Leffe Blonde was one of the first “good” beers I’d ever had. I used to not be much of a beer drinker, preferring whiskey or vodka in college. This was mainly cause I didn’t know how complex and tasty a quality beer could be. This all changed after school when one of my more worldly friends introduced me to Belgian beers. While our other friends hit pitcher-deal happy hours at crappy pubs we began frequenting the old Markt Belgian restaurant/bar in the meatpacking district. A glorious place with a several pages long menu there of only Belgian beers. I sampled many of them as a 23-year-old but I always came back to two, Duvel and Leffe Blonde. As I got more into beers my focus shifted away from Belgians and, being a huge jingoist, I became more interested in American craft beers. But, I always knew in the back of my head that I could revisit Leffe whenever I needed too. And, when pressed to list some of my favorite beers, I always listed Leffe Blonde in my top ten.
This past weekend I knew I would be going to a Mediterranean cheese/wine bar with a fairly respectable beer list. Perusing its beer menu online before I left, I was pleased to see Leffe Blonde on the list, bringing back fond memories of a beer I probably hadn’t tasted in three years. I paid a visit to BeerAdvocate.com to read about it. I was shocked to see the beer get a mediocre C review from the experts and a crummy B from the online reviewers. Had I always liked a crappy beer? Had I had a poor, inexperienced palate back in my early 20s when I loved this beer so much? My mind had been blown.
The verdict was a resounding NO. I still loved the smell of this beer and the taste too. It’s very malty, smooth with a great flavor. It may not be that complex but it’s eminently drinkable. In all honesty, it wouldn’t be on my top ten beers list any more, but it’s still a great brew. And it brings back the fondest of nostalgic memories.