Leffe Blond: A good abbey beer

Easter morning! At last, I broke my no-alcohol fast with a lovely bottle of Leffe Blond abbey ale. Sitting in the warmth of the Easter midday sun, I smoked my pipe, drank my Leffe and enjoyed the garden fun with my daughter and wife. I do so enjoy Leffe! What a lovely Belgian beer it is.

And that got me to thinking. The bottle packaging indicates that Leffe traces its history to a Belgian monastery with a long brewing tradition. A bit of online research and a few clicks later, I discovered (and not surprisingly) that alas, those Belgian monks are no longer the brew-masters they once were – although they do receive royalities from the sale of Leffe. Rather, it is now brewed by the same company that mass produces Stella Artois, InBev. And sadly, a quick look to the InBev website and recently posted annual report shows that that there is nothing small about Leffe Blond any more.

So, does that make drinking it less enjoyable? Does that lessen the quality of the Leffe experience? On some level, I think it does. It has to, right? There is value and enjoyment in knowing that a product – a quality product – was made by hand, from an age-old recipe, well steeped in history and tradition. When that product no longer boasts the same history, I think it follows that even though the beer looks and tastes the same, it does not offer the same drinking experience.

On that thought, it’s a lovely warm sunny Sunday afternoon. Just perfect for a glass or two of Leffe in the garden. I’m off to it then … I’ll try to enjoy it as best as I can.