Yes, yes. I know. In a country so rich in brewing tradition, creating such top quality artisan beers, I shouldn't stoop to the McBelgian mediocrity of InBev-owned Leffe. But occasionally one has no choice. And very occasionally there's something one hasn't tried before. And so, to get it out of the way before I move on, here's my Leffe round-up.
I skipped the sweet sticky Blonde on this trip, so I start with Leffe Brune. This is a deep brown ale, tasting vaguely of chocolate, but ultimately lacking any real distinctive flavour. Slightly more flavoursome is Leffe Radieuse: a malty red; alcoholic and bitter, but still a bit bland at the end of it. My new find was Leffe 9°, a 9% ABV dark ale bearing a royal blue stripe on the label. It tastes heavily alcoholic with a rather chewy texture, and is perhaps the only member of the family that stands up for itself.
Ultimately, the Leffe beers really are pale imitations of the better Belgian ales, and the Trappists in particular. Still, I was impressed by Leffe 9° so I'm not going to write them off completely. When stranded in lagerland they can be a lifesaver.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
2 weeks ago