Author Topic: Leffe Blond  (Read 1040 times)

Offline ethinson

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Leffe Blond
« on: May 19, 2017, 09:47:29 AM »
This week was Belgians in my homebrew club's BJCP class and it was an amazing lineup, including a bier de garde hand ferried back from France. The one that blew me away though was the Leffe Blond.  I think I was assuming as a Blond Ale is was going to be very subtle and light flavor, and it was quite the opposite.  Bursting with strong Belgian yeast character, all the bubblegum esters I love, plus a nice malt character that gave it some perceived sweetness, but it finished dry and crisp and made you want more.  Very light and refreshing, a little higher on the ABV than I would have expected at 6.6% but really enjoyable.

As an interesting side note, the instructor apologized for the first two beers being AB InBev products (Hoegaarden Wit and the Leffe Blond) but what I thought was intriguing is that these were legit InBev beers from Belgium, I assume part of the portfolio long before the AB merger.  Whether that earns them a pass or not, who knows, it seems (at least here in the US) the ire and anger is directed at the AB side of that company.  I don't know how InBev operates in Europe, if they are just as predatory.  The other interesting side note was these two beers had huge flavor profiles, mostly from yeast but some malt and hop as well, pretty much the opposite of "industrial light american lager".  The reason they were used for the class of course is because they are classic examples of the style, listed in the guide, and readily available in the US.
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Offline Todd H.

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 10:46:48 AM »
I really don't care about the anger toward AB-InBev, but just to answer your question a little bit about whether InBev itself is/was predatory, in 1995 the Labatt brewing company (one of Canada's two large macros) was purchased by Interbrew (who later merged with AmBev to form InBev).  At the time of the AmBev merger, Interbrew owned Stella, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Boddington's, Beck's, Staropramen, Bass, and Labatt.
If I remember correctly, Beck's and Bass were already available where I'm from, but after Interbrew bought Labatt, Stella, Leffe, Hoegaarden, and Boddington's came to town.  Apart from German lagers, we just had Bass, McEwan's, and a couple other British imports, on top of the few "craft" beers (then known as microbrews) that at the time were crystal malt-heavy.
It was a nice change.
So yes, buying one of the two major Canadian breweries opened up Canada as a market for them.  Don't think that counts as predatory though.
On a related note, ABInBev's purchase of breweries like Goose Island, and Heineken's purchase of Lagunitas brought those beers to where I live (actually, I'm pretty sure GI is brewed here in London ON at Labatt, at least it seems to indicate as much on the can).  So while some bemoan the loss of "craft" breweries to the big companies, others might be happy to get a chance to drink these beers.  Labatt is doing a good job with Honkers as far as I'm concerned.  The IPA too.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 01:01:24 PM »
IDK about their other "foreign" imports, but I know that InBev didn't brew the last bottle of Bass I had in England...

It's a shame. I really feel that Bass doesn't taste as good as it used to.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 02:35:08 PM »
I really don't care about the anger toward AB-InBev, but just to answer your question a little bit about whether InBev itself is/was predatory, in 1995 the Labatt brewing company (one of Canada's two large macros) was purchased by Interbrew (who later merged with AmBev to form InBev).  At the time of the AmBev merger, Interbrew owned Stella, Leffe, Hoegaarden, Boddington's, Beck's, Staropramen, Bass, and Labatt.
If I remember correctly, Beck's and Bass were already available where I'm from, but after Interbrew bought Labatt, Stella, Leffe, Hoegaarden, and Boddington's came to town.  Apart from German lagers, we just had Bass, McEwan's, and a couple other British imports, on top of the few "craft" beers (then known as microbrews) that at the time were crystal malt-heavy.
It was a nice change.
So yes, buying one of the two major Canadian breweries opened up Canada as a market for them.  Don't think that counts as predatory though.
On a related note, ABInBev's purchase of breweries like Goose Island, and Heineken's purchase of Lagunitas brought those beers to where I live (actually, I'm pretty sure GI is brewed here in London ON at Labatt, at least it seems to indicate as much on the can).  So while some bemoan the loss of "craft" breweries to the big companies, others might be happy to get a chance to drink these beers.  Labatt is doing a good job with Honkers as far as I'm concerned.  The IPA too.

That's understandable.  The reason it was readily available as an example for the class was the power of that distribution network.  Apparently here at Safeways in Oregon you can get a mixed 12 pack of Leffe Blond, Hoegaarden Wit and Stella Atrois. 

I think the Budwieser commercials directly antagonizing craft beer and homebrewers is what draws most of the anger.  I don't seem to see the same anger directed at MillerCoors or Pabst.  ABI seems to be hellbent on actively poking the hornets nest.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 04:05:22 PM »
I think the Budwieser commercials directly antagonizing craft beer and homebrewers is what draws most of the anger.  I don't seem to see the same anger directed at MillerCoors or Pabst.  ABI seems to be hellbent on actively poking the hornets nest.

Bingo. I have nothing against "big beer", and in fact there are many beers that fall into that category that I really enjoy. Heineken and Guinness are two great examples. Heck, I just saw a facebook post from Guinness were they're collaboration with a craft brewery on a beer.

It's InBev's "Succeed by sinking everyone else. (Or buy them out)" line of action that has folks pissed at them. Before the Superbowl commercial I would commonly stand up for them along with the other big beer companies. (Ice cold Budweisr is pretty darn tasty after working outside in the summer humidity...especially if it's in a 10-oz. can, after all.)
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 04:48:47 PM »
I think the Budwieser commercials directly antagonizing craft beer and homebrewers is what draws most of the anger.  I don't seem to see the same anger directed at MillerCoors or Pabst.  ABI seems to be hellbent on actively poking the hornets nest.

It's InBev's "Succeed by sinking everyone else. (Or buy them out)" line of action that has folks pissed at them. Before the Superbowl commercial I would commonly stand up for them along with the other big beer companies. (Ice cold Budweisr is pretty darn tasty after working outside in the summer humidity...especially if it's in a 10-oz. can, after all.)


Beat me to it, Phil. I don't like the buyouts in general but it's ABI in particular that rubs me raw. "Smear 'em like hell in public, then buy 'em out."  Not ok with me. 
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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2017, 09:56:40 AM »
I don't drink it often but Leffe Blonde is still one of the best examples of the Belgian blonde style. Probably the best widely available.

Hoegaarden, on the other hand, is one of my least favorite witbiers. It hits the style guideline for coriander/orange peel but IMO it's too sweet and over-spiced.

I'm not old enough to have tasted Hoegaarden pre-acquisition but there's a lot written from the time that when they took over Hoegaarden from Pierre Celis that they changed a lot about the beer for the worse. I don't know if that is just big beer hate or beer lore.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 12:27:05 PM »
I don't drink it often but Leffe Blonde is still one of the best examples of the Belgian blonde style. Probably the best widely available.

Hoegaarden, on the other hand, is one of my least favorite witbiers. It hits the style guideline for coriander/orange peel but IMO it's too sweet and over-spiced.

I'm not old enough to have tasted Hoegaarden pre-acquisition but there's a lot written from the time that when they took over Hoegaarden from Pierre Celis that they changed a lot about the beer for the worse. I don't know if that is just big beer hate or beer lore.

I liked the Hoegaarden, but I can see how that's a personal taste.  The more I judge beer the more I discover just how different beer tastes to each palate. 

For German Hef we tasted the Wiehenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier and that thing was a clove BOMB.  You could smell it across the room.  I enjoyed it, but it was too much for a lot of people. 

The first time I drank Hoegaarden was my freshman year in college (1999) and I was drinking it out of the bottle, and my buddy (accidentally or intentionally I'm not sure) didn't tell me it was unfiltered and I tipped it up for the last sip and got the huge slug of yeast out of the bottom.  Needless to say the results weren't pretty. 

I just brewed a wit this weekend using the Hoegaarden yeast (Imperial B44 Whiteout) so we'll see how that goes.  It's supposed to finish super dry, 1.007, but I have my doubts it will make that.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2017, 07:48:13 AM »
I am not a fan.  Not at all of a leffe blonde, nectar, or brown.  Maybe I can't get it fresh.  However I most certainly don't hold it in high regards as a great Belgian beer.  Leffe brand falls short to a lot of Belgian breweries.

Delerium deliria/tremens (golden I suppose), Chouffe Soleil, Elfde Blond, duvel maredsous, and Westvleteren are leagues above imho.  Some out of style per BJCP guidelines, but that doesn't change the outstanding flavors of those beers.

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2017, 07:58:26 AM »
Leffe has a nice flavor, is often very fresh in my area and most importantly: available.


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Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: Leffe Blond
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2017, 03:40:04 AM »
I find both the Leffe's too sweet for my liking.  Of the two I prefer the brune.
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