The side effects of alcohol are fairly well known, if not completely understood, at this point. One of the side effects of alcohol withdraw can be an acute case of delirium, which was first described in modern medical literature in 1813 and named Delirium Tremens.
One of the symptoms of Delirium Tremens can be hallucinations, described by Jack London in his book “John Barleycorn” as seeing “blue mice and pink elephants,” among other things. This theme has been played upon by many over the years, including Disney in the movie “Dumbo,” and this week’s beer, Delirium Tremens, the bottle that is decorated with pink elephants.
Delirium Tremens is brewed by the Huyghe Brewery in the town of Melle in East Flanders, Belgium. Leon Huyghe founded the modern brewery in 1906, but brewing on this site dates back to at least 1654. Since 1906 the brewery has expanded several times. In the 1990s, the brewery acquired several other small breweries in the area, and it now produces over 40 different beers under almost a dozen different brand names.
Delirium, however, is the only brand from this brewery that I have seen for sale in the United States, and consists of Tremens, Nocturnum, Noel (now named Christmas) and Red.
Delirium Tremens poured with two fingers of coarse white head, which quickly dispersed down to half a finger of head with a much finer texture but left little lacing as it was drunk. The color was a straw yellow, but very hazy. The aroma was surprisingly yeasty but quite complex, with banana and apple mixed with lemon and other citrus scents.
The body was medium heavy, even with the high carbonation, but lacked the really viscous texture I’ve encountered in some beers. The taste was fairly sweet, but not cloying at all. There was a surprising amount of spices in this beer, such as cloves, coriander and cinnamon; enough to make me think of this, in conjunction with the yeast character, as a lightly spiced wheat beer instead of a Golden Strong Ale or Tripel as it is normally marketed.
This beer would pair well with just about everything, given its low bitterness and balance of yeast, spices and sweetness. Fruits and good breads will pair well, as will most meats. Personally, though, I’d recommend a good sharp cheese like an aged Cheddar or Gloucester, as this is not a particularly cheap bottle of beer. This beer should be served in a tulip glass, or a large wine glass will do just fine as well.
Overall I enjoyed this beer, and one of the best things about it is its approachability. Really, though, I picked up this beer for its name so that I can add another interesting bottle to my collection. If you are looking for a more interesting beer, however, I would suggest grabbing a Duvel instead.