Den Anker Kwak Spring Special

Den Anker at the V&A Waterfront

Celebrate Spring Belgian style

Yesterday, The Beer Garden SA was invited to celebrate Spring at Den Anker in the sunshine at the V&A Waterfront. There are a whole number of Spring specials on the go at the Waterfront over the coming weeks, but a beer taster is right up our alley and we couldn’t have picked a better day for it.

Pauwel Kwak at Den Anker

Tipsy trio

Den Anker is well-known for its wide range of Belgian Ales & Lagers and their beer menu boasts some amazing brews. We were there to enjoy the Pauwel Kwak, an 8.4% amber ale from the Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium.

Apart from the flavour which I’ll detail in a moment, the most exciting aspect of its presentation is the traditional glass in which it is served.

Bosteels Brewery since 1791

Brewing since 1791

It starts as a flute with a stem that narrows and ends a bulbous bottom that is held upright by a distinctive wooden stand. There is some history to the shape, it is said that brewer and inn-keeper Pauwel Kwak came up with the unique design to allow 19th century coach drivers to enjoy an ale (or two) while riding their coaches, as their hands were often busy with the reigns, so this glass could easily be hung on the driver’s seat (The first hands free kit?). But as Pauwel Kwak was brewed for the first time in the 1980’s, let’s not get too carried away with history.

Hand over your left shoe to enjoy a Kwak

Shoeless and fancy free

Before one is allowed to savour a Kwak at Den Anker, you have to hand over your left shoe which is whisked away on a tray and stored in a hanging-basket for safe keeping. This Belgian tradition is enforced (no shoe, no Kwak) as the glass and stand are pretty expensive and everyone notices a one-shoed thief if you are able to make a run for it. That and the fact that you won’t be running in a straight stripe!

Putting it where it belongs - enjoying a Pauwel Kwak

Putting it where it belongs

The Pauwel Kwak is a delicious ale with a fair amount of kick. At 8.4% one does taste the alcohol, but it is well camouflaged under a very smooth, fruity brew. The glass provides a lovely creamy head which remains well into the bowl of the glass, and unlike the classic Belgian beaut Duvel, isn’t too heavily carbonated so one isn’t left with a bloated feeling after. We were told that another reason for the name is the ‘kwak’ sound that you hear as your glass empties and  the beer rushes towards your lips from the bulb on your last few sips, but I was too worried that we were nearing the end of it to take too much notice.

Kwak Spring spot prize

Enjoy it at home!

So why were we invited? Den Anker is running a Spring Special on their Kwak until the 1st of November 2012. Enter their draw and you could walk away with a R500 meal voucher to spend at the restaurant, while one lucky draw winner will walk (or stumble) away with a stunning Kwak gift-pack of 4 beers and the glass with stand valued at R300.

Lenny loving a Kwak at Den Anker

Quaffing a Kwak

So clear your schedule for the afternoon and arrange a designated driver. Apart from the Kwak there are many other brews to savour (Liefmans Fruitesse on tap, the La Chouffe Blond, a Westmalle Triple at 9.5% and the Trappist Chimay Bleue) but they won’t win you the draw! And if you don’t win it’s not like you’ve lost, because Den Anker still boasts one of the most spectacular views of Table Mountain in the city, and with a good brew that can only mean pleasure! Enjoy.



Filed under Beer Office

2 responses to “Den Anker Kwak Spring Special

  1. Frans van den Berg

    Het glas en de naam
    In de tijd van Napoleon was brouwer Pauwel Kwak uitbater van koetsiersherberg De Hoorn in Dendermonde. Omdat de koetsiers hun koets niet in de steek mochten laten, liet Kwak een speciaal glas maken met een bolle onderkant, die in een houten houder hangt. Die houder werd bevestigd aan de koets. Door de vergrote bolle onderkant kon het glas ook niet omvallen tijdens de rit, het glas bleef namelijk altijd rechtop hangen. De koetsiers konden op die manier hun glas veilig bij de hand houden. Het voetje om de houder neer te zetten werd er later aan toegevoegd. Een dergelijk glas noemt men daarom ook wel een koetsiersglas. Kwak was niet de werkelijke achternaam van de brouwer. Door zijn gezette postuur werd hij Kwak genoemd. Sommige mensen beweren dat de naam Kwak komt van de vorm van het glas. Als de laatste slok bier onvoorzichtig uit het speciale glas wordt gedronken zou het geluid “kwak” hoorbaar zijn en de inhoud van de bol zou over je kleding gulpen.

    • Rouvanne

      Thanks to my dad for leaving a pretty cool explanation he found to the shape of the Kwak glass – and I’ll translate:
      “The Name of the Glass
      In the time of Napoleon Pauwel Kwak was the host of the coach hostel De Hoorn in Dendermonde. Because the Coach Drivers weren’t allowed to leave their coaches unattended, Kwak designed and had a special glass blown for them with a bulbous bottom that hung in a wooden holder. The holder was attached to the coach. Because the large bulbous bottom (sounds like some people I know – not in translation) the glass wouldn’t fall over during a trip and would always remain upright. Because of this the coach drivers were always able to keep their glasses safe. The foot of the wooden pedestal was only a later addition. This is why the glass is known as the coachman’s glass. Pauwel’s surname wasn’t really Kwak, but was given to him due to his bad posture. Some people claim that the name Kwak originates from the sound that the glass produces when you tilt the glass up to take the last sip and most of the beer ends up over your clothing.”
      But as I said, when you’re getting to the end of your Kwak it’s not so much the noise that is distracting but rather that you’ve reached the end of a wonderful beer! (Thanks Pa!)

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