Kasteelbrouwerij De Dool would have to be one of the most picturesque breweries I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Located in the town of Houthalen-Helchteren, about a 45 minute drive east of Antwerp, the brewery and café are housed in a 16th Centure castle that sits on the bank of a small river. The woodland area around attracts many walkers, and sitting on the castle terrace enjoying a Ter Dolen beer induces a sense of peace.
The castle has a longer history dating back to 1282, but over the years and through a succession of conflict, the original building has been destroyed, rebuilt as what we can visit today. In recent times, the castle had fallen into disrepair until it was purchased by Mieke Desplenter in 1993, to be renovated as the brewery.
And it isn’t just the scenery that’s so good, the beers of Ter Dolen are very good as well. None more so than this Belgian blond.
Pouring a hazy golden colour, the aroma is an inviting mix of malt, fruit and typical Belgian yeast. Sweet at first with hints of bready malt, peach, banana and some citrus, a spicy yeast together with hop bitterness adds a grassy, herbal touch.
Good carbonation adds to the spicy finish, with a lingering bitterness that dries that sweetness out and invites the next sip.