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BA & Calvados Belgian Strong Ale

29.01.24

It’s Calvados Time!!!

Our first BA beer of the year is probably going to be my favourite (please take that as a challenge team!). Any De Molen Calvados BA is actually going to be my favourite- I love the fizzy freshness and juicy sweetness imparted into beer (so far, of any sort!) by this French liqueur’s barrels and after the barleywine of last year, I’m all ready to dive into this one! Even the immediate smell of it reminds me of bougie apple juice- you know, the kind your parents would buy for you if they had people round for drinks that was cloudy and almost grown up. With such a stellar first impression, it can only get better, right?

Immediately upon tasting I felt like this was in a different league (and world!). The initial fizziness hits your lips and tongue and imitates biting into a sour Granny Smith and brings with it a bright, acidic pop on the palate as a fast-paced beginning to the beer. In quick succession a beautiful honey apple taste comes out to add a roundness to the acidity and make the beer style’s best qualities clearly known. I love the deep sweetness and maltiness of Belgian Strong Ales, though often this becomes sickly and quite difficult to drink towards the end of your chalice. Luckily the juxtaposition of the fruity acidity with the beer works, and it brings levels of complexity to (what is, admittedly a great) base beer. Any lighter beer would, I feel, be overwhelmed by the acidity and become mere apple juice. This simply becomes better and more interesting!

But, back to the beer! The initial fizziness of the apple never wanes, especially under the tongue, even with the emergence of the strong ale characteristics and the wave of malty strength in the final taste- everything balances out here before the aftertaste is a pleasant imprint of calvados with a little texture of the apple peel. For something so strong (12.4%- you’ve been warned) it has a remarkably light body which I hadn’t anticipated from a Belgian Strong Ale which tend to be more viscose and almost syrupy. That being said, don’t think you can down this quickly- not only would that be most unwise, but what a waste of a jewel of a beer!

Although the beer started out as Copella, it became a lot more Appletizer throughout and ended up as the perfect (alcoholic) blend of the two- plus a great beer. Wouldn’t recommend giving it to kids, but can 10/10 recommend inviting people round for a few of these. Just make sure they don’t have to cycle/walk very far to get home. I know I’ll be enjoying it while gazing into the blinding sunlight waiting for the temperatures to rise to match the newly sunny days- this beer gives me hope of the perfect spring weather (cold enough for jumpers, warm enough for us to shed our woolen coats) with its perfect contrasts. 

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