We all know Belgium is famed for their high strength beers but traditional Belgian breweries are showing an increasing tendency to have a lower ABV offering in their range.
The ‘Speciale Belge’ style is said to have been introduced after the First World War, to offer drinkers an alternative to the Czech and German pilsners that were quickly taking over the beer market. They are the Belgian ‘session beers’ with flavour, the most commonly known examples would have been beers such as Dekoninck or Palm.
But more and more breweries are (re)introducing similar beers to the market, either in the style of a Speciale Belge or small Belgian Pale Ale.
This Witkap Pater Special Amber is just such a beer, and probably fits somewhere in between the two styles. It is darker in colour than a pale ale, so probably tends more to the Speciale Belge.
The malt body feels light in the mouth, despite the darker colour. The grainy malt offers just a hint of sweetness at the start. Belgian yeast flavours and aromas dominate, with the dry and light mouthfeel giving in to a pleasant earthy bitterness as the beer finishes.