Tag Archives: chimay

Leady247 – February Round-Up

I’m writing this round-up having just got home from Wembley. Yes, Arsenal managed to lose the Carling Cup final. Not too much to say about that really: the pressure showed, our players looked nervous and ponderous when the chips were down and they just HAD to win. Maybe this Arsenal team’s best chance of silverware is the league where there isn’t that one-off big game pressure?

Gutted for both these guys today. 'Put too much pressure on themselves maybe?

Carling Cup aside it’s been a great month for me personally. My girlfriend has moved in and we are getting used to living together – so far it’s been 100% awesome. Over the next few months we will be getting some new furniture and slowly re-decorating.

Blog-wise we managed to have our record traffic month which is great news as due to the move I have been a little time-poor and haven’t posted since Feb 13th. I will definitely pick-up, post more in March and try to set a new traffic record. Another cool development is that Matt from God-Like Blog will be helping me with editing and writing going forward – this should allow things to become a lot more prolific.

What I really enjoy is interviewing gamers about their specialist subjects. When you talk to people that have invested massive amounts of time into their favourite series you always get some great insights. Personally, I find these types of accounts more valuable than reviews written by ‘all-rounder’ games journalists – some game series (like Musou) are slow-burners and take time to get into. Often professional reviewers don’t have the time or resources to devote themselves and work towards the goodness.

silvertongue's art-book collection was one of the most clicked images on the blog this month

I posted two Musou to Me interviews in Feb. I thought these were interesting as we can see some of the contrasting ways people enjoy Musou games. Ranger Ryu looked at things from a Tactical Action standpoint with DW3 as its ultimate expression. silvertongue was more of a Character Action fan with the content rich DW5 as his favourite.

Everyone I interview for Musou to Me has a lot to say about DW7 - just a few weeks to wait now!

Feb was also the month that my What makes a Musou? series made it into print. That was very satisfying.

On the beer side of things – I found a new-to-the-UK Blue Chimay in Leyton ASDA which I was very fond of – unfortunately it’s not available in any of the supermarkets near me yet.

I also discussed the Duvel glass I received for Xmas. Some people responded to the pictures I took for this article by saying that Leady247 doesn’t know how to pour a beer! Hopefully they got a chance to read the article and see the error of their ways by now….

Mans got some front trying to tell Leady247 he doesn't know how to pour a Duvel!

I didn’t have any February Star Wars updates but I shall be putting that right next month.

Arsenal-wise there was also a brief celebratory post after our glorious win over Barcelona – time will tell wether that result will have any long term benefit now.

Next month I am planning to post another two Musou to Me interviews. The first will be based on an interview I did with Jas Marwaha while I attended Midlands Expo. This one is going to be very in-depth – I couldn’t shut him up basically. The second interview will be with a mystery guest.

I am also going to try everything to finish my third What makes a Musou? article – this will be looking into the concepts behind Character Action.

I’ve not really decided where to take the Beer section next but I have some VB in the fridge waiting to be blogged.

Definitely need to post about these little beauties ^^

On the Star Wars side I will post some pictures of my Jawa and Droid collection and once I have finished watching Season 3 I’m planning a run-down of my favourite (and least favourite) Clone Wars episodes.

If I manage to get the game I’ll also post up some impressions of Lego Star Wars III. I was really looking forward to this game but having played the PS3 demo I have a bad feeling that Travellers Tales may have over-egged the gameplay pudding…so it should be interesting to see how it turns out.

Also, I have one more achievement to get in Plants vs Zombies HD – once I get that I’ll try and get a review up (it’s a 10/10 guaranteed but I still want to write it).

Leady247 ^^

Thursday night’s review of an awesome Xmas present – DUVEL GLASS

Readers of prior beer related posts on this blog will know that one of the best Xmas presents I was given this year was an official Leffe Glass/Chalice. This glass was purchased for me by my sister on a trip to Belgium with her boyfriend James.

What remains hitherto undisclosed is that I was given another just-as-cool beer glass over the Xmas period by my girlfriend’s father. The purchasing of the glass took place on a trip to Avignon’s Auchan supermarket detailed previously in this post. At the front of the store there was a section selling various beer brand’s Xmas gift boxes – generally these contained a few bottles and a glass…

I have been a fan of Belgium’s ‘Devil’ golden ale Duvel since enjoying a few while watching the 2010 Champions League final at a bar in Lyon. I have been buying Duvel in the UK at my local Tesco ever since, however I have always lacked an appropriate glass from which to appreciate it. So when it came down to making a decision on which Xmas gift pack to pick-up there was only one choice.

This is a pic of the gift-pack. I swapped out one of the Duvels for a bottle of Vietnamese Chilli Sauce for safer carriage home.

The Duvel glass is definitely a goblet – with a short stem and deep, wide bowl that tapers in then fans out at the top. It has room for around 500ml I would say – this is required as a well poured Duvel will have a very decent sized head to it.

I really think the golden Duvel logo on the front of the goblet is a touch of class too – I have subjected it to numerous dish-washings now and it has not lost its luster at all.

Here's a good look at the glass with it's shiny gold logo ^^

The cool thing about the carboard packaging of the Duvel gift-set was that it had instructions of how to poor the perfect Duvel: Tilt the glass towards the bottle neck and poor in the liquid slowly. As your pour raise the bottle away from the glass – this creates a nice even head. You should aim for the head of the beer to start roughly half-way up the golden Duvel logo (so it’s not just there for show^^). Visually this creates what looks like a 50/50 split between head and beer but as the bottom of the glass is wider there is actually more liquid than it seems.

I would say that's a perfect head to liquid ratio ^^ thank you, thank you

As you drink the Duvel the head slowly melts into creamy patches stacked up where the goblet tapers.

The amount of liquid the glass can take and its thin stem means that it has a satisfying heft and great hand-feel. Watching the golden ale bubble away in the cauldron shaped base of the glass is fantastic stuff too.

Here's drinker's-eye-view of the action. Thirsty?

Well, that’s it for my new Duvel glass – I love it. Thanks very much to Daniel Ducret for buying it for me ! ^^ More soon.

Leady247 ^^

Sunday afternoon’s review of last Saturday night’s beer – CHIMAY BLUE

When I tried my first Chimay last year I wasn’t that impressed. I bought a bottle of the red variety from Tescos and really couldn’t see the appeal.

Soon after this I was lucky enough to visit Brussels on a business-trip and a friend opened my eyes – he described Chimay as the most ‘authentic tasting’ of the widely available Trappist beers. Since that endorsement I have been looking forward to trying another bottle and posting a re-evaluation.

Its funny how a comment from someone you respect can cause you to question your opinions. Its one of the joys of having other people around I guess….

Last weekend I was in ASDA’s Leyton Supercentre with my girlfriend to get some keys cut (we are moving in together in just under a week now ^^). I perused the beer section not expecting much Belgian-wise other than a few Leffe Blondes….

…So I was delighted to find good stocks of a blue-bottled Chimay.

Here's that lovely blue label ^^ Check you local ASDA now - I have found it in the Southgate store as well.

As readers of my original Chimay post will know I am really against the scarlet labels on the Chimay Red sold in my local Tescos so I was delighted to find this navy-blue badged version and immediately bought it (I think it was around £1.70).

I didn’t really notice until I got home and checked the alcohol volume – but it seems that blue labels signify strength in Belgian beers. Both the blue blazed Leffe Neuf and this Chimay Blue clock in at 9% – this basically means two bottles will put most people away. I would definitely recommend these strong ales as an Aperitif with some decent cheese or bread rather than a solo drink – neither are what you would call refreshing or thirst-quenching.

A quick check of the refreshed Chimay website told me that it offers beer in three ‘Personalities’ – this Blue version or (‘Grande Réserve’ as its known in larger variants) is bottle-conditioned and known for its strength and fresh, yeasty taste.

The three Chimay 'personalities' (pic taken from the official website).

The back of the bottle text is in English and reads:

‘The Trappist logo certifies that this ale is brewed in a Trappist Abbey and that the majority of sales income is intended for social aid. Chimay Blue represents the full power and complexity of a well-balanced Trappist beer.’

It’s nice that Chimay are promoting their Corporate Social Responsibility programs (well they are monks at the end of the day lol) but they could be a little more lavish with their back-of-bottle text if they want to compete with the Leffe’s of this world – or maybe the lack of flamboyant copy and concentration on the ale experience is part of the charm?

Next time I'm in Belgium or France I definitely need to pick up a Chimay glass.

Unfortunately I do not have a Chimay ‘Chalice’ (yet) so I used my Leffe glass to enjoy the ‘Blue. This worked well – the wide, high-ball allowing the ale plenty of room to breath. I’m sure this clash is not recommended by Chimay’s branding department though!

After pouring (following Chimay’s own guidelines) the first thing I noticed was that this is an exceedingly dark, thick beer – hold the glass up and almost no light penetrates apart from a soft amber glow at the apex of the glass.

Hold it up and just a tinge of light comes through at the bottom of the glass.

At little flotilla of bubbles formed the head and there was plenty of bitter, heady aroma as I lifted it to my mouth. The first taste hit is VERY chocolaty but this gives way to a deep, crisply bitter taste of hops that is great to swirl around your mouth. I found it a more mellow experience than the almost metallic edge to the Leffe Neuf.

That’s it for the Chimay Blue – its comes highly recommended by me, a little something to savour as your evening unfolds.

(Now I just need to find out which UK supermarket is selling the Chimay Triple? Maybe Sainsburys? Even better if they had it gift-packed with a Chimay chalice.)

Leady247 ^^

Sunday evening’s review of an Xmas night’s beer – Leffe Bière de Noël Kerstbier

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:

My sister's bf and fellow beer fanboy, James was lucky enough to have La Trappe Quadruple while he was in Brussels ^^

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 new glass, the Leffe Noël and a small baguette (the photographic composition for this blog is really picking up!)

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’

A closer look at the label for the Bière de Noël.

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 ^^

Friday morning’s review of the last Friday night’s beer – Leffe Blonde (canned version)

Of all the beers I saw during my first trip to Brussels (spring 2010)  it was the canned Leffe Blondes that left the lasting impression.

The thought of that bespoke, classy, thick, abbey ale encased in the convenience of can was something of a conceit. However the pic I snapped of a fridge packed full of shining bronze cans remained frequently oogled on my phone long after I returned to the UK. My longing to try a Leffe Blonde from a can grew with each passing month….

The picture I took in Brussels (the cans are actually a lot cheaper in Avignon Auchan - just €1.7)

It was not until this year’s Xmas trip with my girlfriend to her home town of Avignon that I finally got my mouth on a can of Leffe…

During a trip to a local pet-shop to assess the French Poms-Poms and Bubble-Eyes we were lucky enough divert to a large Auchan to peruse the beer section. My girlfriend’s Dad is obviously a fan of the blog as he bought me two cans of Leffe Blonde and another gift that will be profiled in an upcoming post. Much love to him for that ^^

Leaving Auchan having pocketed the bronze treasure ^^

We enjoyed the first can back at home however this article pertains to the can I enjoyed on the on the way back to the UK via TGV on the last day of 2010.

A quick aside about the TGV – the orange TGV was always the train I dreamed about adding to my model train-set as a kid. It was a mythical, futuristic, orange beast of train and I would still love a ride on one.

You can stick your Shinkansens - this is the coolest train ever ^^

These days the old generation of TGV is still in service but unfortinately they have been repainted blue and grey which makes them look very mundane. I did see one of the classic orange models once at Gare de Lyon in 2009 but unfortunately it was not the train we were riding on.

Back to the beer (sort of)…what made this can of Leffe superb was that it was drunk at around 12 noon on the TGV accompanied by two home-made ham sandwiches and a pizza from the local pizzeria (thin-crust, cheesy, crispy, herb-y and an olive  in the middle OMFG!). This was definitely my best travelling lunch of the year.

Stuck on the TGV with a can of Leffe and Plants vs Zombies HD...ahhh when life conspires to reward us ^^

As my Belgian friend had explained a few weeks previously: Leffe has the most professional and effective marketing of any of the ‘Abbey Beers’ as they are backed by the massive InBev brewery.

I guess this is the reason why Leffe has the canned option – it’s easier for retailers to stock, cheaper to produce/package/distribute and there are scales of economy (InBev also can Stella and others beers as well).

There’s an open question of what canning it says about the Leffe brand going forward though…?

What I can confirm is that the taste of the canned Leffe is pretty much as good as the bottled variety – it’s got that same deliciously thick, smooth, syrupy taste.  Obviously its feels a little cheaper and it’s a lot harder to get a nose full of the aroma through the tiny whole in the can. Also, it lacks the spectacle and theatre of pouring Leffe from the bottle. However for a perfect travelling picnic on the TGV I don’t think you can do much than a can of Leffe! Let’s hope they bring them to the UK soon.

Leady 247 ^^

(PS. If you haven’t got it already please try out Plants vs Zombies now it’s one of the best games every made. Graphics and music are simply fabulous and gameplay is FROM THE GODS).

Friday morning’s review of the last Saturday night’s beer – Leffe Triple

Time for one last belated beer blog of the year and it’s a great way to round things off : that most special of Leffes the ‘Leffe Triple’.

The Leffe Triple seal in all it's glory

As readers of my Leffe Neuf post will know, I was lucky enough to go to Brussels on business a few weeks back. At the end of the trip I managed to pick up a couple of Leffe variants not available in the UK and bring them safely home on the Eurostar.

The Leffe Triple will always have a special place in my heart as it was the last beer I drank on my first trip to Brussels with my girlfriend. We sat outside at a bar near the centre of the city and watched the South Korea vs Nigeria World Cup match with a few beers, a cheese plate and some pommes frites (yes, I have a very understanding and awesome gf!). It was a great afternoon.

Leffe Triple is another strong Belgian beer.  It has the most beautifuly thunderous burnished chestnut-red colouring out there. It always seems to pour with a perfect 1/2 inch head as well. Purrty!!

The back of the bottle reads:

‘Brewed in Belgium according to the traditional recipe of the monks of the Abbey of Leffe. Slightly cloudy through re-fermentation and aromatised with spices.’

(The fact that Leffe Triple has English wording on the back of the bottle whereas Leffe Neuf does not  suggests that we may see Triple imported officially to the UK in future?)

The ‘Triple’ in the title presumably refers to the bottle conditioned fermentation process. This is where the beer is re-seeded with yeast while in the bottle – allowing extra brewing of carbohydrates to alcohol (I may well be wrong or not-quite-right on this so if anyone knows better then let me know…).

Leffe Triple looking proper tasty !

Looking back on my notes on the taste from last weekend I noted the Triple had ‘great smell’ and a ‘metalic-edge’ to the taste whilst being both ‘bubbly, yeasty’ & ‘sharp’.

It maybe that I was pretty drunk at the point of writing this as I also noted that it ‘felt great, warms the blood’ and was ‘better than the Neuf’. My real recollection was that it as a delicious, thick ale that was pretty much prefect ^^.

Well that’s it for beer reviews for this year. It’s been emotional!

Next year, as well as the usual morning after reviews, I will be taking some advice from the Trappist Monks referenced in my last post and adding some cheese to the mix (I will draft in my girlfriends cheese tasting skills here). Lets find the best cheese and ale combos around in the UK!

MERRY XMAS EVERYONE – Leady247 ^^

Saturday evening review of Friday night’s Beer – Leffe Neuf (9 Degrees)

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.)

The Chimay official cheese. We need this available in the UK now please Tesco cheese buyers!

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).

The line-up of draft Leffes at Cafe Leffe in Lyon

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.

It's 9 Degrees people !

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).

There's that deep golden colour, shame I cant share the aroma via the internet 😦

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 ^^

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