Name: Pauwel Kwak
Brewery: Brouwerij Bosteels
Country of Origin: Belgium
City & State: Buggenhout, Belgium
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 8%
First Brewed: ca. 1980s
Carmel or toffee are likely the flavors that first-tasters will take away from this beer, but closer contemplation revels much more – from a toasty, earthy aroma to notes of orange and spice in the body and a lengthy, drying finish. Would rejuvenate even the weariest coach driver.
I have seen this bottle time and time again, but have no idea what it tastes like. I have always been hesitant to buy this because of the price and the size of the bottle. For $4.99, this better be good! But it’s not the beer that I remember, it’s the glass. Glassware is SO important when it comes to enjoying craft beer, but they admit their glass is all about marketing. We don’t have a lot of different glasses here, but I always like to use one with a wide mouth. I like sticking my nose deep in the glass and letting the beer breathe a little.
I like Belgian beers, so I am excited to experience Kwak. (Duck?) Ha!
In the Glass: The beer is a little darker than most pale ales, but this is a Belgian pale. Just think of what a Belgian IPA tastes like… nothing like an American IPA. I honestly can’t recall the last Belgian pale I had… but I just keep going back to the name. The label on this bottle is pretty cool, too. Maybe I should start discussing the label (or bottle) for every beer we drink. I already do what the bottle says… I will think on that.
Nose: Just like with a Belgian IPA, there are no hops on the nose. I mean, NOTHING. The aroma is somewhat sweet, with a nice fluffy and yeasty aroma. More yeast than expected, that’s for sure. It is cold, so maybe the aroma will develop as the beer heats up. But it smells fun… if that makes sense. Let’s drink Kwak!
Flavor: The flavor, at first, is boring. There is nothing on the front of the palate. Then the bubbles kick in, some subtle sweetness picks up toward the back of the palate, and the finish is quick. How is this beer popular? This beer is boring! It is too carbonated for my liking. As I swish this around to get more from the flavor, and to heat the beer up a little, some additional flavors come out. The bubbles are overwhelming when I do this, but some typical Belgian characteristics begin to become obvious. Still, even when swishing it around, I am not impressed with the overall flavor.
Mouthfeel: The first thing you experience are bubbles. Then you get some sweetness going on, leading to a horrible finish. Only when I toss this around in my mouth is there a lasting aftertaste, but by lasting I mean here and gone again in a matter of seconds. Just drinking this, you might as well be drinking Bud Light. Yeah, I said it! I wouldn’t order a Bud Light, but I also wouldn’t pay $4.99 for a bottle of this again.
Aftertaste: What aftertaste? There really isn’t one. What does linger is a subtle dryness… almost tastes like cardboard. I am sure this would be a good beer to pair with food, maybe some old stinky cheeses, but this is not something I am going to order when hanging out with friends.
Kwak, I am sad you aren’t better than this. Maybe it’s because I didn’t drink from the traditional Kwak glass. I will post a photo of the Kwak glass on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see what that looks like. Oh well… can’t enjoy them all! By the way, if Brouwerij Bosteels wants to reimburse me, that would be fine.
Pauwel Kwak – The bottle says: “KWAK. Full-bodied Belgian Speciality Ale. Amber in color with beautiful foam and slightly sweet, seductive malt character. Rich, satisfying Belgian Ale experience.”
Ricky looked at me funny when I called this the “duck beer”. It’s called Kwak. We are both assuming that is pronounced “quack”, which is why I am calling it the duck beer. I just looked this beer up , and apparently it is Belgian and by the same brewery that makes Tripel Karmeliet, a good beer that’s a favorite of our friend Jeremy. So hopefully it will be good! Time to see.
I can say this beer smells pretty good. I got a whiff of it as I picked it up. To me, it smells like cinnamon. I think that’s the best way to describe it, at least the smell that I get from it. Smells pretty good! The beer had a lot of head when we Ricky poured it out into the glass, but it has since dissipated pretty well. The color is kind of a reddish-brown color with little bubbles floating to the top. It’s not too thick-looking, and you can see through the glass pretty easily. Let’s find out how it tastes.
Wow. This beer has a lot of flavor. It tastes like cinnamon a bit, actually. It’s got a little bit of a carbonated feel to it – I can feel some bubbles on my tongue, even after swallowing. I really like it! I wish it came in a bigger bottle. The second sip wasn’t quite as powerfully flavorful as the first, but I definitely like this beer. I researched it a little more, and found out it has a special glass to be served in. You can see a picture of it here. Ricky says it’s a marketing ploy, but Wikipedia tells this about the glass: “While drinking from the glass, the bulb at the bottom will remain filled for a relatively long time. As soon as air reaches the still-filled bulb, a large amount of beer will gush towards the drinker. This is accompanied by a characteristic sound which sounds like Kwak spoken quickly.” I literally laughed out loud when I read this. I like it. That’s just fun! Now I want to try it.
At any rate, this is a pretty good beer. I’d buy it again if it wasn’t so expensive! Ricky said it’s $5 a bottle. I might have to grab one some time anyway.