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Apr 3, 2007 10:41 PM

What's been more available in US, Corsendonck Brown Ale, or Corsendonck Pale Ale?

Maybe it's been one of those things - blind spots, or when you just don't see what's been under your nose day in and day out, until suddenly you see it as never before...

But, the question is, has there always been the two kinds of Corsendonck all along? I saw them tonight as they stood side by side, in identical bottles, with different bottle neck wraps. The Pale Ale is described as being in the triple style, and the Brown Ale is described as in the dubbel style....There weren't any small bottles for me to check, so now I'm just curious as to whether they're just more common now in the stores here, and also, are they drastically different from each other?

Really, I'm pretty sure I've always read the whole bottle before (a habit) whenever I had Crosendonck. I've never known there were these two different ales.

Someone care to enlighten me?

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  1. I can't speak to their availability in NYC, but I know they've both been available here in Boston for at least five years, probably much longer. I see them around at most places with a better-than-average selection. Occasionally, one even comes across the Corsendonk Christmas Ale in the winter, which is a superb holiday beer. I don't often see them in the four-packs of little bottles; rather they're generally offered in the 750 ml bottles, and infrequently on draft.

    1. They've both been around for as long as I can remember, but, given the design of the labels, they are tough to distinguish from afar, and I'm sure that many stores or stockers might "mix" them by accident. IIRC, the two beers are (or were) brewed by two different breweries- and go by different names in different countries, as well as a few other beers in their line-up (including the already mentioned Christmas Ale). "Corsendonk" being a marketing company.

      5 Replies
      1. re: JessKidden

        According to their site, the Corsendonk beers are all brewed in the same brewery. I am not sure exactly how the Blonde/Bruin differ from the Agnus/Pater, aside from the former pair not being bottle-conditioned (draft only, perhaps?).

        I'd really like to try their cheese some day.

        1. re: braineater

          Wasn't sure if it was still the case or not- Jackson's books (Pocket Guide and Belgian book) in the 90's said the Dark was from "Bios" and the Pale from "DuBocq".

          1. re: braineater

            On the back of both these 750 ml. bottles mentioned (besides describing the taste overtones) them being bottle-conditions...but all in English. No Blonde/Bruin or Agnus/Pater, just pale/brown. Now I'm sorry I didn't take them home with me so I can see exactly what's on them.

            I am just wondering what that first Corsendonck I had, maybe 6,7 years ago , that tasted so complex and delicious actually was. It was one that was way over the expiration date, and that our resident beer expert Jim Dorsch or was it Big Dog (?) had encouraged me to go ahead (essentially saying it won't kill me, go ahead)...

            1. re: HLing

              Corsendonk Agnus is the Belgian name for Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale, and Corsendonk Pater is the same for Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale. I imagine the pale/brown nomenclature was devised to appeal more to those who need some base point of reference, though neither is anything like the pale ales or brown ales with which most US consumers are likely familiar. I'm not sure if the small (11.2-ounce) bottles sold in 4-packs are bottle-conditioned or not, but the large bottles certainly are.

              1. re: braineater

                ah..thanks for that info about the Belgian's "Pale/Brown" being not necessarily like what we know as Pale or Brown Ale here in the US. I think that was what confused me the most when I saw it on the bottle. I wish they hadn't done that..very disorienting for people like me who already got too much info to juggle and not enough real drinking opportunities to validate the info....and on that note, I'll remember to save up so i can buy both of those Corsendonck Ales and do my homework.

        2. I see the Blonde more often on bar menus - and once ordered a 5 liter bottle with friends at the Brickskeller in DC.

          Retail it seems a place will have both if they have one.

          1. I first discovered Corsendonk probably 10 years ago. My local wineshop stocked both the Brown and the Pale in 750 ml bottles and they were a tasty find. I like them both.

            1. I live in the West Valley in Phoenix about half the year and in NYC the other half..........
              I've come across it more so in PHX, with both being readily available.......In NYC,
              not as strong a beer market as you may think, it is much more difficult to find almost
              anywhere.........another Belgium label worthy of seeking is from Br. Caracole...........
              a little softer and not as "malty and spicy" as Corsendonk........"Nostrodamus" is
              their "brown" and one of my favorites..............IMHO.........

              1 Reply
              1. re: jonathon

                Before moving to the Czech Republic, I lived on Long Island, NY, and I can remember a few beer distributors in Nassau County which carried both the Pale and the Brown. And that was 6 years ago. Places like Franks Beer and Soda in Glen Cove, and Glen Cove Beer Distributors, also in Glen Cove.
                If you are on Long Island and love Belgian beers, make sure to stop at WATERZOOI in Garden City. If I am not mistaken, they used to have 20 Belgians on tap, and over 100 different bottles. Very, very tasty mussels, too...