Brand Spotlight: Duvel

The Duvel Brewery in Belgium. Translates to: “Shhhh… Here rests the devil.”

“Dit is een echte Duvel!”  Those were the first words out of a Belgian shoemaker’s mouth in 1923 after his first sip of what was then known as Moortgat Victory Ale. For those of you not fluent in Dutch, the shoemaker’s exclamation translates to, “This is a real devil!” From that point on, Victory Ale was simply known as the Dutch word for “devil”: Duvel.

Duvel is one of the few breweries in the world that can claim to have a history that predates electricity. It began in 1871 when Jan-Leonard Moortgat bought a brewery farm south of Antwerp. The beers he brewed on the farm soon became a big hit in the nearby town of Puurs and eventually became a favorite of the bourgeoisie in Brussels. By the turn of the century (by that we mean 1900; remember this brewery has been around for a LONG time), it was time for Jan-Leonard’s sons to take over the family business. Albert became the new brewmaster who would eventual create the recipe for the Duvel we all enjoy today, while Victor was put in charge of distribution.

The advent of the First World War brought a great deal of fear and destruction to the Belgian countryside but also brought a large contingent of British soldiers from across the English Channel. With them came their drink of choice, English Ales. As the fighting wound down and finally stopped, the victorious Brits began sharing pints with the liberated Belgians and the English Ale style quickly grew in popularity throughout Belgium.

One Belgian who was particularly taken with this new (at least to him) style of beer was Albert Moortgat who decided to create a special brew that would combine the traditional Belgian style with the English model. To do this, Albert wandered the British Isles searching for the perfect strain of yeast to brew his new beer. British brewers were skeptical of this foreigner, though, and most refused to help him. Finally, in 1918 he found the yeast he had been looking for in Scotland and returned home to create the beer that today we know as Duvel.

Each bottle of Duvel is the result of a 90-day brewing process that guarantees pure character, delicate effervescence and a pleasant, sweet taste of alcohol. The process begins with the barley germinating in the malt house for five days before adding a variety of aromatic Slovenian and Czech hops to add its typical bitterness. It then ferments for the first time in tanks at 20-26°C (68-79°F) and is then cooled in storage tanks to -2°C (28°F). After it’s cooled, the brew is ready to be bottled but it’s hardly ready for consumption. Extra sugar and yeast is added to each bottle and the beer undergoes a second fermentation in cellars kept at 24°C (75°F) for two weeks. The bottles are finally moved to cold cellars where they will mature for another six weeks before they are deemed worthy of consumption.

You can find Duvel along with Duvel Single and Duvel Tripel Hop at bars, restaurants, and retailers throughout the Buckeye State.

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