Westmalle Dubbel 75cl (Sharing Bottle)
It was Prior Alexius who, at the start of the 19th-century, decided to motivate the Westmalle brothers with his so-called 'liquid sandwiches'. Every single morning he would offer breakfast accompanied by two glasses of beer – which, by the way, contravened the order’s strict rules. But from 1836 onwards, the monks were allowed to partake of regional drinks – and so indulge in this popular local beverage.
So this was how beer became part of the menu for Westmalle's monks, many of whom came initially from France. That first brewery was built in 1836, and in the same year the first dark, sweet high-fermentation brew flowed out of the kettle. To complement this brown table beer, an even darker Trappist beer was created in 1856. This was to be the fore-runner of the current Westmalle Dubbel, which officially arrived in 1926.
At the time of its creation, it was instantly known as the heaviest beer in Belgium – and again Westmalle became a point of reference for this particular beer-style. The phrase ‘dubbel’ was initially used to imply the much larger amount of ingredients being used. Nowadays, a Dubbel is considered a heavy, dark beer which can be either sweet or bitter.
The Westmalle Dubbel is just such a well-balanced beer, full in the mouth, both herbal and fruity. Its initial sweet taste blends into a mild finish with bitter hops. The Westmalle Dubbel is now being served, freshly poured, in around three hundred cafés and restaurants. A point to note on this, though: on tap, the Dubbel has a slightly sweeter taste, when compared to the bottled variety.
Coming out from beneath that coffee-coloured froth, you can pick up aromas of banana and chocolate, as well as touches of herbs (vanilla, aniseed), but without the bitter hint of roast malt. The mouth enjoys impressions of milk chocolate and mild espresso, followed by the sweet fruitiness of alcohol, all of which is, finally, rounded off by bitter-yet-elegant touches of hops. The finish offers a taste of slightly bitter chicory.