There's a lovely bit of Breughel on the label of these two, illustrations from his Flemish Proverbs series. "Pillar-biter" is, apparently, an old Flemish expression meaning hypocrite and here we see one such, literally chomping on a post.
Pilaarbijter Blond is already not doing what it said it would, being much more of a red-gold than a blonde. Even pouring 33cl into a roomy Duvel glass took three attempts, so busy is the fizz here. Though bottle conditioned, a year or so of refrigeration left me with a perfectly haze-free bowl. There's nothing too exciting about the aroma: lots of heavy bread and a touch of spicing. The texture is thick and warming, unusual for an 8.5% ABV Belgian blonde: they tend to wear their strength quite lightly. The flavour professes lemon, cinnamon and dark honey. It's a long time since I last ate a Locket throat sweet but I seem to remember them tasting something like this. The unctuous throat-coating quality enhances the effect. I rather like this. Just when I thought the floral hop-forward Belgian blondes were the best sort, something like this comes along.
There's a similar amount of fizz in Pilaarbijter Bruin, though the bubbles are finer, sitting off-white atop a chestnut-red body. This is a mere 6.5% ABV but first impressions are that it's very similar to the blonde, showing the same sort of spiced grain aroma. It's a lesser beer on tasting, however. Rather thinly textured and though there's the caramel and light chocolate that any fan of a Belgian brown would be seeking, it lacks complexity. So low-key is the spicing that it could even pass for something dark and Bavarian; a clean dunkel lager or similar. Not exactly a damning indictment of any beer, that, but if you're looking for Belgian warmth it's best to apply to the blonde.
Both beers, incidentally, are from the Bravik brewery in West Flanders: the opposite side from Breughel country, but we won't point fingers.
Westvleteren 12 - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2012 | ABV: 10.2% | On The Beer Nut: December 2007* This bottle of Westvleteren 12 was not captured in the wild, acquired instead ...
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