The ‘Ardennes’ part in this beer’s name refers to a yeast named for the Ardennes region of Belgium and is thus known for its suitability for a variety of Belgian style beers. The way they use it at Staves is by fermenting it at a reasonably warm temperature which has the effect of helping promoting the yeast’s esters and phenols (in other words, making it smell both fruity and a little spicy). Because it’s made with pale malt and a good dose of oats, all the aromatics sit on top of a base that’s very light in colour and has a slightly creamy feeling. Despite the low level of alcohol – the sweet spot is around 4.2 percent ABV – there’s a lot of complexity to this beer, and that’s all down to our friend Ardennes. They figure they'd probably sell a lot more of it if they called it a Belgian pale ale, a Belgian table beer or pretty much anything that didn't have that weird word ‘Ardennes’ in the title. But it’s such a critical part of what the beer is that it would seem sacrilegious to leave it out. You’re free to call it what you will. We’d call it delicious.
- Blonde Ale