Friday, 19 August 2011

Delirium Tremens (Brouwerij Huyghe)

Firstly, do click on the Huyghe website, the intro by MD Alain de Laet is a classic bit of webbery.

A potent and colourful little package in a stone-effect bottle, Delirium Tremens offers much potential. The label shows various trippy animal icons and there's no doubt the message is that this will KO the unwary. It was voted Best Beer in the World at the 1998 World Beer Championships in Chicago.

It's 8.5%ABV, and on cap release the air fills with notes of fruit, ripe bananas and apples. It pours a joyous pale straw colour.

The sip is a little yeasty (it uses 3 types) and a lance-like note of pineapple wanders through, although not overpoweringly so. Huyghe brewery offers quite a few fruit beers, so its easy to see where this affectation came from.

The killer for me is the spices loitering in the undergrowth. Very european and peppery, they scatter through with gay abandon as the sup grows old and warm the tongue as the vaguely bitter aftertaste rears up and dies away. It's bitter just to the point of counteracting the fruit taste and no further.

This is a strong summer party drink for the discerning. The hops themselves taste like no normal hops, and I was amazed at how drinkable such a strong beer can be.

Not best in the world for me, but exacting and classy.

8/10 - Beautifully presented summer Belgian classic.

- The Broadside

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