Monthly Archives: October 2009

#2 – Het Kapittel Pater


# 2 - Het Kapittel Pater

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 6 %

OK. I am only on my second beer, but I could have sworn Het Kapittel was a seminal piece of literature by Karl Marx. I stand corrected. Het Kapittel is actually a range of beers brewed by Van Eecke up in the Watou region of Belgium. They took over this brewery in 1862 from what was then the Gouden Leeuw (Golden Lion) brewery.

Het Kapittel roughly translates into English as ‘the Chapter’ and represents the hierarchy of priests in a monastery or abbey, emphasising the importance of monks, monasteries and the like in the history of Belgian beers. In fact throughout Europe, as far back as the 5th Century, monastic communities spread like wildfire, brewing beer, at first for their own consumption, and then for a wider market. Water supplies were often suspect, and so the brewing process meant a more tasty and wholesome drink for the local community. This desire to have ones thirst quenched sums up the Het Kapittel Pater rather aptly, as the Pater refers to the daily drink of choice for the monks while they work. Pater also translates as ‘father’ from Latin, and probably represents a lower rank in the hierarchy of a monastery after a Prior, and Abbot which are 9% and 10% respectively in the Het Kapittel hierarchy.

At 6% this particular beer is a little stronger than regular Paters, however perhaps in a region reknowned for its hop production, the monks preferred something a little more potent. In the case of this beer, those monks are said to have come from Mont des Cats across the French border. The appearance of the beer was dark and coppery – yet not at all unpleasant. In fact it becomes maltier and hoppier, and reminiscent of a good English ale as you continue to quaff. I remain convinced I wouldn’t buy this beer by the case, but it does sweeten near the end, albeit not quite enough to make you desperately want to open another.

(Post-Script) – The Het Kapittel Dubbel (#108) though is definitely one to try and stock up on !

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Filed under 7, Belgian Ale, Van Eecke

#1 – Mongozo Banaan

#1 - Mongozo Banaan

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 4.5%

Starting on the first tenacious steps of the road to a thousand Belgian beers, you might be forgiven for wanting to begin with a classic. I however decided to largely let fate decide my path, and it started with this – a reason to move swiftly onto number #2.

The Mongozo Banaan does though immediately highlight the monumental history of beer, which takes us much further afield than plucky little Belgium. The Mongozo beers come from a legendary recipe that has been handed down from generations of women tribe-members of the Chukwe people, and Mongozo literally means “to your health”. It is fair to say that since time immemorial, the brewing of beer was the domain of women, while the man of the house hunted, and this was particularly true of Africa, and indeed ancient Sumeria (now Iraq) where ‘liquid bread’ was first recorded. In fact the recipe for Mongozo beer was only eventually handed down to a man due to the great-great-grandmother running out of a female relative within her dynasty to pass it to! Even today in most parts of rural Africa, women tend to prepare the traditional brews for celebrations such as weddings and tribal celebrations, and even then for sale at the local markets.

This beer is made from a traditional recipe which contains predominantly palm-nuts, and it eventually found its way into the Netherlands via the recipient of the hand-me-down – Henrique Kabia. This beer in its content remains a fairly representative form of a truly African banana beer, which incidentally still is the traditional drink of the Masai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania. It started well, with the unsurprising and quite appetising aroma of bananas, and yet the rich cloying taste of a sharp cidery beer. The experience though wore off rather easily in the second half of the drink, whence it became tired, oversweet and eventually rather quite unlikable. There are at least 999 more beers to go and I can’t imagine many more will end up being this bad !

(Post-script) – Having said that if you are interested in those that really are worse than this then please look no further than Ecaussinnes Cookie Beer (#23) and Bon Secours Myrtille (#54). Both utter howlers !

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Filed under 4, Fruit Beer, Huyghe