04 June 2006

Last of the Fruity Belgians

As I've said before, there's a lot to be said for mucking about with standard brewing practices: weird methods and ingredients are what keeps the industry fresh and interesting, and I have huge respect for the small producers in particular who take chances on these things.

It seems one of the world's largest brewers is at it now, too. InBev (formerly Interbrew) have recently launched Hoegaarden Citron. It's a lighter (3%) version of plain Hoegaarden, with an added lemon flavour. The lemon hint in standard Hoegaarden was one of its strong points, and what we have now is some kind of ultra-sweet alcopop for people who don't like the taste of real beer. You have to wonder what focus group prompted this one.

InBev also make Bellevue Kriek, one of my favourites of the genre. At a motorway service station in Belgium I discovered Bellevue Kriek Extra. It comes in little Red-Bull-style cans, and is lighter than the normal product, at 4.3%. The idea is that it contains even more fruit than usual. It certainly tastes sweeter, but the dry gueuze character of Bellevue is one of the main reasons I like it. Once again, I'm not sure what the point of this beer is.

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