|Posted by Nikki Yeager on April 19, 2011 at 3:58 PM|
I wrote this MONTHS ago when this amazing Turkish guy stayed on my couch for a few nights. He's probably my favorite person and I discovered so many cool places while he was staying with us!
A couchsurfer friend of mine stayed a few nights on my horrifically uncomfortable futon after coming back from a meandering trip through Belgium. To deal with the mediocrity of my apartment (and satisfy his newly acquired beer-tooth), he dragged me out to Voldenuit Belgian Beer Lounge in lower Manhattan.
Now let me just say, I know a thing or two about wine, have an encyclopedic knowledge of sake and adore a good vodka. But for the first time in my life, I paid a second glance to the wonderful world of beer.
First came the Delirium Tremens on tap. Admittedly, it was a little watered down, but still much heartier than your typical American beer. With little pink elephant logos all over my glass (and plenty of girly-Republican jokes from my friend), I took a sip of the relatively pale ale. There wasn't much foam in the glass and I swear I tasted some sort of spice after I swallowed but my friend insisted I was imagining it. Overall, though, it kicked any beer I'd ever tried out of the water.
But then came a variety that changed my life: Leffe Brune. With a rich brownish foam on top, I took a look at the chalice holding my new-found beverage. Apparently Leffe is huge in Belgium and just taking a whiff of it, I knew why. Then came the first sip of the heartiest beer I've ever had. Instead of a drink, I felt like it'd be better defined as a meal with it's rich, wheat taste and subtle sweetness. Normally I equate beer to drinking toilet water, especially when it comes to Budweiser or Miller. But this beer, it was nothing but wonderful the whole way down.
At 6.5% alcohol, I couldn't taste much after my second oversized serving. However, I'm pretty sure it was more than the alcohol that was making my head spin. It was the fact I discovered an entire world that I'd never paid any attention: the world of fine beer.
A few days later I found myself stuck drinking my previous favorite brew, Newcastle, expecting the same sense of love. Unfortunately, it did just the opposite and made me remember once again how lackluster beer can be.
Unless, of course, you happen to be at a Belgian beer garden in the West Village. In which case, order away.