The Abbaye des Rocs brewery is situated in the picturesque village of Montignies sur Roc in the province of Hainault near the French border. Despite its name it has nothing to do with an abbey and consequently is not a member of the Bière belge d’Abbaye reconnue organisation, but that doesn’t stop it giving a monastic impression or, indeed, say anything about the quality of its beers.
The brewery started life in 1979 with a very modest production of just 50 litres every two weeks. Production has been successively increased to well over 1000 hl per year and today seven beers are produced and exported to various countries including the USA and Japan.
Way back in April 2013 I tasted the strong dark ale; one of Belgium’s best. High time, then, to try their strong pale ale ( blonde) and see how that shapes up. In a category that includes Duvel, Moinette and La Chouffe it’s got a mountain to climb if it, too, is to be amongst the best.
With 7,5% alc. vol. Abbaye des Rocs Blonde is at the lower end of the range but maybe it can make up for it elsewhere. It pours an amber orange gold with a medium off white head.
The aroma is on the subtle side; faint apple fruitiness, yeast and a slight floral element. Sweet apple is up front in the taste together with other less discernible sweet fruit and a touch of citrus. A background malt and a pleasant spiciness. give an overall impression of apple strudel. A light bitterness completes the picture.
The finish is a mix between a candy sweetness, malt and light bitterness.
Nowhere near as great as its dark sibling but an enjoyable beer, nonetheless.