In this post I wanted to cover my quality Xmas pressie from my sister: an official Leffe glass so I thought it would be perfect to cover Leffe’s Xmas ale: the Bière de Noël at the same time.
Back in December I got a lucky break when my sister’s boyfriend took her on a surprise trip to Brussels just before xmas:
This trip gave my sister a great oppotunity to top-up my xmas presents with a few bottles of Belgian Trappist ale. Even better, she got me an official Leffe glass which is something I have been wanting for a while now (readers of this blog will have noticed I have been drinking beer out of wine glasses due to lack of a proper Belgian beer glass).
The Leffe glass is like large wine-glass with a thin stem and big bulbous receptacle atop to hold the liquid. The bulb on the Leffe glass has a large diameter opening which I guess is designed to expose more of the beer’s surface area to the air – allowing some chemistry/witchcraft to take place and easy access for both the drinker’s nostrils.
As the glass is relatively shallow (it takes around 330ml or half a pint) it doesn’t allow too much foam to build up.
Mainly – as anyone that still likes to drink coke out of the iconic glass bottle will know – things just taste better when presented in their official format. I guess this maybe more down to branding than science but who knows?
As for the Leffe Bière de Noël…this is a beer created by Leffe especially for the Xmas market (a cash-in?). My gf was kind enough to translate the Belgian text on the back of the bottle for me:
‘With its dark amber colour, its fruity tastes, spicy bouquet and creamy foam the xmas beer from leffe is a beer full of character. Every Xmas season this is what people are looking forward to – it’s the tradition of the brewmasters who keep their best hops and barley to brew just this once per year. Leffe Xmas beer will be your favourite apperitif and give you an intense moment to savour’
I have to take issue with a couple of the points made there: The Bière de Noël I tried was definately not amber in colour and there was little or no head. Politely I would say that visually it was like Leffe Bruin with a cherry-red hint; however the note I made at the time was that it looked like a glass of flat coke. (In a future post I will write about the Leffe Radieuse which I think is closer to what people would expect from the Bière de Noël visually).
I wonder if maybe the long trip on the Eurostar from Belgium to London and then waiting ’til after new year to drink it meant that this Xmas Leffe was not quite on top of it’s game when I popped it?
Taste wise I would say that Bière de Noël is somewhere between a fiery Leffe Blonde and the bitter edge of a Bruin – with added xmas spices and maybe a hint of coco?
Personally, I would say that the Noël is a decent a one-off bottle to get you into the Xmas spirit before eating but it’s not something I would keep drinking as it lacks the smooth action of a Blonde or the hard-edge and punch in the nose of a Triple or Neuf (alchohol wise it’s 6.6% same as a Leffe Blonde).
That’s it for this week. I would recommend checking out the new Leffe website there’s lots of good info. on there and the ‘Perfect Moment’ voice-over for each beer is pompous but just on the comedic side of pretentious.
Lots more adventures with my new Leffe glass coming soon. Leady 247 ^^