St Stefanus brings Grand Cru to UK

Miller Brands (UK) has expanded its range of Belgian Abbey beers from St Stefanus with the UK launch of Grand Cru, a smooth, well-balanced beer that is matured in the cellar for at least nine months.

Available in a 75cl bottle, it has nine per cent ABV and follows the traditional recipe of a “tripel” brew, adding depth and complexity to its taste and aroma. It is crafted to mature in the bottle and can still be enjoyed after three years.

It builds on the success of the unpasteurised, high-fermented seven per cent ABV St Stefanus Blonde, introduced last year.

Sam Rhodes, director of customer marketing at Miller Brands, said: “There is a rising trend for craft and speciality beers as they provide something unique for the consumer. St Stefanus Grand Cru is aimed at consumers who are enthusiastic about speciality beer and are looking for different taste experiences without compromising on authenticity, flavour or quality.

“By stocking more authentic and quality beers, outlets and retailers can encourage consumers to trade up and maximise profits.”

He added that Belgian beers offered a particularly good opportunity for trading up and increasing profits as they commanded an average 59 per cent price premium in the on-trade over the average bottled lager, according to CGA figures.

Each bottle of St Stefanus is signed by Jef Versele, the master brewer, and also features the release date, so consumers can choose the beer’s age and consume it at the preferred taste.

After nine months, the Grand Cru has already matured to a light, hazy gold with a sweet aroma of zesty grapefruit, lime and herby notes. On the palate, it is less sweet than the Blonde, with flavours of peach, banana, pineapple and pawpaw and finishing with a drying bitterness.

However, Jef said that the beer, added to the St Stefanus range in the early 1990s, could be enjoyed after 36 months, when it has matured into a rich, dry flavour with a champagne-like character.

St Stefanus beers are promoted for serving at the bar in two ways: the “clear” serve leaves yeast in about a finger’s width of beer in the bottom of the bottle, while the “cloudy” serve means that, after two-thirds of the beer has been poured into the glass, it should be given a swirl to mix the yeast into the remainder of the liquid.

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