Beer of the Week: Delirium Nocturnum
|Pink elephants dance in your brain.|
If you want to see pink elephants, go Belgian.
Not only does the iconic pink elephant adorn the bottles of both Delirium Tremens (the world's best beer in 1998 according to the World Beer Championships in Chicago) and its sister beer Delirium Nocturnum, but you'll be seeing hypercolor pachyderms floating around your skull after a few pulls from the bottle.
Not that we're advocating drinking Delirium straight from the bottle -- that would be a crime. No, this triple fermented Belgian ale needs room to breath, preferably in something bulbous and wide-lipped. (No offense to the Rush Limbaugh fans out there.)
Huyghe Brewery's Delirium Tremens, named slyly for the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, has become a landmark in the murky sea of Belgian beers. While you won't exactly find the blue- and gray-speckled bottles at your corner grocery, it's one of the most popular Belgian imports out there. Delirium Nocturnum is essentially a darker version of its brother, more robust and tougher to find. Both beers run about 8.5% alcohol by volume, making them sturdy sipping beers. Experienced drinkers of Belgian-style ales will actually find that number a bit low (many of the tripel and quadrupel Belgians shoot upwards of 15% ABV).
So how does Huyghe justify promoting a beer that's considerably less-potent than many beers of similar style as an alcoholic's worst nightmare? I think it has something to do with drinkability.
|Delerium Nocturnum may only be 8.5% alcohol, but it's still potent stuff.|
Nocturnum and Tremens are not cheap beers. Even at mega stores like ABC and Total Wine you're likely to drop close to $20 for a four pack or $10 for a big bomber bottle. I recommend the bomber, since it's fun to share and the ceramic-looking bottle is a great trophy for your top shelf. Just be careful with it -- the lower alcohol content may fool you into a circus like adventure of your own.