Alain Delaet’s best-known beer is available in 80 countries. The latest market he entered was the toughest.
“There’s no contest. Ontario was the most difficult place to get into,” said Delaet, owner of Belgium’s Brouwerij Huyghe.
The difficulty had nothing to do with the quality of his strong, fruity and slightly hazy golden ale. Instead, it’s all about the name: Delirium Tremens. Yup, that’s right: The beer’s named after the DTs, also sometimes known as the shakes. It’s a nasty withdrawal symptom that sometimes occurs when hardcore alcoholics have their booze taken away from them. In addition to shaking, the symptoms also sometimes include hallucinations. (In a nod to the hallucinations, the beer’s label is festooned with pink cartoon elephants).
The beer, first brewed in 1989, has attracted criticism for its name wherever it has gone, including a few hundred cases that were abruptly yanked from LCBO shelves in 2004 because of concerns the liquor monopoly could be seen as making fun of a disease. Several attempts since then to get the LCBO to stock his brew were unsuccessful.
“We even offered to change the label so it would just say Delirium, but they still didn’t want it. The LCBO has no sense of humour,” said Delaet. Four years ago, he got approval to bring kegs of it into Ontario, through The Beer Store. This week, bottles finally began showing up on Beer Store shelves.Source: The Toronto Star
I don’t remember when I had my first taste of Delirium Tremens, but I do know that it only took one for me to know that I liked that beer. Given the meaning of the name, I wasn’t worried about any side effects of drinking it. I was only concerned about whether I would like it or not.
At 8.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), this beer ain’t no Old Milwaukee’s Best. You definitely have to put your big boy pants on if you’re consuming more than one at a single sitting. I wouldn’t recommend driving after taking on a few of these in battle either.
Reading deeper into this story, I kinda feel bad for my Northern Brethren. It seems as though their ability to get their hands on good brews is limited by the regulation of their Liquor Control Board of Ontario and the decision to limit sales of alcohol. That’s really sad too as there are so many beers to explore and try. I’m the kind of guy that likes to try different things, and it seems that my choices would be limited during any vacation in Ontario Canada.
I could recommend any number of places for Ontarians (is that a word?) to get their hands on good beer, but I’m sure enterprising individuals already have their methods. If all else fails, just take a 2-3 week vacation through Germany and Belgium. There are numerous places and beers to sample. One great place would be the Delirium Cafe which was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for offering the most beers at more than 2000, and this was in 2004.