Open your eyes on a walk through Brussels and you’ll frequently see this beer, originally brewed in 1791 and named after its creator Pauwel Kwak, being drunk. The amber colour with a nice foam head looks good and could belong to many other beers but the traditional Kwak glass in its wooden stand, the so called coachman’s glass, will leave you in no doubt.
The story behind the strange glass: mail coaches stopped everyday at the ‘De Hoorn’ in Dendermonde but the thirsty coach driver was not allowed to leave his vehicle. The entrepreneurial landlord, Kwak, had a special glass made that could be hung in a wooden cradle by the driver’s seat.
Today Kwak belongs to Bosteels, a family brewery now in its seventh generation. The brewery is situated in the village of Buggenhout. The original whitewashed towerbrewery and family home with its magnificent salon are today listed buildings.
So what about the beer? As I said, it looks nice from a distance; up close the alcohol ( 8,4% alc. Vol) and maltiness come straight at you.
The first taste is the same – malt extract and barley sugar-slowly allowing a little bit of estery fruit to come through together with a slight sour tone and very light bitterness. Malt and grain husk in finish.
For me the beer was a bit plump; I enjoyed the La Botteresse ambree far more.
I drank my Kwak from a normal glass, but given the show element of the formed glass and wooden holder, the beer will continue to be a favourite in the bars and cafes of Brussels.