As Leffe belongs to Anheuser-Busch Inbev, the world’s largest brewer, so Grimbergen belongs to Heineken, the world’s number three. It’s therfore not surprising to find these beers either draught or bottled outside of Belgium.
It shouldn’t have come as a suprise to find Grimbergen on offer in a pub in Gdansk, especially when Heineken have a 61% share of the number two player in Poland, Żywiec, which has a market share of more than a third. Big business when one considers the fact that last year thirsty Poles (and others visiting) consumed 38 million hectolitres of Polish beer.
After a week in Poland I’d helped this year’s statistics enough and hadn’t found anything other than drinkable – nothing remarkable – so I opted for a Grimbergen dubbel. At the equivalent of 2.90 Euro a bottle quite a snip.
Like Leffe brun, Grimbergen is a solid example of its type: deep reddish brown in colour, fruit and yeast on the nose which don’t disappoint with the tasting – ripe plums and figs with a hint of fresher fruits to follow and a nice bread yeasty touch. Just the right amount of bitterness.
The beer lost points for me because the sweetness was too upfront. If you tend towards relatively uncomplicated sweet dark beers give it a try, otherwise go for the stronger Maredsous 8 or, better still, a Westmalle dubbel.
Interestingly AB Inbev seemed to have ignored Poland so you’re much more likely to find Grimbergen than Leffe.
The day after renewing my acquaintance with Grimbergen dubbel I happened across something special with the name of Klobuk, an inspiring brown beer with the same 6,5% alc vol. Don’t go looking for this beer as you probably won’t find it unless you go to Masuria. As far as I can gather the beer is distributed in the region by the Hotel Castle Karnity.
In any case, if you ever see it , try it. You certainly won’t be disappointerd. I drank it from the bottle on a boat trip so I can’t say anything about the colour (brown) or head; the taste, however, left the Grimbergen behind; a malty sweetness to start followed closely by mocca and bitter chocolate giving a dry smoky feel ( very reminiscent of dark Bohemian beers), which slowly gave way to some fruit and a nice follow through. So good I ordered a second bottle.
Happy beer drinking!