Size: 330 ml
ABV: 8 %
Talk about Kwak, and almost certainly conversation will revolve more around the glass, than the actual beer itself. Served in a round-bottomed hourglass that is unable to stand freely unless attached to a laboratory style piece of wooden apparatus, the beer is certainly one of the more attractive specimens on offer in cafes.
There is however a story behind the gimmick which the brewers at Bosteels are only happy to tell. Pauwel Kwak was an 18th Century innkeeper and brewer whose De Hoorn Inn in Dendermonde was frequently visited by horse-drawn mail coaches and their thirsty drivers travelling between Mechelen and Ghent. During these Napoleonic times, the mail coach drivers were prohibited from leaving the vehicles and were not allowed to be seen drinking alongside their passengers. Our man Pauwel then invented this glass which could be hung on the side of the coach enabling the drivers to continue to imbibe as they drove away, without spilling any of the precious brew. It was with this in mind in the 1980s that Bosteels launched this famous amber, and its test-tube styled accessories.
There are also stories in recent times that Pauwel was only named Kwak because of his heavy stature, and that in fact the beer is so named because of the ‘quack’ sound which is made when quickly drinking the beer from the special glass. These are crap stories but when you take into account the actual quality of the beer it does make you begin to wonder. I have always probably been more disappointed with Kwak because of the reputation it affords. The pour is a mix between amber and brown yet remains coppery clear. Its fair strength is barely unnoticeable but I’m not always convinced that is always a good thing. Kwak is a palatable but really rather unremarkable beer which almost stands in stark contrast to the vessel which so often accompanies and accentuates its sales !