technological evolutions. It guarantees a reliable quality and service. Respect for the staff and the environment occupy a central position in the policy”

www.vansteenberge.com/en

Year-Rounds/Seasonals:

BORNEM DUBBEL: 85 Points

Good Representation

Good Representation

This Abbey Style Dubbel is available year round in 330 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Bornem double is a “lively” abbey beer that, after its first fermentation in the barrel, nicely evolves during its second fermentation in the bottle or in the barrel. Soft as velvet, this double with warm darkbrown colour and burgundy undertones has a fruity taste and hoppy after taste. Its creamy, rich and firm foam head crowns it. Few other dark doubles can match this BORNEM DOUBLE.”

My Description: A satisfying and enjoyable Dubbel, this beer is a good representation of the style. It pours a large, light beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a wall of lacing, real nice. The aroma is malt forward and somewhat sweet with dark fruit notes such as raisins and figs with a touch of chocolate. This ale is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose closely with a strong malt backbone holding up notes of toffee, raisins, and chocolate. Some roasted notes can be detected and the alcohol is nicely hidden. At times, the beer tastes thin and it feels like it lacks some depth but overall this is an easy drinking Abbey Dubbel that I wouldn’t say no to. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with blood sausage, grilled venison, or potent cheeses.

ABV: 8%  Color: Brown/Red Edges  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 1.5/10

BORNEM TRIPLE: 83 Points

Needs to be cleaner

Needs to be cleaner

This Belgian Style Triple is available year-round in 330 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Bornem Tripel is a “lively” abbey beer of 9% content alcohol that after its first fermentation in the barrel, evolves during its second fermentation in the bottle or in the barrel. Abbey tripels are mostly blonde or light amber in colour. The BORNEM TRIPEL tastes hoppy and full with an excellent sweet-bitter balance. Its pleasant scent and nice foam head make this beer a winner in its kind.”

My Description: This ale has all the characteristics of a Triple with the light fruit notes and a touch of bitterness but the flavors don’t blend smoothly enough. It pours a huge and dense, off-white colored head with an amazing retention level and it leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is sweet and fruity with notes of apples, bubblegum, coriander, hay, and some honey as well. Triple is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. At first sip I noticed that the alcohol is not as hidden as nicely as it should be; it doesn’t necessarily intrude on the overall flavor profile but it does take you back a bit. Flavors of cloves and honey swim throughout as apples and bananas give this beer a more complex presence. Bread notes are also evident as is another light fruit note, which I think tastes closely to pears. The aftertaste is slightly bitter bringing a good overall balance. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with steamed mussels, jambalaya, or a strong cheese platter.

ABV: 9%  Color: Hazy Gold  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

GULDEN DRAAK: 99 Points

Legendary

Legendary

This Belgian Strong Ale is available year-round in 330 ml. and 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Gulden Draak is a high fermentation beer with secondary fermentation. For the secondary fermentation, wine yeast is used. The white bottle, the black banner, the golden dragon and the red letters, constitute a stylish result that has no equal among the many Belgian special beers. Gulden Draak can be drunk as an aperitif or dessert, or whenever you have the time to sit back and relax.”

My Description: Gulden Draak is one of the best examples of a Belgian Strong with an addicting flavor profile and clean body. It pours a huge, light beige colored head with an amazing retention level and it leaves behind a great amount of lacing, the head on this beer is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The aroma is slightly complex and pleasing with notes of bread, molasses, deep caramel malt notes, and dried fruits that I cannot necessarily pin down. Gulden Draak is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile begins with a thick malt backbone that holds up delicious notes of caramel, licorice, raisins, pears, and other fruits. Lingering yeast spice notes float throughout and the aftertaste is warming and clean. The alcohol is nicely hidden but definitely felt as the beer goes down. What’s so impressive is how easy drinking this beer is at such a high ABV and the flavors are balanced beautifully. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with dark chocolate desserts, creamy cheeses, or grilled pork chops.

ABV: 10.5%  Color: Garnet/Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2/10

GULDEN DRAAK 9000: 94 Points

Tasty Quad

Tasty Quad

This Belgian Quadruple is available year-round in 330 ml. and 750 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “All features of the Gulden Draak The extremely rich and complex taste sensation and the stable beer head can also be found in the Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple. The sweet caramel touches, however, are still reserved for the Gulden Draak. With addition of extra malt The new recipe, on basis of 3 different kinds of malt added in a volume of 4 times the content in lager, provide the Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple with a deep golden amber colour and a fruity scent. Together with the smooth and subtle sweet taste ensures this a wonderfully accomplished bouquet. In line with the traditions of Brewery Van Steenberge Just like the other specialty beers of Brewery Van Steenberge is the Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple a beer of high fermentation with secondary fermentation. A wine yeast is used for the secondary fermentation, which also contributes to the grandiose taste.”

My Description: With a more pronounced yeast spice flavor and a lighter feeling, this Quad is not your typical Abbey Quadruple but there is nothing wrong with that as this is still an addicting and satisfying ale. It begins with a large, light beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is not overly complex but is pleasant with notes of caramel malt, plums, dates, and some white pepper. 9000 is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Very smooth and highly drinkable, this beer tastes great. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and you almost forgot how strong this beer is. Light caramel notes dance throughout along with notes of yellow raisins and yeast spices that linger nicely. A wide array of fruit flavors are noticed but are somewhat hard to pinpoint exactly. The aftertaste has hardly any bitterness and makes you want to take another sip immediately. This beauty is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, beef stew, or pungent cheeses.

ABV: 10.7%  Color: Orange/Brown  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 1.5/10

PIRAAT: 93 Points

Great Belgian

Great Belgian

This Belgian Strong Ale is available year-round in 330 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This light amber coloured Piraat with full foam head overwhelms with an aroma of bitter, spicy, malty and alcoholic scents. What follows is a perfect combination of malty, sweet and hop bitter tastes, after which you are drowned in a very long, semi-sweet after taste with bitter undertone.”

My Description: Piraat is a great name for this beer; it is slightly bitter, there are light tropical notes, and it quenches your thirst on that hot summer day. It pours a large, off-white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is slightly complex and inviting with notes of honey, pears, some sweetness, and yeast spices. Piraat is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. Sweet notes are detected throughout the flavor profile, almost like sugary sweet, not malty sweet. Light tropical notes, pears, bread, yeast spices, and a hint of caramel are also apparent. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a faint hop flavor that lingers for a second but my opinion is that the aftertaste is overall dull and could have used more spice notes or maybe just more dryness. The alcohol isn’t as hidden as I felt it could have been but it doesn’t necessarily harm the overall drinkability of this ale, there are no fusel alcohol flavors burning my throat. Even with a few minor flaws this beer is still a great choice for a Belgian Strong. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled venison, pungent cheeses, or a vanilla based dessert.

ABV: 10.5%  Color: Hazy Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness:  3/10

PRIVATEER: 87 Points

Belgian Strong

AKA Piraat Triple Hop

This Belgian Strong Ale/ Belgian IPA is generally available year-round in 330 ml. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “This light ambercoloured Piraat with full foam head overwhelms with an aroma of bitter, spicy, malty and alcoholic scents. What follows is a perfect combination of malty, sweet and hopbitter tastes, after which you are drowned in a very long, semi-sweet after taste with bitter undertone.”

My Description: Privateer is good representation of a hoppy Belgian Strong. However, it falls short of being memorable and a little more attention to the harmony of the flavors would make this ale taste better. It pours a very large, off-white colored head that lasts forever and leaves behind a great amount of lacing, the head is very impressive on this beer. The aroma is interesting and slightly complex with notes of honey, malt, caramel, faint noble hops, and a touch of lemon. Privateer is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. An earthy presence holds up a flavor profile consisting of light caramel notes, some yeast spices, hints of stone fruit, and a touch of herbal hops. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but tastes too sharp and unrefined. The alcohol is hidden decently in this ale and the texture is on the smooth side. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with gourmet cheeses, mushroom burgers, or spicy fish tacos.

ABV: 10.5%  Color: Amber/Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 4/10