#145 – Gulden Draak

#145 - Gulden Draak

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 10.5 %

If you visit Ghent you will almost certainly have to look up at some point at the majestic Belfry in the main square. You shouldn’t need a telescopic lens on your camera to spot the Gulden Draak sat atop the tower. She weighs almost 400 kilograms, is over 3 metres long, and is so famous they decided to name a beer (or two) after it.

There is a legend to the story of the dragon which dates back to the Crusades in the 12th Century, and involves a certain Norse king called Sigrid Magnusson. He had been fighting hard in the Crusades, and had received such a heroes welcome on entering the city of Constantinople (now of course Istanbul), that he took the gold plated dragon from the prow of his boat and donated it to the Hagia Sofia church. Almost a hundred years later, the Flemish earl Boudewijn IX during the 4th Crusade was crowned Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, taking Constantinople from the Turks. Impressed with the dragon, he dragged it all the way back home, which prompted a succession of bids for its possession, culminating in the Battle of Beverhoutsveld in 1382, where the people of Ghent stole it from atop the St. Donaas church in Bruges.

For anyone who has drunk Kastaar, and read the review (#96), an interesting side note is that the legend details the Dragon was originally donated to the people of Biervliet before the Brugse Zot (#36) wrestled it from them, in recognition of the brave soldiers who in 1204 were the first men to climb Constantinople’s walls. This is of course all legend and I plan to disclose the real facts when I get round to tasting the Gulden Draak Vintage (#213).

I can’t say I am particularly looking forward to it though, as the original Gulden Draak was extremely over-rated. I had looked forward to it all day, but all I got was a ridiculously strong dark beer, with no head, and no redeeming features whatsoever. It was bordering on the metallic and was very artificial. Like the legend above, I was beginning to wonder whether all that shimmers really is gold.


Filed under 5, Belgian Strong Ale, Dragon, Van Steenberge

8 responses to “#145 – Gulden Draak

  1. Jonathan

    Have enjoyed this (in moderation) in the past, particularly on draft at De Garre in Bruges. Though the house beer De Garre Tripel, is much better.

  2. Can I get that outside Belgium. Say in London. If yes, where?

    • I havent seen it in London, although its not out of the question as its not a rare beer.
      Your best bet is ‘Beers of Europe’ in Norfolk. They deliver and it isnt too expensive..
      Look them up on the web.

    • Homebrew beer, you can most certainly find it at Utobeer @ Borough Market, London

      Belgianshrimper you got this one wrong 🙂
      Yes, its not a rare beer (anymore) but still remains an exceptional brew for its style and a perfect winter-warmer 🙂

      Try serving this beer in its proper glass (or any tulip-like glass, i.e. a Duvel glass) if you wish to see its head in all its glory; the most important thing to do, however, is to open the bottle 8-10 mins after you have taken it out of the fridge. Trust me, you will be surprised

  3. Pingback: #96 – Kastaar « The Belgian Beer Odyssey – 1 to 1000

  4. Fantastic outlook with very strong finish, leave this one at last for saving other beers~

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