#135 – Hapkin

#135 - Hapkin

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 8.5 %

Hapkin may now be brewed by giant Alken-Maes, but it hasn’t always been this way. The Brouwerij Louwaege was formed in 1877 and lasted five generations until its premature closure in 2002. The 7500 square metre site in Kortemark, West Flanders was eventually demolished after the acquisition and it is hard now to find much information on this sad demise.

The axe truly fell across the head of another community brewery – a fairly apt analogy for a beer symbolised by the weapon of choice of a certain Lord Hapkin of Flanders. Also known as Boudewijn Hapkin/Baldwin VII – the Count of Flanders.

This terrifying figure only ruled Flanders for eight short years, but his contribution in this time was a bloody rebellion against the murderers, thieves and oppressors of the people of his land. A kind of Belgian Robin Hood, seeking a peace for his land by the most ironic means. Often this was at the expense of the nobility who wielded horrific abuses at the hands of the middle classes.

Hapkin was born in 1093, and came to power at a rather unripe 18 years old. He would eventually die on the battlefield in 1119 – legend has it through a resounding cut to the head – a fitting end for a man renowned for his bloody axeplay.

It seems a rather odd choice of hero for a beer, but there is a nice twist to the tale. During his reign over 900 years ago, Lord Hapkin commissioned a strong blond beer at the Abbey Ter Duinen Cistercienzerpaters, a beer which history dictates was the original recipe of the latest Hapkin incarnation. The beer was allegedly so good that it was known country wide, and so strong that it made even the most cowardly soldier feel invincible. It is almost taken for granted now that Lord Hapkin would have bloodily fallen in the name of his people, drunk on his own home-brew.

This is certainly a beer in the mould of its master. Strong and belligerent in appearance and thick and dangerous on the palate. It looks like a proper tripel and with the addition of a sweet back-kick you wouldn’t be disappointed if you inherited a crate of this. It did fade a little near the end, a little bit like the Champions League game I was watching at the time, but definitely a worthy contender for something to knock out your mates with.

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2 Comments

Filed under 8, Alken-Maes, Belgian Strong Ale

2 responses to “#135 – Hapkin

  1. signalman

    Another interesting sounding beer from your list, although personally, the Tripel style isn’t my favourite. I’m not sure why, maybe I just can’t equate the light colour with the powerful strength. After all, when ( & where ) I grew up, stronger beers were inevitable dark.

    I will seek it out though.

    As a slight aside….( since Tripel is a Trappist thing 🙂 have you tried the relatively new La Trappe beer called “Puur” ( er, ‘Pure’, in translation 🙂 ? I know its Dutch not Belgian, but the Brewery is technically a Trappist one, despite its geographical location.
    Its described as unfiltered and organic, and with a strength on 4,7% and served in 33cl size, it is really tasty.
    A little like an English bitter ( as it is quite hoppy ) but it also has quite a malt favour and is lighter in colour, edging to Pils-colour ,or the colour of Boddingtons 30 years ago, before it went national.

    Not stunning, but a very pleasant alternative when available, and at the meagre price of EUR 1,29 ( including deposit ), I reckon its worthwhile !

    • I do count the La Trappe and Urthel beers as Belgian; although I probably shouldn’t.

      I love the La Trappe Quadrupel, but yet to try the Puur. I am heading over to stock up in a few weeks so will look out for it

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