Last week I went on a press trip to the De Brabandere Brewery in the town of Bavikhove, which sits in the west of Belgium a few minutes drive from the French border. It was only 10 a.m. when we arrived, but we were immediately presented with a small glass of its Bavik Super Pils. Topped with a healthy head of foam, those hop oils really shined through.
Outside of Belgium, De Brabandere is probably better known for its range of sour foederbeers—Aged Pale, for instance, which is aged in 220hL oak foeders for up to two years. Here in Bavikhove, though, Super Pils is far more popular.
And it’s distinctively more bitter than its Belgian counterparts such as Jupiler or Stella Artois thanks to the liberal amounts of Czech Saaz added to the boil. It’s nowhere near as aggressively bitter as a Czech Pils, of course, but it did provide the perfect vehicle for tuning our palates for the more complex beers that were yet to come on this trip.