Size: 330 ml
ABV: 8.5 %
The Huyghe brewery on the outskirts of Ghent is responsible for the Delirium range of beers, and of course the obligatory pink elephant. In fact L’Elephant Rouge is probably the most famous thing about the brewery these days – who seem set on producing stock beers for a variety of eager commissioners. In fact in 1992, the Brotherhood of the Pink Elephant was founded – a bizarre fan club intent on spreading the brand, and the largest and perhaps most famous Belgian Beer bar in Belgium is called the Delirium Cafe, situated right in the pulsing heart of Brussels. This cult cafe stocks over two thousand beers in bottles, and approximately forty on tap. Almost certainly on this quest for a thousand Belgian beers it was inevitable I would find myself here at some point with a clipboard, pen and checklist.*
The bar is located in an 18th century basement although it is now spread across various floors. Unless you plan on getting here early though you won’t believe the crowds queuing in the crowded alleyway. Once inside however you cant help feel you are in beer heaven. Every wall is crammed with classic enamelled advertisements, posters and dog-eared beer mats. If you are lucky enough to find a seat then I can think of few places better to spend an afternoon scouring one of the biggest beer menus in the world.
The Delirium Nocturnum is the darker sister beer of the more reknowned Delirium Tremens, and also follows the same marketing as the brand – bottled in Cologne style ceramic bottles that look great in any collection. The name roughly translates into ‘night tremors’ and one wonders what three or four of these may do to ones sleep. L’Elephant Rouge poured a fine head which cleared surprisingly quickly, and the fruity wafts that followed unbottling promised much and certainly delivered early on, with complex rich malty tastes in the mouth and on the back of the tongue. The Nocturnum accompanied a hot curry and complimented it very well half way through, although on finishing the food it did lose its panache in the final third. Certainly enjoyable but no classic !
* (Post-Script) – I ended up there on my Stag night. There was needless to say not a clipboard in sight