Monday, April 7, 2008

Beer of the Weekend

Being that there was no Beer of the Week last Friday, we have to make it up to you loyal readers with a beer of exceptional quality from this weekend. To do so, I reached once again into the Belgian section of the local liquor depot and pulled out a selection that is both delicious and easily attainable.

Located in the town of Dinant, the Leffe Abbey was founded by the Premonstratensian Fathers in 1152 and was originally named the Abbey of Notre-Dame. The Fathers changed the name of the Abbey in 1200, drawing the name from the river near which the Abbey sits.

The monks have brewed ales on this site at least as far back as 1240, the date of the first written record mentioning the brewing activities. The brewing operations continued unabated until 1789, when French revolutionaries declared the Abbey property of the state. Although the Abbey was sold off here and there, brewing mangaged to continue on site until 1809.

After years of scraping by selling ink, incense and other trinkets, Father Abbot Nys met with brewer Albert Lootvoet and decided to restart the Abbey's brewing operation in 1952. Although since acquired by international brewing giant InBev, the Abbey still receives royalty payments for their famous brews.

Our BOTWE is probably the most easily procured of the Leffe portfolio, Leffe Blond.

The Blond pours a light Amber-Orange color with a nice tight white head. The smell is yeasty with a sweet smell reminiscent of ripe bananas.

This Leffe has a full mouthfeel, smooth, almost oily with the perfect amount of carbonation. I would call this medium-bodied, about where you'd expect a Belgain blonde.

The taste is slightly sweet, with a definite yeast presence; although, not to the extent of say, Unibroue offerings. You taste those bananas and perhaps pears, with a slightly bitter and spiced finish.

While some may not consider this a session beer, its relatively reasonable ABV (6.5%) and easy drinking medium-body make it ideal for sipping in the crisp spring air. It's not the best Belgian blonde you will ever have, but it definitely sets a standard.

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