22 September 2011

Come back Leffe, all is forgiven

I guess it was one of those "I'm leaving Sainsbury's and there's still a square inch of space in my trolley!" moments. I recall the items purchased on that excursion included a duvet, a toaster, a thing for poaching eggs in the microwave, and this: Sainsbury's Abbaye blonde. This was last October and the large bottle has languished in the back of my fridge ever since.

My enthusiasm for drinking it probably lasted less than the time it took me to wedge it in next to the tea towels, and as far as I can see it's no longer sold by Sainsbury's. The web tells me it's from the Saint Omer brewery in north east France which raises a question about the "Bière de Belgique" wording on the label. Can this be translated as "Belgian-style beer"? I dunno. Though it being French would explain the awfully clunky "Premium Continental Blonde" style designation. And does anyone still buy things because they're "Continental"?

Anyhoo, it's rubbish. Though a lovely shade of dark amber, its flavour is completely hollow, showing only the faintest hints of golden syrup right at the very back. I had been bracing for something horribly sticky, and its wateriness left me feeling somewhat short-changed. On the plus side it's very easy to put away, even at 5.6% ABV. The carbonation is low so it's actually quite refreshing.

But who wants a Belgian-style blonde that's refreshing?


  1. Leffe is a regular on offer & in Blighty this is often more expensive than Leffe.

  2. sounds like the 'Tesco Finest Wheat beer', drinkable but a basic 'lite' version of what they are supposed to be.

  3. Really? I thought Tesco wheat beer beer was out-there digusting.

  4. I actually really liked Tesco wheat beer. I thought it had a nice orange peel character.

  5. If you mean the Tesco wheat beer brewed by Huyghe then I quite liked it as a kind of cartoonish, overblown impression of Hoegaarden. Lots of orange and bubblegum. Wouldn't drink it every day but not bad.

    Probably doesn't deserve the oh-so artisanal, Taste the Difference, Simply the Best, Go On Treat Yourself luxury cork-and-cage packaging though.

  6. "But who wants a Belgian-style blonde that's refreshing?"

    Well, me, for one. And I can think of several... Zinnebir and Taras Boulba. Witkap Stimulo. Chimay Dorée. Westmalle Extra. Westvleteren Blond. A whole bunch of blonde-colored saisons on the lighter side.

    Though perhaps not as common as they ought to be.

  7. Hmm. Not sure I'd class the ones of those I've had as Belgian-style blondes, but probably precisely because they're that bit zingier.

    May have painted self into corner.

  8. Terrible label also, bad font, bad graphics, looks like some GCSE kids knocked it up for a project.
    was part of my review of the Tesco beer, and it was the Huyghe brewed one.

    BN - i see your review is from a while ago so perhaps they changed brewers since then?

    Back to the Sainsbury's one - i know i've had it but cannot even find a photo for it so perhaps i was not that bothered about it too!

  9. Could be, arn. It's a bit immaterial since Tesco Ireland stopped stocking it not long after I posted that review. Behold the awesome power of my blog!