Duvel is a strong Belgian pale ale brewed by the Moortgat brewery in Belgium, whose products include a line of abbey beers under the Maredsous label, a ‘Tripel Hop’ version of Duvel, as well aquisitions from several American craft brewers still under their own label, including products from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. This craft brewer in particular is a favorite of mine, and will be covered in the future. Founded in 1871, this brewery has remained in family ownership to this day.
Duvel lands at a respectable 8.5% ABV, and is a clear golden bottle re-fermented ale that is well carbonated and produces a thick white head. Best served in its own tulip glass, which I love using for other strong Belgian ales as well, this beer hides its alcohol content well, and has a clean, fruity, and peppery taste.
The beer began as Victory Ale, meant to commemorate the end of World War I. During this time, the Belgian’s were exposed to the very popular English ales of the day. The brewery’s founder’s son was inspired by this style, and traveled to the UK after the war to obtain ingredients to make a beer in this style. He finally was able to procure a yeast sample from a Scottish brewery, and it is this strain that is still used to this date in the creation of Duvel. After Victory Ale began to be produced, it is said that during tasting session for notable locals in the early 1920s, a particularly avid fan of the beer (who happened to be a shoemaker) described it as “nen echten duvel”, which translates to ‘a real devil’ in a Dutch dialect. The name was eventually changed to Duvel, and is Moortgat’s primary (flagship) beer.
Sold in the US in 750ml large bottles, as well as smaller stubby 11.2 oz bottles in 4-packs or solo.
Of interesting note is that Moortgat claims to have invented the tulip shaped beer glass in its specialty Duvel glass, introduced in the late 1960s. I can find no information to the contrary, so cheers to this brewery for such a great innovation.