25 May 2009

De La Senne and sensibility

We're still in hop country today, we've just moved a few thousand miles east. It's a big country, OK? The beer is my second from the relatively new Brussels beer company De La Senne, and describes itself as an "Extra Hoppy Ale". Given the iconoclastic nature of their excellent low-strength stout, I was expecting Taras Boulba to be similarly unBelgian. With the sediment settled, it poured the way crappy lagers in TV ads do: beautifully clear and golden and frothy. But the end result was a hazy pale yellow beer, infused with the reawakened yeast.

And that yeast anchors the beer firmly in its home country. Yes, there's a bit of juicy melon in there, and there's a finish full of dry, back-of-the-throat, tobacco-like bitterness, but that sharp tang could only be the result of Belgian ale yeast in all its gritty glory.

Far from a daring, bold new Belgian style, Taras Boulba offers us all the fun of Belgian bottle-conditioned golden ales in a highly sensible 4.5% ABV package. Bigger bottles please.


  1. Anonymous10:16 pm

    had that on keg in the rake in london a couple of years ago, very nice stuff but thought it not so good as galway hooker.

  2. I love this beer - it proves you can do exciting Belgian flavours without a crazy ABV.

  3. Laurent Mousson1:28 pm

    Along with Rulles, Br. de la Senne indeed are doing a sterling job at producing tasty, complex belgian beers with reasonable ABVs. A very welcome evolution. Besides, they're among the few Belgian brewers that don't need to have their arm twisted by an US distributer to be persuaded to use more hops.
    Definitely a brewery to keep an eye on. And Taras Boulba a beer worth seeking out to open new perspectives on Belgian beer.