Beer: Duvel Green, on draft
Style: Belgian Pale
POP: Witts, Chicago, IL
Trivia! Wednesday night is pub trivia night at Witts, where a couple friends and I have been making occasional efforts in brain power. The regulars include a new beer student prodigy, who, I’m proud to say, has graduated from downing Bud Light to loving porters. Porters! Call me Obi Wan. The student has become the teacher. Or something.
I had seen Duvel Green a couple of places, but have initially been skeptical. I like Duvel, but sometimes I just have to be in the right mood for it. Our refreshingly knowledgeable server described it as “green…as in new or fresh”: fresh hopped and single-fermented, unlike the double-fermented bottle conditioned Duvel of old. Of course, a single-fermented and cold-filtered beer is going to be more clean and crisp than a normal bottle of Duvel. Considering it was a perfect summer evening and we were outside, this sounded like an absolute winner.
And my goodness it was. For as many “summer ales” or whatever that are out there, this one actually delivers. Poured into a specialty Duvel Green tulip glass, it presents a huge, frothy white head atop a transparent bright gold liquid, much like we’re used to with the original. The first smell and sip reminds you that this is very much a Duvel product – crisp, lively carbonation, distinguishable yeast flavor – but better. The dry finish makes Duvel Green stand out from the original. This beer only presents a minimal aftertaste of very mild hops that can kind of be described as “grassy,” sticking with the “green” concept. Plus, at 6.8% ABV, this makes for a very sessionable summer beer.
Duvel USA’s Sommelier gives an even better comparison here at GreatBrewers.com. But I do have to ask: When are they going to stop using “Sommelier” and pick up the properly named, beer-specific “Cicerone” title? This distinction needs to gain acceptance, and it needs to come from brewers like Duvel.
Two things regarding our server at Witts: First, dear server, your description was spot-on perfect and not full of useless adjectives (which us beer people, this writer included, are known to do). Second, thank you for pronouncing it “DOO-vull”, not “doo-VELL” like so many wannabes. I know Witts doesn’t get street cred for being a beer bar due to its limited number of taps and location nowhere near the über-hip Blue Line neighborhoods, but this spot is a gem for those of us in the neighborhood.