Belgian brewer Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan started life in 1856. Leon ‘Henri’ Maes (also referred to as Henri the First) started the brewery in Belgium’s capital city of Bruges, though their location has a history of beer brewing spanning over 500 years. ‘De Halve Maan’ translates to ‘The Half Moon’, and this symbol is used in much of the brewer’s branding and identity. The initial beer produced at the brewery was in the Belgian Blonde style, though where it differed from most was that it had a sour tang to it. Within a decade the brewery ownership had been handed down to Leon’s sons, who introduced English brewing techniques into their production methods. Unfortunately the brothers both met their demise early, and the business was continued by their wives. Fast forward to 2022, and the brewery is still in the family’s hands, having gone through six generations and four different ‘Henri’s.
It was in 2005 that the brewer released the beer they are most known for, Brugse Zot. Translating to ‘Bruges Fool’ the beer harks back to the first brew produced by Henri I – a Belgian Blonde with a sour edge. In 2018 the brewer released their first alcohol-free beer – Sport Zot – which uses Brugse Zot as a base beer, and then has it’s alcohol removed by reverse osmosis. It was also apparently the first non-alcoholic specialty beer released in Belgium. I can only assume they’ve used the ‘Sport’ moniker in a similar style to several other European non-alcoholic beers – marketing themselves as a ‘healthier’ option and using the isotonic properties of nolos as a selling point. Nevertheless, I’ve heard good things about this beer, and am eager to get it sampled. Bottle opener ahoy!
Upon opening the bottle the beer proves to be very lively, despite being sitting in my fridge for days beforehand. Luckily I had my glass to hand. The beer pours a cloudy golden colour, with visible streams of bubbles in the glass, and produces a huge foamy head, which sticks around and provides lacing all the way through the drink. The nose is very fresh, with brown sugar malt, peppery spice, and fruity green apple immediately discernible. It also reminds me of a wheat beer, though without the clove and banana.
The malt greets us on tasting, with a slight floral background note, whilst a sharp bitterness on the tip of your tongue rounds off the mouthful. It’s not unpleasant, but unexpected, with an almost vinegary sourness. This doesn’t linger, but is present in pretty much every sip. The mouthfeel is almost creamy and the body is light, and a bitterness creeps up as we continue drinking. The beer finishes with a short, sharp kick.
Sport Zot is certainly an interesting take on the Belgian blonde ale, though the sour edge may be off-putting for some people. I found the drinking experience to be pleasant with some enjoyable flavours, though I don’t think I’d immediately reach for a second bottle after the first is done with. Belgium continues to bring out fascinating non-alcoholic output.
Buy Sport Zot
Sport Zot is quite popular on the continent, though I’ve yet to see it or any other of Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan’s beers available in the UK. In this case your best bet for getting your hands on some bottles is to try online:
|Nutritional Information (per 100ml, taken from the side of the bottle)
|Water, Barley Malt, Hops, Yeast, Sugar
|Country of Production
|De Halve Maan – https://www.halvemaan.be/en
Sport Zot Non-Alcoholic Belgian Beer Review
Pretty authentic Belgian blonde ale with a sour edge that just might put people off.