Special de Ryck dates back to 1920 when it was first introduced by the re-opened and newly named ‘de Ryck ‘ brewery. The brewery itself, under the name ‘de gouden Arend’ the golden eagle), was established by Gustaaf de Ryck in 1886.
As with many other breweries during the first world war the copper kettles were seized and brewing had to stop. 129 years later in the fourth generation of the family, Special de Ryck is still brewed together with nine other beers.
According to the brewery the special is an authentic Belgian amber coloured ale made from malt, hops, water and yeast, so no extra flavourings. In 2006 and 2008 it was awarded a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup. With outside temperatures way in excess of 30 degrees and an alcohol content of 5.5% vol. perhaps the refreshing beer I could do with.
In the glass it has a light copper colour with a white head. The aroma at the initial 5 degrees is light grain. As it warms a bit a sourish fruitiness and an increasingly farmyard element comes through.
The taste starts with some bitterness and then a sweet lemon sourness. The malt is minimal, more of a crisp dry grain. Overall the feel is crisp and a bit fizzy. The finish is short and dry.
Far too subdued for my liking; the promised hint of saison didn’t really materialise and although it was easy drinking it was not very special, at all. For a real saison try the Du Bocq.