Tag Archives: tankard

#134 – Keizer Karel Rouge

#134 - Keizer Karel Rouge

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 8.5 %

We first met Charles Quint (Keizer Karel Blonde #39) 95 beers ago. That seems an age ago now, and many historical figures have come and gone since, but good old Charles always liked a beer, and this is partly why he is so revered by the Belgian beer community.

We already know that Charles spent most of his time in Spain, but he also liked to get out and travel across his Empire, especially finding time to get home. Legend has it on one such night in a little village called Olen near Antwerp, he found an inn serving his favourite tipple. The innkeeper brought a mug of beer to his table and held it by its handle as he handed it across. Charles felt it was inappropriate to handle it in this way, and so asked the innkeeper to return with the beer in a mug with two handles. The patient landlord duly returned carrying the heavy cup with both hands, still leaving Charles with no free handle to take the glass from him. Charles is said to have then paid the innkeeper handsomely in gold to go away and have a cup made with three handles – especially for him to be able to accept the drink like a gentleman.

If you go to Olen, there is a statue of this famous beer glass, and it is possible in the right places to drink Keizer Karel/Charles Quint beers out of this three-eared style tankard. The locals have also, rightly or wrongly, garnered quite a reputation for their lack of intellectual prowess. All this because of a 16th Century innkeeper!

The beer itself wasn’t unlike the last one I had drunk (#133), in that it was dark, malty and of an aniseed persuasion, which to be honest I certainly wasn’t expecting. It was eminently more fizzy though and once through the thickset head, it ended up being a perfect supper time tipple.

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Filed under 7, Belgian Strong Ale, Haacht

#63 – La Gauloise Brune

La Gauloise Brune

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 8.1 %

My second beer in the Purnode campsite was another local brew from just across the way – La Gauloise Brune. This is a beer that celebrates the many Gallo-Roman sites in the locality, and which when first brewed back in 1858 by Du Bocq, attempted to recreate how those residents of ancient Gaul would have brewed beer. The strapline of the beer echoes this – ‘La biere de nos ancetres’. These ancestors funnily enough were known as Gauls.

Gaul is the historic name used by the Roman Empire to refer to the region of Western Europe that was what is now largely France and Belgium. In fact, Julius Caesar went as far as to break Gaul down further into three distinct ethnic groups – The Aquitani in the south west, the Celts in the middle, and the Belgae in the north between the Rhine and the Seine.

Gaul was eventually conquered by the Romans during the Gallic wars, where at least a million people died, and a further million were enslaved (totalling almost a half of the entire Gallic population). three hundred tribes were subjugated, and eight hundred cities destroyed. The tribes never really had a chance to be fair, as more often than not they were fighting amongst themselves, even when Julius Caesar became the common enemy. Their principal religion tended to be animism, in which animals were worshipped, and they tended to follow the political inclinations of the Druids, who had particularly strong beliefs in not recording the Celtic wisdom and literature into writing. It is often said that this is the reason the language of the Celts has virtually disappeared without trace except for parts of Brittany. For anybody seeking further information on the Gauls I would suggest reading Asterix. From what I have read on Gaul so far, it remains remarkably coherent in its portrayal of life at this time.

I was served the beer in a cracking little tankard with the newer logo on it, and after pouring I held it up to the light, to see a chestnut brown infused with ruby red. It looked the business, especially with its sepia head remaining pert on top. The aroma was intensely malty, and the taste was smooth and strong, echoing even more maltiness. It was a pleasant drink right to the end, but just didn’t go far enough to earn a better rating. Anyway, it has inspired me to go back and read Asterix, which of course I will do once I finish Tintin.

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Filed under 7, Abbey Dubbel, Du Bocq