FABPOW: Beetroot Soup and St Stefanus Blonde

@beersiveknown  Food and Beer Pairing of the Week (another Mark Dredge Creation)
 A few months ago a group of bloggers were invited for an all expenses trip to the Brouwerij Van Steenberge in Belgium for the the UK relaunch of their beer. Badged as St Stefanus (@StStefanus) instead of Augustijn the artwork and bottle underwent a redesign. Upon their return they received a glass and two bottles of beer through the post, as did some other bloggers who didn't attend. A whole host of reviews left me salivating to try it; so I cheekily asked if they had any sample packs left. A few weeks later and I'm sat with the package on my coffee table.

The bottle shows the
expected flavour changes over time
As others have mentioned its well put together, a snazzy box replete with carboard holder for two bottles of beer and an attractive stemmed glass. Theres also some beer mats and a bit of the info behind the beer. The bottle as you can see is stylish, with info about how the flavour profile changes over time and a colourful cap. All the bottles are aged for three months before release, so my bottle dated november 2011 is 6months old on tasting. I'll keep the second for another six to see how it changes.

Glorious golden beer with thick head
and attractive glass.
The beer pours an attractive ever so slightly hazy blonde with half inch dense white head that lingers. Slightly dusty with banana esters on the nose it's highly carbonated and full of fruity yeast notes. Fairly sweet without being cloying as some can and a good robust body. It finishes with a spicy earthy bitterness.
Its a long lasting finish and a sipping beer, despite the alcohol being hidden. A very enjoyable beer, its reminded me that I need to get back to Belgian beers this year after a few years off. I'd be keen to try some of the rest of their range, especially if I can find them to drink at home.

Beetroot soup with beer bread
Its still cold so I was after a soup again. I had a great beetroot soup starter on cheese school so decided to try it out myself. The fact that I found some reduced fresh beetroot at the shops sealed the deal. I looked up a recipe online and added some English goats cheese instead of feta plus a good pinch of chilli flakes. (Caution: grating beetroot leads to purple hands!) Served with home made beer bread its great on its own but with the spicy fruitiness of the beer the sweet and earthy flavours of the beetroot and sweet oven-roasted tomatoes. Those sweet goaty flavours with a hint of pepper are really allowed to shine through too, the carbonation scrubbing the tongue to refresh the palate.

A glance at the ever-reliable Brewmaster's table suggests that I'm not the first to pair a Belgian with beetroto, though actually it appears wheat beers are a more common choice. I can certainly see that working with this dish too, as goats cheese and wheat beer (especially weiss) goes very nicely together too.
Other beers to try: Bristol beer Factory Weisse, Thornbridge Weisse Versa, Schneider Weisse, Duvel, Piraat.


  1. Sounds like a cracking beer, d'you have a link to the soup recipe?

  2. I thought I'd linked it in! Wonder what happened to it!

    1. Probably Blogger gremlins. My reader refuses to follow Broadfordbrewer and Boak & Bailey... Weirdness.