Leffe Blonde

Total Score: 6.9/10 Bubblegum1 Clove1 BrownSugar1 Chalice1

Leffe is a brand I remember from a while back (2001). When I was traveling around Western Europe I tried many beers, most of which (this one included) I didn’t like. But back then I was in my beer infancy… will my today taste buds being in beer adulthood like the extra-strength Abbey flavours? Let’s find out.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into the only thing I had [3 years ago] that resembles a Leffe chalice: a wine glass from Ikea!

A: Presents as a clear golden body (with some champagne fizz going wild within). The pure white 0.5cm head sits proudly atop; which is nice, but I can’t help but wonder why this brew is filtered and not bottle conditioned like every other Abbey beer? Scale of economics perhaps? 4/10.

S: Bubble-gum and cloves dominate, classic Witbier aromas… mmmm. 9/10.

T: First thing that really hits you is an overbearing, cloying alcohol taste (it is 6.6% ABV after all). The flavour is like a regular Witbier but amped up a little more; bubble-gum and cloves (no cardamom mind you). It’s not bad but the bold sugar taste is an issue, it’s quite overpowering for a beer to the point where there’s more sweetness than bitterness, which is something I’m not used to in any brew. The aftertaste is sour with a hint of dryness (not bad but not great either). 6/10.

M: Top points here – creamy and luscious. The carbonation is not nearly the issue I was expecting it to be. 10/10.

D: Not a beer for all occasions; the alcohol is an obvious limitation in both content and taste, and the sacchariferous flavour is off-putting to some extent. Maybe good as a dessert beer but there are a few others I can think of that fill that role better (Coopers Vintage Ale for starters). As an Abbey beer overall it is just as expensive as the others and although I’m yet to get into them I suspect the more natural bottle-conditioned brews will win in spades over this. 6/10.

Food match: Desserts all the way. I would not recommend savoury with this as you’re liking to end up with a battle between food and beverage that food could not possibly win.

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Cavalier Courage Blonde Ale

Total Score: 6.6/10 GreenMelon1 Caramel1 CutGrass1 Nonicpint1

So Cavalier is a brewer I’ve been acquainted with before at The Archive (a while back now). I really enjoyed one of their brews but I didn’t take any notes and have forgotten (in a haze of enjoyment) which beer it was… I think it was the brown? Anyway this latest brew has been (as they note on their website) developed to help raise awareness and funds for research into Motor Neuron Disease (MND). It is currently available on tap at The Durham Arms in Kingston, Canberra under the moniker of ‘The Durham Ale’.

Poured from tap into a 425ml Schooner.

A: Body presents well with a hazy light gold with a half centimetre white head – a spot on Blonde Ale look. 8/10.

S: Honeydew melon hops upfront with a light caramel malt base. The aroma has a touch of earth and cut grass as well. Overall the aroma is lighter than a Pale Ale and leads one to expect a nice summery Ale. 8/10.

T: Comes across with the flavours noted above – Melon hops, caramel malt, earthy with a cut grass background and the finish is a slight bitter tinge. There is an after taste that adds a distracting graininess that is unwarranted and unfortunately for Cavalier holds it back. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with an active medium carbonation. 7/10.

D: Not bad, an easy going Ale, deceptively easy in fact. My personal preference is for hoppier Ales but I can see this working well on a hot summers day. The grainy after taste did kill it a bit for me and gave it a bit of a macro gloss (as a flavour I would note in typical Aussie macro Lagers it is not something I’m a fan of) but otherwise I do believe Cavalier are top shelf brewers with a knight-errant future ahead of them. 6/10.

Food match: Would go well with a Margherita pizza.

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