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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.