Tasting Kerel India Pale Ale

As fans of the IPA style we are constantly looking for the best India Pale Ale Beers. Have we found a contender?

Kerel is a fairly new brand of Belgian craft beers. Or is it? On the website we find an interesting story at least.

The Original Verbeeck – Back brewery has indeed been around since 1867 but had been closed down in the mid-sixties. According to the website because ‘the family had other plans’ and the brewery dosed of for ‘a short nap’. Knowing what other substances were popular back then we have a pretty good idea what caused this break in operations.

In 2015 the family, now augmented with the ‘De Cock’ name decided to revive operations. Again, the website has some romantic reason for it: a single bottle of the old stock was found in some basement and was used to scientifically rediscover the original Kerel yeast DNA. Oh my.

You can read all about it on their website, where they also boast to have always been an artisan family owned brewery that never had to do anything with either big corporation or the Catholic Church. In fact, they proudly use the term ‘untouched by monks’ on their bottles. With what we know now about Catholic child abuse that certainly has some extra layers.

To honour their story and tradition, I dusted of Werner Van den Nouwelant to assist with this first brand-new taste note. We agreed we really liked the branding, marketing and packaging. Especially the shape of the bottles. They used to be a classic over here but got out of style in the late nineties. But did we like the beer?


Bitter yet fruity. Peach, marzipan, strawberry, gooseberry, cherry and caramel. Mind you, it’s not a Kriek, the cherry kind of lingers that’s all.


Bitter again, and a creamy texture. Weird for an IPA but it works. Probably because it also sparkles a bit. No, it’s not a Twilight Vampire. Vampires don’t sparkle, ask Lestat. Hops are more present, and the peach, gooseberry and strawberry are all still fairly prominent.


Still bitter, and it loses the fruity tones rather fast. Dries the mouth a bit, so it leaves you wanting more. Hops get more on the forefront, and in a good way.

Do we like this beer? No, we absolutely love it. This is one of the best IPA’s we’ve tasted, and we tasted quite a bunch. It’s close enough to the profile to be a proper IPA yet has a few tones that distinguish it from the bunch. And at a low strength of 4,5% it provides an unusual complex and tasty experience for an alcohol percentage this low.

And that makes us wonder … why the hell would anyone still want to drink normal lager (pils beer) when there is stuff that is so much better at this strength available.

This beer reminds me of: David Bowie

Loads of depth, and made more comebacks than humanly possible. Alien after all?

The data:

The beer: Kerel India Pale Ale
Released by: VBDCK
Alcohol percentage: 4,5%


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12 thoughts on “Tasting Kerel India Pale Ale

  • June 27, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Well, you definitely intrigued me and this is something I must try for myself. I enjoy a drink with creamy taste so this is a winner for me. can you point me where I can get it? Is it somehow possible to get it by shipment? I also like it has a low percentage of alcohol, great for celebrations.

    • June 27, 2019 at 12:40 pm

      Hey Daniel. If you can tell me where you live (country/city) I’ll try to find our where/if you can get it first. Import is always way more expensive.

  • June 27, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    One of the joys I have had in my life is to be able to taste the local beers wherever I have been fortunate enough to travel to, and I have been in 83 countries (so far). There are still many countries to visit if I am so lucky and if not I can say that I have had some really good (and some bad) beer in those places.

    One of my favorites when it comes to countries and beer is the country of Belgium. They have a huge variety and you could drink your way to paradise with no need for virgins, you will be too drunk and not care about them. This sounds like another one that I need to try (the beer not the virgins/paradise thing).

    The tasting of the Keral Pale Ale must have been another great experience, and I do hope that at some point we start seeing some images of the events, it would be really cool to see this in action (maybe a video too?). When I first read the title, I was thinking the tasting was going to be of an Indian Beer (Kerel/Kerela?).

    I will grab one (or more) of these the first time I see it in a bar somewhere, you have piqued my curiosity and I am sure I will enjoy it as much as you did!  Thanks for the tasting report, keep ’em coming, I still have a lot of places to go and try the beer, I want to know what NOT to miss!

    • June 27, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      That’s not a bad Idea, making a tasting video. I’m sure I can do one a bit later in the year, for now I’m still busy writing up stuff. And if you ever visit belgium do send me a mail I’ll buy you one of our beers 🙂

  • June 27, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    HI Dave,

    I’ve never been a big fan of IPAs, but with this review, I might give Kerel a try as I like a creamy textured beer.

    Can you tell me if it’s available in the UK?

    A thought – if any beer can be scientifically broken down to discover what ingredients were used, how do breweries protect themselves from being copied?

    I’m also curious as to the shape of the bottle. Maybe you could post a full view of it?



  • June 27, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    This is quite something for not only the taste buds but the nose sensors as well. I love the fruity smell of all those combined fruits. Makes me think it is one the fine wines.Glad that it has low alcohol levels as compared to regular bear.

    And just who is David Bowie? Let me do my research on that.

    This is a great review with great humor in it.

    Thank you.

    • June 27, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      You are very welcome. I’ts not wine or even fruit beer like kriek but it’s still very much present.

  • June 27, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Well, Dave, I must say that I have never tried Kerel Indian Pale Ale.  That’s probably because I don’t think it is sold here, in the United States.

    I have had Union Jack (7.5%), Rebel by Samuel Adams (6.5%), and Ranger (6.5%).  Out of the 3, I enjoy Union Jack the most with its tropical, piney hops and just a slight touch of citrus.

    I’m not really that much of a connoisseur, but, I do enjoy a change from my standard Budweiser, Heineken, and Sapporo at times.

    Have you ever tried South Korean beer?  Some of it can be strong enough to knock you down with just one or two bottles!



    • June 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      I had a few koreans (singa comes to mind) and quite a few USA beers. In fact I’m not a Belgian Beer snob (Ok maybe a bit still think we are the best) but I think the rest of the world in recent years has learned to make some damn good craft beers. Of the 3 you mentioned I had rebel once, but not at a place where I was able to write up tastenotes. I thought it was pretty decent thought. If you like I can check if it is available anywhere in the states.
      One that was a bit similar (and I have to get another bottle to write up taste notes) and from the USA is Rogue Brutal IPA from Rogue Brewery. Perhaps you can check them out, one of my beer buddies is absolutely raving about them.



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