Look What’s Shakin’!

Attention: New beer in town.

OK, so it has been around for a few weeks, but if you haven’t yet tried Delirium Tremens on tap at Tippler’s, we suggest you hightail it over there for a liquid lunch.

This fantastic Belgian strong pale ale is brewed by Belgium’s Huyghe Brewery in Melle, East Flanders. Since 1654 (the time of Oliver Cromwell, for context) there has been a brewery operating on this site.

The Huyghe Brewery itself has been in operation since 1906, and the Huyghe family has brewed in this location for four generations. Delirium Tremens, released in 1989, is one result of the fourth generation’s expansion and experimentation. It is now, by far, their most popular beer.

Delirium Tremens woos you in by foreshadowing the unspeakable … the horror of NOT having a beer.

The term Delirium tremens (commonly known as “the DTs”, “the shakes”, “the staggers and jags” and other colourful descriptions) is defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or neurological changes.”

One of the many side effects while you are in this state is said to be the hallucination of pink elephants – an animal (and colour) that has been incorporated on the label and made the unofficial mascot of the beer.

(In reality, you only tend to hallucinate dogs, cats and snakes. An elephant – we imagine – would mean that something is really wrong.)

Belgian strong pale ale is kind of a weird category. It is typified by the excellent Belgian beer Duvel, which has become the hallmark of this style. It follows, then, that most beers in this style have ended up trying to be just like the cool kid.

This is fine by us as this cool kid is pale to golden in colour, high in alcohol content, with big flavours and big carbonation to match.

Enter Delirium Tremens, the cool kid who comes in mid-semester, fits right in with the In Crowd but still has unique and enviable music taste. This beer fits the style perfectly, while retaining distinctive, and delicious, characteristics.

Straight off the bat, your glass will be bright gold with a big white head. The good folk at Tippler’s tend to pour right to the rim, giving you less head but more beer, in this case a very fair trade-off.

At 8.5 per cent ABV, this beer is out to pack a punch, so don’t be fooled by its light and almost-lager look; you will be amazed at how complex this beer is.

Different people have found a lot of different layers in the aroma: limes, oranges, spices, hops and – oh, why not? – rum. On the palate, you’re looking at hops and fruity malt balanced by spice and a typical Belgian yeast flavour.

(The brewery uses three different types of yeast in the beer’s fermentation, giving it its particular characteristics and taste. You will have to have a glass to fully appreciate this.)

Mouthfeel: full but not heavy.

Tremens finishes fast and clean with notes of apples, pears and bananas. An extremely refreshing drink, the slight acidity or sourness is reminiscent of a thirst-quenching wheat beer. This quality aids in its ability to pair perfectly with pub fare – its cutting power suits spicy, creamy and rich dishes.

As far as credentials go, DT was named “Best Beer in the World” at the Chicago Illinois World Beer Championships in 1998. (Best beer in the world! We don’t even know what this means, but it’s got to be a good thing.)

Stuart Kallen’s 1996 masterpiece, The 50 Greatest Beers in the World, gives Delirium Tremens the number one spot. (Take that, Bug Light!)

A mini heads-up: while your glass will be smaller than Tippler’s regular 20-oz. pints, this is money well spent. 1) It costs a little more to import great, quality beer from Belgium and transport it to Whitehorse, and 2) you’re in luck! Even 12 oz. is enough to ward off the tremens.

Please enjoy this article responsibly.

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