Q: How do I rate Leffe?
A: Average Belgian beer produced by the world’s biggest brewer, AB Inbev. Something I drink at the airport lounge in Brussels in the absence of other Belgian beer.
With Leffe one normally thinks of the blonde and brune mass selling versions, these are certainly no more than middle of the road. But what about the other Leffe beers? I’ve chosen Radieuse, a strong dark ale.
It certainly lives up to its name in the glass; positively beaming when held up to the light. It’s filtered so the clear amber brown liquid really seems to radiate. Topped off with a thick ivory head; the beer is an eye catcher.
The aroma is not overpowering but pleasant; yeast and a sweetish malt with a light background fruitiness. The taste is interesting, malt with grape and a citrus twang followed by a slight sweetness and some bitterness with clove and a hint of coriander, which increases with time. The alcohol at 8,2% vol. is well hidden and the finish is medium.
I have to say I enjoyed this beer more than I thought I would and would certainly drink it again. It hangs well together and is much better than the normal brune/blonde beers. How does it shape up against other Belgian Strong dark ales? Not as good as a Delirium Nocturnum, for instance, but certainly well above average.
For the record, in its heyday in the mid 18th century the head brewer apparently made a Leffe beer that was so delicious that the parishioners preferred to drink it rather than attend church on Sunday. No great suprise, there, but the abbot who employed the lay brewer felt he had to take forceful action. What this was is anybody’s guess, but the Leffe beer drinking habit obviously persisted, at least until the demise of the abbey at the time of the French Revolution. The thirsty parishioners then had a long wait until beer production was finally resumed in 1929.
Happy beer drinking!