A light blonde ale, with a soft bitterness and hop notes of grapefruit, passionfruit and mango. Light malt and biscuit flavours.
Following on from our Donkere Hass collaboration with Dimitri of Adept Brewing, we thought we would bring out a new twist of our very popular Belly White, Belgique IPA.
We shared the recipe with Dimitri while he was at Moon Gazer brewing and plan to brew a 6.5% version in collaboration with him later in the year.
However, for May we wanted to create a 2023 version of the brew – taking on boards Dimitris ideas but keeping the brew at 4.5% as a nice spring/summer ale.
Now, I am the first to admit that fusing beer styles is not new and was a thing well before the debate about ‘what is craft beer’ ever began. You see, at the risk of showing my age I was known in my youth to partake in pint of ‘twos’.
Anyway, I digress, but the point is that this new brew will be a fusion of Belgian blonde ale and an American IPA.
In terms of creating a new style out of two we wanted to take from a typically Belgian style ale – fruity, spicy, sweet flavours and bring into that the fruity, hoppy flavours of an IPA – but tempered a bit to be robust but not in your face.
Our Belgique gets the Belgian feel initially from the malt recipe, where we used a pilsner malt, blended with Vienna malt and oats as is typical in a lot of Belgian recipes. This will lend a soft, sweet malt flavour. Added to that will be a touch of heritage Chevalier malt – this will add further sweet biscuit tones. Also, the French name sounded pretty appropriate too!
The malts will give the beer a lush, light-golden colour and a creamy white head.
As for the bittering hops, we decided to use a mix of American hops and also some of the newer UK varieties which are making a big name for themselves of late.
Although brewing in Belgium dates back 2000 years the first recorded use of hops in the country’s brewing used French hops from Picardy. These would typically add a soft, fruity bitterness to the beer’s backbone hop flavour. We decided not to go French but to replicate the feel with an exciting new English hop – Godiva – known for its smooth bittering and grape like characteristics. Fitted the bill perfectly.
Then added to this the aroma hops are a blend of big American hops to give strong aroma and a hoppier bite than you would expect from a traditional Belgian IPA. Thought was given to these hops as well to give a Belgian feel and include – Simcoe (grapefruit, passionfruit) El Dorado (mango, peach, pineapple). We also wanted to give a platform to another newish UK hop Harlequin – which is bold enough to join in with its American cousins and brings to the beer more passion fruit and peach notes.
We, as an added authentic twist also added some candi sugar and right at the end of the boil some orange peel as is typical in many a Belgian brew and will add some subtle complexity to the flavour and mouthfeel.