Tag Archives: jester

#64 – Deugniet

 

#64 - Deugniet

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 7.5 %

Deugniet tends to have three English translations. Originally this would mean a good-for-nothing, usually it would mean a rascal or a scamp, and occasionally it might mean a knave or a jester. If you look at the label of this beer it becomes fairly evident that Du Bocq almost certainly focussed on the latter.

I chose this beer at the end of my first brewery tour in Belgium. I had previously done a tour of Carlsberg in Copenhagen as a student, but that was more for the free beer than it was for the insight into brewing, although I really needn’t have bothered too much as we ended up on the Flemish/French tour. We thought we might get by as I learnt a bit of French at school, and Tash spoke some Afrikaans, however we may as well have just done the tour in Swahili. I managed to understand some of what was going on using the English pamphlet I was so considerately given, but apart from key words such as ‘biere’, ‘Du Bocq’ and ‘bonjour’ everything else seemed to drift in one vacuous ear and out the other.

If you asked me to sum up the brewing of beer however from what I learnt at the tour, then… Men in white coats choose their ingredients, and then after messing about with the grains, they boil everything up in these big copper funnels in a very pretty rural set of buildings. After a while – probably an hour or two – the residue is left to filter and then the men in white coats add hops and spices in big vats for cooling and more filtering. After a number of rickety staircases, the porridgy mixture is transferred to another bigger vat where it is left to ferment (and stink the place out) for about a week. The resultant beer is then left to condition, and in the case of these bottled beers further conditioned in bottles by adding yeast. Once they are ready they end up in the conveyor belt room, which looks like something out of a Willy Wonka film, and the labels and bottles end up in crates on a fork-lift truck. In the case of todays visit, this was St Feuillien Blonde (#29) which DuBocq brews on behalf of St. Feuillien most of the time.

I did get the time to ask a few questions in the Brewery Tap at the end as I tucked into my Deugniet which I will share another time (#210), but now for the beer itself. Served in the appropriate glass, it was cool, golden blonde and high in carbonation. It immediately slaked my thirst from walking round confused for an hour and certainly had a bit of kick to it. There were some hop flavours, but I really couldn’t put my finger on any others. A run of the mill blonde I would say, from a run of the mill brewery.

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Filed under 6, Abbey Tripel, Du Bocq

#36 – Brugse Zot

#36 - Brugse Zot

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 6 %

The beer Brugse Zot is actually a slight against the people of Bruges. The jester or fool on the label is meant to represent the people of this elegant, quaint tourist haven. This isn’t just a wild accusation of widespread idiocy by the brewers, but actually a legend that stems from the colourful history of the town.

The modern day country of Belgium was once part of the wider Netherlands, which was also a part of the enormous realm of the Holy Roman Empire. For sixty years from 1459, Maximilian ruled the Empire, and did much to protect the lowlands from French rule as a way of defending his first wifes inheritance (Duchesse de Bourgogne, #105). Many Belgians were extremely fond of the emperor for his attempts to stabilise the area, and none more so than the people of Bruges who welcomed him on a visit to the town with a colourful parade of merrymakers. At the end of the visit, local dignitaries asked the emperor if he would be so kind as to provide hard cash for a new lunatic asylum in the town. Maximilian responded with the immortal lines ‘Madmen? Lunatics? Since I got here I’ve seen nothing but lunatics – Bruges is a madhouse!”. The nickname for the people ‘Brugse Zotten’ stemmed from this day.

It is unclear in what context Maximilian made his reference, although it should be pointed out that the burghers of Bruges once held Maximilian hostage for several months in an attempt to raise a ransom. Whether this was before or after Maximilians remarks would largely go someway to defining just how foolish the people of Bruges actually were.

The beer itself is the flagship beer of the town of Bruges, brewed by the De Halve Maan brewery. It had a nice pale colour on pouring with a frothy white head. It looked a bit lagery on first glimpse yet the aroma was polished with a really fruity bouquet. The first swig was though quite mild in comparison, with a pale flavour that threatened to explode at times but remained firmly in the anonymous camp. The odd hint of daring citrus just wasn’t enough to turn this beer into anything but an average Belgian blonde. I’d certainly be a fool to buy a crate of this !

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Filed under 6, Belgian Ale, de Halve Maan