One week ago, the Belgian football club KAA Gent, or La Gantoise, became Belgian league champions for the first time in their history after 115 years of trying! Having lived in Gent for eleven months, I became a supporter of the team and have followed them ever since. I freely admit to experiencing one or two tears of joy as I watched the jubilant scenes unfold before me when I snuck away from work to stream the game online, and that night I persuaded (not that it was difficult) my parents to join me in some celebratory Belgian beers.
We started with a bomber bottle of Red Collar Mild as our pre-beer beer, since it was already at a suitable temperature, before getting on with the Belgian brews. First from Belgium we shared a bottle of Augustijn Blonde, which was good, though not as good as their Grand Cru. Then we shared a Gulden Draak, one of the symbols of Gent, and a worthy beer for any special occasion. I scribbled down some tasting notes.
Nose: sweet malt and cane sugar
Palate: orange and spices (cloves, nutmeg?)
Finish: dates, malty, strong and long lasting
Rating: 4/5 Excellent
We capped off the celebration with a Rochefort 8. Initially our palates struggled to adapt from the sweetness of the Draak to the earthier complexities of the Rochefort, and this prompted my Dad to spew forth the quote of the evening. “I think if you took Gulden Draak and added Oxo cubes and tuna to it you would have Rochefort 8.” After a while of patient sipping and careful pairing with CSNY’s So Far, we began to feel the harmonies of beer and vocals combine, and the beer was a splendid nightcap after all.