Charles Quint Ruby
An Imperial Beer


Emperor Charles V., born in Gent in 1500 was not only a very important man (he became King of Spain in 1516 and Holy Roman Emperor three years later) but also a big beer drinker. Despite the advice of his doctors and an advanced gout condition he continued to drink vast quantities of beer even at breakfast and apparently never travelled without a barrel of beer.

When he stopped at an inn he would drink many pots of beer. Eager to impress, the locals in Olen, near Antwerp, where he hunted every year,  had a handled pot made for him. According to the story the next year a two handled pot was offered and then one with three handles. Today one can see a three handled pot standing in the Olen market square. The story goes a step further in Walcourt, where Emperor Charles apparently ordered that a pot with four handles be made, so that he could pick it up from any direction.

Enough anecdotal history, what about the beer: Charles Quint ruby. It comes from the family brewery, Haacht, perhaps best known as the producer of Primus Pils, and  was first introduced in 1978, later being relaunched in 2000 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Charles. The beer has a lovely coppery red colour and malty aroma. The initial taste is of dark and roasted malt – a smokey oak flavour which gives way to some spice ( cloves ), a pleasant alcoholic (8,5%alc. Vol.) bitterness and a mouth filling smoothness.

I think Emperor Charles would have approved.