Origin: Kortemark, West-Vlaanderen, Flanders
Date: 23 October 2000
Another review from the archive written for the pioneering Oxford Bottled Beer Database (OBBD). I’ve left it uncorrected — so please read it in that historical spirit.
The Louwaege brewery, founded in 1877, closed in 2002 when the founding family sold it to Alken-Maes; it has since been demolished and the site redeveloped as housing. Hapkin, from the nickname of an early 12th century Count of Flanders, Boudewijn VII, is the only brand to have survived, now brewed at Alken. Since 2008 it’s been part of the Heineken portfolio.
The ‘houtland’ or land of wood is a geographical region in the northeast of the province of West-Vlaanderen, so named for its extensive woodlands.
‘The blond beer from the land of wood’, announces the label of this bottle-conditioned Belgian strong blond ale, loosely in the Duvel style. It’s a much more straightforward proposition, however, than Moortgat’s finest, opting for a honeyed character rather than the dry, aromatic complexities of Duvel.
It has a thick, foaming long-lasting head, a delicate aroma of inviting Saaz hops and some estery nail-varnish hints, and a full, very honeyed, malt taste offset by a firm hop finish with grapefruit and a trace of lime. As strong and straightforward as you might expect from a place that prides itself on its wood.