Charles Nouwen talks… Leffe Ruby
A magnificent, ruby red colour, slightly woody flavours, hints of strawberry, raspberry and huckleberry… Leffe Ruby combines the tradition of an abbey beer with the refreshing flavours of forest fruits. Charles Nouwen tells us all about this fruity and surprisingly refined beer…
How do the master brewers select Leffe’s ingredients?
During the Middle Ages, the monks significantly contributed to better barley and hops cultivation and also helped to improve brewing techniques. Today, the brewers team up with the maltsters, the farmers and the hop growers to select the hop varieties and plants eligible for the production of Leffe’s different varieties. Every September, I myself like to rub the hop cones (flowers) between my hands to evaluate the aromas during the harvest!
Why Leffe Ruby? And how does this beer differ from the other Leffe varieties?
Leffe Ruby is a top-fermentation beer that is made with the same yeast as the other varieties. The name of course refers to the colour: a translucent, shimmering ruby red. We add elderberry juice and forest fruits to give the beer its typical colour, strawberry and raspberry for a more refined flavour and huckleberry for a refreshing acidity. The yeast, on the other hand, provides delicate notes of fruit and vanilla. And a more experienced palate will recognise woody rose tree flavours.
Which cheese and ham appetisers would you recommend pairing with a Leffe Ruby?
Iberian ham would be an excellent choice. You could even go for a sweet and salty twist by adding some strawberries and balsamic vinegar. But Leffe Ruby also tastes wonderful with goats’ cheese or even Brillat-Savarin. This combination is a true delight: the firm beer head pairs nicely with the creamy texture of the cheese and provides an exquisitely soft, deliciously light taste experience. The sweet flavours of the forest fruits and the milky freshness of the cheese are just as suited for one another as cherries and cream.
Once upon a time, Leffe Ruby was created…
Before beer was made with hops, brewers would often use fruit, flowers, spices and all kinds of exotic ingredients from India’s spice markets. That’s where you will find the origins of fruity beers like Leffe Ruby.