Leffe Blond: beer for newbies

Backlog post: This was the first Belgian abbey-style ale I ever tried, along with Chimay Grand Reserve, around six years ago in Subic. One of the duty-free stores had a number of Belgian and German beers in their fridge, and my interest was piqued. Not knowing any better at the time, I swigged this straight from the bottle on the ride home, and, at the time, it blew my mind. Years later, after more than a hundred beers tasted of different styles and flavor profiles, I still appreciate Leffe, but perhaps more for how it opened my eyes to the world of beer, rather than the taste.

Poured dark golden, with a thin white head – around a centimeter with good retention but minimal lacing. It smelled of yeast and gently of cloves and tasted sweet and fruity – banana in particular, a bit of clove spice at the end. Felt medium-bodied and sticky, almost syrupy, with prominent carbonation.

My Beeradvocate ratings: Appearance: 3.5 Smell: 3.0 Mouthfeel: 3 Taste: 3.5 Overall: 3.5
If beer is the nectar of the gods, then the Leffe Blond must be what the heavens had in mind. Overall, I’d say it was too sweet, but not enough that it could not be appreciated. I’m just really not a big fan of sweet beers. However, I’d recommend this to anyone looking to start appreciating good ales. Its alcohol content is not that high at 6.6% ABV, and the sweetness will be a pleasant surprise to anyone who has only been exposed to macro lagers. I’ve noticed that Belgian blond/pale ales and their imitators tend to smell quite similar to German Hefeweizens, to the point that some of the stronger ABV pale ales seem more like an imperial hefeweizen, so to speak. Not complaining, as I am a fan of both styles. These are some of the most versatile and drinkable beers you’ll find.
It’s nice to know that Budweiser can make decent beers. Just half-kidding. Leffe was produced by Interbrew, which later on merged with AmBev to form InBev , and which later on bought Anheuser-Busch. The latter, as well all know, is the marketing Goliath (in every sense of the word) known for producing Budweiser. It’s also interesting to note that Leffe is no longer brewed in an abbey by monks, as with Trappist ales. Rather, their products are brewed in Stella Artois’ brewery in Leuven. Thus, we see that the producers of two of the world’s most overrated, overhyped yet tasteless beers can actually make a halfway decent brew. I like the Brune much more than the Blond, and as far as Belgian beers go, these don’t hold a candle to the Trappist masters, or some of the other abbey-style ale producers such as Duvel Moortgat.

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