Welcome to another beer blog. Before I get into last night’s beer I want to write about some beer related info. and activities I was lucky enough to have this week.
On Tuesday I went on a business trip to Belgium. The place I was visiting is called Namur which seems like a very nice river-side town. If you want to go there you can take a train from Brussels-Midi (takes about 30mins).
Anyway, on the drive from Namur station to my customer’s office I got talking to my Belgian friend Philippe about beer and ales….
…I asked him about the Trappist Monks that brewed Belgian beers and he told me that not only did each Monastery have a signature beer they also made a signature cheese to be eaten alongside the beer! For example if you visit the Chimay beer website you can see that it says ‘The Art of Beer & Cheese’. (Apparently these cheeses are widely available in Belgian supermarkets so you can always match your Cheese to your beer.)
I must say I can’t think of anything more holy and bloody superb than Monks that make ale and cheese! (well I can think of one other thing they could grow)
After explaining that we were getting a better selection of Belgian abbey beers easily available in the UK now I asked Philippe about what were the most authentic Belgian beers. He told me that Leffe has the widest distribution and the best ‘marketing’ but that Chimay was one of the most authentic in terms of taste.
On hearing this and taking into account the cheese related revelations above I feel a bit embarrassed about last week’s Chimay releated blog. I think a re-assessment of this beer (hopefully accompanied by the relevant cheese) is certainly in order.
I had very little time in Belgian (just 8hrs actually) so my shopping was limited to just the small ‘Casino’ supermarket in Brussels-Midi station (the station the Eurostar uses). Unfortunately this small supermarket did not seem to have the Chimay cheese in stock and without recgonising any of the other brands I decided to focus on just getting some beer.
As I have been spending my money on Xmas presents and putting money aside for our mortgage I budgetted myself just €15 for beer.
In the end I got two bottles of Leffe Neuf and two bottles of Leffe Triple. The reason for this is that I have only been able to try these two beers before in Cafe Leffe Lyon (I heve visited there twice with my girlfriend and its fucking ace).
Leffe Neuf is translated as ‘Leffe Nine Degrees’. This is because its strong at 9% alcohol volume. It’s dark, black, thick ‘n fruity tasting ale.
It really hits on the back of you palette with some breathable bitterness and then bubbles away warmly in your tummy. It gives you a nice glow to your cheeks and temples very soon after drinking it. A whole body experience of a beer then ^^.
After my first mouth-full I sighed and said ‘That’s a beer’. Which sums up my thoughts really.
My girlfriend Christine was nice enough to translate the back of the label for me:
‘Leffe Neuf is brewed to the traditional recipe of the Leffe Abbey. Leffe is a high fermentation beer with a deep golden colour and an alchohol content of 9%. Its whole taste and rich aroma makes the beer full of character. Leffe Neuf will accompany you everywhere and will be the ideal drink for your best moments and digestion.’
(from that we can see it’s designed as an after dinner drink but personally I always prefer to drink beer on an empty stomach and with a clean palette).
I was planning to go to the football today to see Arsenal trounce Stoke City but since that is off now (snow -_-) this last picture is probably lost some of it’s meaning! Hopefully I will be enjoying a Leffe after we have beaten Chelsea at home in our next match (we can do it if we CONCENTRATE for the whole match)!
Well, that’s it for this blog and Leffe Neuf. I hope to bring you a test of the Chimay ale + cheese combo shortly and if you are travelling around Europe over Xmas I can definitely recommend trying some Leffe Neuf or you can join me in tweet-spamming @leffebrewers to get them to release it here!
See ya, Leady247 ^^