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The REAL thrill of (not) beer-hunting

Oct 13, 2011

Following all the ridiculous bullshit associated with the CBS release of last week (that I wrote about here), it was somewhat ironic (and tremendously gratifying) that at an almost simultaneous occurrence acted as the perfect antidote to the pant-wetting, destructive geekery that was exhibited by the frantic mayhem that ensued with the Founder’s release.

Last Friday I happened to be casually surveying the singles shelf of a store that I visit at least once a week, and as usual I was not expecting anything out of the ordinary. As I glanced at the shelf I had to do a double-take. Was that really what I thought it was? No, it can’t be. That’s a beer that has never been released in the bottle in the USA in the 11+ years I have been living here, and a beer that I had only seen twice in that time in random kegs that had turned up out of state and out of the blue.

I knew it had been in Canada all of that time, but I had never had occasion to get a bottle. The beer is not an especially well thought of one, it’s not generally highly regarded or rated, and reviews often point to the ownership of the multi-national conglomerate as a negative. However, I’ve always enjoyed the beer, thought it good value for money and generally had a huge affection for it even knowing that perhaps it was not the greatest beer ever brewed. Now, it is true that some of that is affection is based in the tremendous nostalgia I have for it.

I used to drink this in Holland, Belgium and France on my regular, multiple visits per year to those countries starting circa. 25+ years ago. I used to sip it in street cafe’s and in rustic, continental cottages on long, hot summer days & nights in some of my most formative, youthful moments – in short it is a beer that I have colossal affinity for, and it was like unexpectedly seeing a long lost friend after (literally) many, many years. No wonder I was absolutely thrilled when it appeared with zero fanfare, zero expectation, zero announcement and zero effort, right there before my very eyes. THAT’S what I call A REAL THRILL and a real moment of what beer signifies.

The beer in question? The much maligned, non-spectacular, Leffe Brune now owned by InBev. More happiness than a ‘rare’ beer could ever give me.

Leffe Brune

Leffe Brune


  1. kingofhop

    Ding, we miss ya at BA. Don’t know what happened, but here’s a “cheers” to ya, with my Fuller’s 1845.

  2. Jaxbeerlover aka Azorie

    That’s weird I “think” I have seen that beer here for years (well in Orlando, Tampa). Leffe is not the greatest beer in general, but I find the brune to be quite drinkable; had no idea it was rare. Of course, with all the mark up Belgian beers get to make it here I, in general, go for the better ones. Still a nice story, I only make beer runs every other month. Homebrew is much better than 75% of the stuff I buy now.

    • Ding

      Obviously Leffe Blonde has been here for a long time but the Brune seems to have only been in the US in very occasional kegs. Brune has been in Canada for years. I’m not 100% sure aboiut all of that, but that’s certainly been my impression.

  3. Ulises Gonzalez

    I wondered why I never saw leffe brune here in the states! I also share a lot of nostalgia for that beer, having it in France, Switzerland, and other places in Europe! Glad it’s out here now!

  4. Kid Carboy Jr.

    When you write posts like this, it comes off sounding as if you believe everybody else should reason the same way you do. It also sounds as if the only thing that made your find worthwhile was the fact you didn’t know it would be there. If you had news of the availability of this beer, would you not follow up on it? Or does specifically looking for something, regardless of what it is, somehow diminish the final product in your eyes—or more accurately in your mouth?

    I just don’t get it. There are some people out there who honestly believe that something like CBS tastes great. Some people legitimately believe that it’s significantly “better” in their experience than a Leffe Brune, or worth some work to get. Do you believe that those people are straight-up wrong? I think you sound smart enough to not be that black-and-white about things.

    • Ding

      (Extensive) experience tells me a couple of things;

      1. That the palates of those that truly believe that CBS (for example) is really significantly better than scores, perhaps hundreds of easier to obtain beers are unrefined and/or underdeveloped, and

      2. That some of the astonishing, disgusting behavior that we have seen associated with these limited releases is the total antithesis of what beer and beer culture should be (and really is), all about.


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