Delirium tremens in Belgium

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If beer had a home, it must be somewhere in Belgium because although Belgium is a comparatively small country large number of beers are available, in range of different styles. I am not really qualified to say anything about Belgian beer since I don’t like or drink the stuff myself, so the following tidbits were gleaned from my beer connoisseur husband and from the owner of the cafe “Delirium Tremens”:

“Beer in Belgium varies from pale lager to lambic beer and Flemish red. There are approximately 178 breweries in the country, ranging from international giants to microbreweries. According to the ingredients the beers are classified into six groups: the pils, lambics, white beers, brown, red beers, seasonal beers and general beers which are produced in abbeys (in addition of the six groups each village has its own brewery and types of beer. For instance in Leuven at the Domus’s the Domus and the Nostradomus and the Condomus beers are the specialities. In the village of Hoegaarden the Hoegaarden beer) and almost every different beer has its own unique drinking vessel”. 

At the Délirium’s

The Délirium Café in Brussels is known for its long beer list, standing at 2,004 different brands (this stats comes from The Guinness Book of Records dated from 2004). The bar is located in the small alley called Impasse de la Fidélité/Getrouwheidsgang, only a couple of hundred metres from the Grand Place(just the opposite side of the Jeanneke Pis statue -of the peeing girl). The bar was named after the beer Delirium Tremens, (a blonde, Belgian-style tripel) and its label the pink elephant which became the logo of the beer, also hangs above of the café’s entrance. At the Delirium’s among the offers there are beers from over 60 countries, including many Belgian beers. On the left side wall of the beer house (near from the entrance) visitors get some informations about the “birth” of Delirium tremens beer. Such as the brewery was founded in 1906 by Leon Huyghe in the city of Melle in East Flanders (the brewery’s Dutch name is Brouwerij Huyghe). The first bottles of Delirium Tremens were launched on 26 of December 1989 and since then the brewery has been operating prosperously. The secret of the success was on the one hand the exquisite taste (they use three different yeasts) and on the other hand the attractive ceramic hand painted bottle which resembles to the cologne ceramics.

The label exemplifies different phases of the production of “Delirium Tremens” such as the “Pink Elephant” which was up and ready to conquer the world in 1992, then later the “Confrerie van de Roze Olifant” (Brotherhood of the Pink Elephant) was launched in order to promote Delirium Tremens and other beers of Melle. Finally one more fact/victory of the beer:  Delirium Tremens was named as “Best Beer in the World” in 2008 at the World Beer Championships in Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Stuart Kallen gives it the number one spot in his The 50 Greatest Beers in the World!)

To cut the Delirium’s and my story short my husband and our friends greatly enjoyed not only the local beer but also the Rochefort 8, St Bernardus, Palm, Orval, Gueuze, Chimay…at the Delirium in Brussels, cheers!

see the pics…

Delirium tremens is Latin for “trembling madness”, commonly nicknamed “the DTs”, indicating a violent sickness induced by withdrawal after alcohol abuse. Although it is commonly thought that sufferers hallucinate pink elephants, which may explain its use on the beer’s label, the most common animals seen in delirium tremens hallucinations are cats, dogs, and snakes.


5 thoughts on “Delirium tremens in Belgium

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