Trollenkelder – Ghent, Belgium

I was given the opportunity to spend a couple days in Ghent, Belgium. Evenings found me wandering from pub to pub. By luck, I ran into a former local Tom. He showed me around the town and introduced me to a couple great watering holes. Pretty much every little drinking establishment here oozes coziness. My personal favorite was the Trollenkelder. They have about 8 beers on tap, and probably 100 bottles to choose from. Here are some notes on what I tried. As you may know from my writing, I’m not actually a fan of Trappist ales, but I do love two other local specialities: Wit (Blanche) and Lambic (Gueuze).

Celis Wit
5% ABV
This beer had a lightly yeasty nose. It was dryer than other wits I’ve had. There was just a hint of the orange, but it was almost lost in the yeast. Perhaps I detected a bit of coriander, but overall a very light flavor. The yeast lent its own fruitiness.

Blanche de Namur
4.5% ABV
The beer menu is dominated by trappist beers, so I was able to try pretty much every wit in town. By far my favorite was the Blanche de Namur. The bartender poured me a glass, giving the bottle a swirl to get a bit of the yeast into the glass. It had a wonderful nose full of coriander and orange. I was impressed by how much coriander there was on the palate – more than any wit I’ve had before.

Gueuze Fond Tradition
6.5% ABV
Fairly one sided, and with a slight metallic finish. Myleast favorite lambic so far.

Mort Subite Gueuze
4.5% ABV
Sour beers in the U.S. have become popular. I do like the sourness, but most tend to be a one trick pony. The lambics of Belgium are traditionally allowed to ferment from the natural yeasts in the environment. This means there can be some variability from month to month. But I find it lends complexity. The Mort Subite had very fruity rich notes. The sourness was just right, and was in harmony with the other flavors. This is certainly up there with the best sours I’ve tried.

Mort Subit Kriek
4% ABV
Take a nice sour gueuze and blend it with cheeries, and you get a kriek. Some ‘framoise’ beers are way too sweet for me. This one hit the balance between sweet fruit and sour beer perfectly. It was a bit more subtle than many krieks I’ve had. It was a pale pink in color, with a nice pinkish head.

About the Author

avatar Geoffrey hails from the U.S., but has lived in Germany, Sweden, India and China. In his many travels he has sought out the best drinks to be found. He's burned his fingers on cups of Madras filter coffee in India, and discovered the effects of Baijiu on body and soul in China. He has tended bar at both a pub and Biergarten in Germany. He is co-author of a forthcoming publication on Udipi Restaurants.