I'm confused. I picked up the Duvel Green mainly because I like Duvel, because I'd never seen it before, and because I'd read some positive comments about the draught version on the UK blogs. It was only really when I came to open it that I noticed it was in a teensy 25cl bottle (despite being a whole percentage point lighter than Duvel) and that it's filtered, pouring a very clear pale yellow. It doesn't come close to filling my Duvel glass, mostly because that characteristic thick Duvel head is totally absent. The taste is, unsurprisingly, quite a bit like Duvel, and that's a good thing. There's the same warm bitter fruitiness, but it seems sharper to me, more citric, and missing the full roundness that comes with yeast-infused Duvel. So I'm confused: can anyone tell me what the point of this bottled beer is?
While I'm on the subject of alternative versions, I was also confused by Captain Cooker White when I picked it out of my attic. Holding the bottle up to the light, the beer appeared completely clear -- not at all appropriate to a Belgian witbier. A few hours in the fridge took care of that with some classic chill haze, and the bottle conditioning left enough lees to keep the beer a cloudy yellow all during drinking, though also made uncapping a slow and careful procedure. I loved the original Captain Cooker -- made with tea tree leaves -- so what's the white one like? Not as good. The spicy flavours I expect in a Belgian wit are missing (no spices are listed in the ingredients, nor wheat, for that matter), so the medicinal manuka flavour rides roughshod over everything. There are traces of the sweet herby flavours I've enjoyed in other manuka beers, but not enough, and the rest of the flavour is by turns sour, gassy and hollow.
A disappointing evening on the Belgian beers then. Still, with the dreck cleared out of my attic, the rest must be gold.
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