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Some beers for Halloween

If you don't fancy pumpkin beers this year, here are two Belgian-tinged brews for Halloween:

Maudite, from Canada: the names means "Damned" in French. The beer is made by Unibroue, of Chambly, near Montreal. An 1890s Quebecois story by Honoré Beaugrand, a Faustian variation on voyages of the damned, is illustrated on the label. Maudite is a darkish, strong (8.0 per cent abv) ale: fruity, spiced and dry (orange peels, coriander, pepper?). Hugely flavoursome. (adapted from Michael Jackson's new book The Great Beer Guide: see Publications.)

"Beelzebub" is from the Ancient Greek and Hebrew for the Devil, or his alternate the "Lord of the Flies". Beelzebub protected his followers from flies, but he derived his name from Baal, an early Semitic god of fertility. He is graphically shown on the label of Belzebuth, a newish brew from a brewery with the combustible name Jeanne d'Arc, founded by a family called Van Damme (sound appropriate?) in 1989, in Ronchin, near Lille, in Northern France. This immensely strong beer (15 per cent alcohol by volume) is said to be all-malt (i.e. not to contain other sugars). It is smooth, almost fluffy, starting candyish, with peppery alcohol flavours perhaps contributing to a spicy, surprising dryness. Less thick than might be expected at its strength, but very heady. (Adapted from Michael Jackson's new book The Great Beer Guide: see Publications.)

Tasted in Britain over the years:

Black Magic Stout: A mere 4.5 per cent, but with a rich, smooth, smoky dryness. From the Oakhill Brewery, near Bath. Somerset.

Bloody Hell Fire: A chocolatey strong (6.0 per cent) draught. From the Barnfield Brewery, of Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Bodysnatcher: "No more bodies?" asks the text on the pump-clip of this draught ale, in a sideswipe at the cream of Manchester. This is a more flavoursome, malty, ale, quite big-bodied for its 4.4 per cent. Made specially for Halloween, by the B and T Brewery, of Shefford, Bedfordshire

Devil's Water: A malty, sweetish, complex, ale of 4.1 per cent. From the Brooker family brewery, of Hexham, Northumberland.

Gravedigger: A nutty Mild ale, with plenty of body for a mere 3.8 per cent. From the appropriately-named Church End Brewery, of Shustoke, Warwickshire.

Hobgoblin: a medium-strong (5.5) ale, with suggestions of brown sugar in its flavours. From the Wychwood Brewery, of Witney, Oxfordshire.

Old Devil: a malty but well-balanced brew of 4.7, with a fruity dryess in the finish. Also from Wychwood.

Old Nick: at 7.2, a warming barley wine, with a suggestion of banana liqueur, from Young's, of London.

Pendle Witches' Brew: a modest 5.0 per cent, but with an intoxicating character behind its fruity (strawberryish?) innocence. Named after the witches that allegedly haunted Pendle Hill, near the Moorhouse's Brewery, at Burnley, Lancashire.

Wizard's Wonder: a darkish, dry, fruity, Bitter made for Halloween. From the Coach House Brewery, of Warrington, Cheshire. (These notes appeared in a slightly different form in The Independent, in October, 1998).

For more about Halloween related brews, see In search of the Witches' Brew

Published: OCT 29, 2000
In: Beer Hunter Online

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