If you google Blanche de Namur, the wheat beer brewed by Bocq comes up. But Blanche is not just a beer; she was a princess, daughter of the Count of Namur, and supposedly very beautiful. At least that’s the story; so beautiful that she attracted the attention of the young King of Sweden and Norway, Magnus IV Eriksson. A year later at the tender age of 15 she became his wife and queen.
That was in 1335; more than six and a half centuries later the Brasserie du Bocq in Purnode created the beer ”in memory of her beauty, her sweetness and her delicacy”. How beautiful she was is today difficult to judge but the sweetness and delicacy seem a bit overplayed when one considers her political influence and the controversies surrounding her. It could, however, just be a good description for a Belgian wheat beer.
The beer pours a hazy pale yellow, typical for the style, and looks a bit like lemonade. The aroma is flowery and fresh; on tasting my first impression was citrus; I couldn’t help thinking it was a bit on the thin/watery side but maybe that was the lemonade connotation in my mind.
The wheat grain background pushed me back in the right direction and then things started to happen; the citrus gives way a touch to allow a softer , slightly sweet banana element to come through.
As the beer warms from its 4 deg. pouring temperature, a lasting spice and coriander appear alongside the fresh fruitiness. The good carbonation gives a nice mouthfeel and makes for a refreshing drink. This is a beer that certainly grows on you and with just 4.5% alc.vol. you can indulge yourself.
So, probably a good desription; the beer has a slight sweet side, is certainly delicious if not all too eye catching (but, as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder). The best Belgian wheat beer I’ve tasted to date.
No great surprise, then, that it won a gold medal in 2013 at the International Beer Challenge beating Weihenstephan (Silver) and in 2012 was voted Europe’s best Belgian style wheat beer at the World Beer Awards.
Happy beer drinking!