Flagship Friday: Delirium Tremens

Delirium Tremens
dəˌlirēəm ˈtremənz/


  1. a psychotic condition typical of withdrawal in chronic alcoholics, involving tremors, hallucinations, anxiety, and disorientation.
  2. a Belgian strong golden ale, brewed by Brouwerij Huyghe, in Melle, Belgium. Recognizable by its unique ceramic bottle, featuring a distinct, pink elephant.

OK, that first definition isn’t exactly the most appealing, so let’s focus on the second one. After all, Brouwerij Huyghe’s, Delirium Tremens is this week’s, Flagship Friday feature.

It is apt, however, to bring up the origin of the term, “delirium tremens,” as the brewery themselves acknowledge that there is no coincidence to the sobriquet, or the illusion to rose-coloured pachyderms. Coming in at a hefty 8.5-8.5% (the ABV can vary depending on region and batch), this beer is no summer sipper. Don’t let the high ABV scare you off though; this is a remarkably smooth, easy-drinking beer, which explains where it got its name. Speaking from experience, many a beer drinker has been fooled by its approachability and wound up feeling worse for wear the next day.


With its alluring clear, golden colour, and ample, frothy head, the 2008 “Best Beer in the World” looks its finest when poured into its distinctive 33cl tulip. In short, the nose is rather complex. Bright, with soft notes of banana, Delirium also has a prominent Belgian yeast character, as would be expected of a beer using three different kinds. You’ll also notice a robust spice profile: featuring coriander and cloves, which compliment the fruitiness. This carries through to the taste, which showcases the same understated banana and balanced spice, which combine with the beer’s yeastiness to mask the ample booze present. A prominent bitterness at the finish lends dryness, but does not linger, ensuring that Delirium maintains its light, playfulness.

As for pairing options? I recommend putting on some Henry Mancini and pairing this with a Friday evening; you’ll want to make sure you at least have an afternoon to recover, as you’re sure to enjoy more than just one of these delicious beers.

À Votre Santé!

[Featured Photo Credit: Cats Will Eat You, via Brouwerij Huyghe]

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