I don’t aspire to be an alcoholic, I just love a good cold beer. One of the great things about Penang is the huge range of restaurants, bars, eateries and stalls that serve a chilled one, and the huge range of imported and boutique beers that can be found.
I started my beer-ducation at the tender age of 5. Dad left a bottle of DB on the front steps, and of course, I needed to help him finish it. Ok, so now I don’t steal bottles (I mean, beer) anymore, but I am happy to drink if you’re shouting.
Over the past few years I have begun to better appreciate just what hops and barley has to offer – an entirely new world of flavours and opportunities. More recently, beer-matche dinners have caught my taste-buds – it’s simply amazing how a great brew can accompany equally exceptional food, and make for a great culinary experience.
This weekend I did a little research on a traditional favourite, Leffe Blonde. Ok, to do justice to this column, I repeated my research several times, over several locations, just to be sure that I got it right.
Leffe Blonde, a dry, fruity and lightly-spiced Abbey Ale, features a perfect balance of strength and subtlety. Originating in Belgium, and still brewed there, but sadly not by the same Monks, Leffe Blonde is a popular tap and bottle beer, and appealed to me because I like slightly spicy and creamy beers. Having been around since 1240, I guess that by now they really have perfected their craft, and through the course of my research, proved that it’s a consistently great drink. With a delicate bitterness which extends over the whole palate, Leffe Blonde leaves a subtle lingering aftertaste.
Leffe Blonde is still brewed according to the Leffe Abbey Fathers’ ancient recipe – the grains, hops and yeast that made up the ancient Leffe recipe are still the natural ingredients used today. Spring water, malted barley and corn come together to give Leffe its sunny golden yellow colour.
Perfect for a late afternoon and settling into the evening, Leffe Blonde is ideal to drink alongside sweet and sour dishes, smoked ham, and roast lamb.
To ensure consistency,I tried a few venuesto soak up the beer, but also to enjoy some great tucker. At Weissbrau StraitsQuay, my Leffe was accompanied by a hearty Flammkuchen topped with Parma ham – a thin traditional pizza-like dish smothered with sautéed onions, cream cheese, and delicately salty slices of Parma ham (yum!) and accompanied with fresh sauerkraut. Seriously, that was enough research for one weekend!
So, the conclusion. I love my job! I mean, who wouldn’t? Leffe is a great beer to finish a late afternoon and start an early evening. It’s one of those beers that you can put with quite strong and unique flavours (read, smoked ham, roast lamb, blue and brie cheeses), although I truly believe given its smooth flavour and easydrinking characteristics, it could be paired to almost anything.
This article was kindly contributed by Farrell Tan.
Farrell Tan is the cofounder of Orchan Consulting Asia Sdn Bhd, a full service public relations agency located in Kuala Lumpur. Winner of a slew of professional awards, recently nominated for PRESTIGE’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’.