NB: Article best enjoyed alongside a sip or two of quality Belgian beer. Preferably Duvel.
Refined flavour, distinctive hops, subtle bitterness – what more can you want from a multiple-award-winning, devilishly drinkable blonde Belgian beer? The answer, really, is not much at all. But where exactly did this fantastic beer come from? And what makes Duvel so special?
In this article, we’ll take a deep behind-the-scenes delve into the rich history of this budding beer. From humble beginnings to the definitive Belgian blonde beer we know today. Without further ado… Let’s raise a glass.
From 1871: Humble Beginnings
Originally conceptualised back in 1871 by Jan-Léonard Moortgat and his wife. The Moortgat Brewery Farm was among one of 3000 breweries in Belgium by the turn of the century. Experimenting daily through trial and error, Jan-Léonard’s eclectic brews were first enjoyed by the locals of the brewery’s hometown, Puurs, before making their way quickly into the glasses of the Brussels bourgeoisie.
Business began to boom, and the second generation of Moortgat brewers – Jan-Léonard’s two sons Albert and Victor – joined the company, who had their eyes set on continuing their father’s brewing success.
The 1900s: British Beery Influence
Enamoured and intrigued by the intricacies of British brewing, the Moortgat brothers took it upon themselves to undertake an odyssey across the UK in search of new techniques, and hops. But the British closely guarded their secrets, and were loathe to part with these close-knit techniques. That is, until the brothers found themselves in Scotland.
Flash forward to the end of World War I, and with the help of some Scottish yeast, Moortgat Brewery released their new flagship beer, ‘Victory Ale.’ The name wasn’t set to last, however, with an avid drinker and tipple connoisseur apparently describing the 8.5% ABV powerhouse as a “devil of a beer.” The Moortgat family soon changed the beer’s name to “Duvel” (meaning devil, in Flemish.) We’re not quite sure how true this is – but such wondrous tales do add a harmless bit of romanticism, no?
2000s and Beyond: The Duvel You Know
With 4 generations of the Moortgat family developing and investing in the brewing business, Duvel has seen over 149 years of development and originality, resulting in the fantastic beer you know today.
Winning multiple medals at the 2019 World Beer Awards including best beer in the ‘Pale Beer – Belgian Style Strong’ category, alongside claiming the ‘World’s Best Style Winner’ title, Duvel’s journey is certainly one replicated by it’s original title – ‘Victory Ale.’
And what a winner it is. The flagship beer is enjoyed across the world, and is often considered the definitive example of the blonde Belgian beer style. Hmm, is anyone else feeling thirsty?
Inspired by newfound knowledge and looking to purchase your very own Duvel? Take a look at our collection, including our gift sets that include this devilishly good beer. Treat yourself and raise a glass!