Delirium Tremens Review: Great Expectations

For the longest time, the only fancy beer I even knew of was Delirium Tremens. I liked the white bottle, I liked the name (it was only later [read: two seconds ago] that I realized the name truly meant: Delirium tremens is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that involves sudden and severe mental or neurological changes), and I really liked the elephant on the bottle.

Aw, drunk elephant (click image for Source)

And I didn’t know what it would taste like because it was expensive and I was a college student who was more interested in throwing back cans of PBR than I was in thinking serious thoughts about things like beer or the future or neurological changes resulting from alcohol withdrawal. Luckily, times changed.

Not all that much, apparently.

During the sale of the CENTURY at A Southern Season beer, of all things, was discounted (I know, I freaked out too!) I did what any self-respecting beer lover would do: I grabbed a discounted bottle of the beer I’d been longing to try for years.

I saved it for a lovely evening with some friends, the weather was right, the sun was setting (but very very slowly) and the bottle was chilled. The stage was set:

Cork in a beer? This must be good.

I pried out the cork, imagining this as the TRUE champagne of beers (Miller High Life be damned!) I even found an appropriate glass (not difficult with an entire shelf full of glassware.)

Gorgeous, isn't she?

The color was lovely, an amberish gold that just glittered in the sun.
The smell? Citruses, definitely. Is that an aroma of banana bread? It just may be!

The taste…. well here’s where the great expectations came into play.  This Belgian Pale Ale from Brouwerij Huyghe in Belgium was too fruity for me (and that’s saying something!) That faint smell of banana bread…. that was definitely in the taste. There were lemony flavors and some spiciness as I sipped it but my mouth was not celebrating with the party I’d expected. Perhaps it’s because I hate Blue Moon’s Pale Moon (or really, anything Blue Moon does) and I couldn’t help but feel reminded of it as I sipped. Maybe it was just that my tastes have been leaning lately towards IPAs or powerful stouts/porters with something else fancy going on.  Or there’s always the chance that it just wasn’t meant to be.

I was bummed that this expensive beer (a little over $10 when it was on sale, though that is for the big-girl bottle) had tasted worse than a $3 Bell’s Two Hearted (which I used to consider “SUPER EXPENSIVE!”)

I think that, like a raccoon, I was drawn to the shiny colors and bright animals on the bottle, the off-white mottled color, the novelty of a cork on beer. And, unlike a raccoon, I was rewarded with a beer that simply didn’t live up to my great expectations (AH!! I said the name of the post IN THE POST! If you’re playing the “food, sweat, and beers” drinking game You have to drink now!!)

Oh well. Didn’t stop me from drinking the rest of it.  But I think, in the future, I’d rather spend my $10-13 on a tasty 6-pack.

SPEAKING of which, if you haven’t read Alan Shaw’s article on the profits made from selling beers in bigger bottles (and hoodwinking innocent drinkers like ME!) Check it out: There are big profits in bigger beer bottles.

I’d like to thank him for doing the math that I simply can’t bother doing. Mind = rocked. Expectations…. not so much. But hey, you live and learn.

And then you switch to coolers full of the less expensive stuff.

College football, anyone?

Have you ever been sorely disappointed by a beer (or wine or food) you were really looking forward to, especially due to hype and a high price tag?

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16 thoughts on “Delirium Tremens Review: Great Expectations

  1. I’m trying to think of a food or beer that truly disappointed me, but I must’ve burned it from my memory. Such a shame to have such high hopes and not have the follow through.

  2. I nearly jumped for joy when I saw the title of this post! The first time I had this beer was in 30th St Station in Philadelphia after “riding” the Erin Express all day around the city for St Patricks Day.

    I thought it was the BEST beer ever.

    Now, whenever I buy it (the last time I tried their Christmas version, probably because it had the name Noel on the bottle which is my middle name so I’m partial) I just can’t get into it! I like the bottle more than the taste.

    That leads me to the conclusion that my fantastic first impression was obviously the result of consuming one too many girl scout cookie shots in honor of St. Patrick a mere few hours before. Oh well. At least the bottle is pretty.

  3. Thanks for sharing the article on the “big bottles”. As a soon-to-open retailer, I think it’s important for customers to have the opportunity to try and sample as many things as possible. So we’ll price everything by the bottle, and opt to carry items that are available in small and big bottles [like Tremens] in the smaller format.

    So if you taste circles back to a beer like this, you’ll only be on the hook for $3-4 instead of $10+ 🙂

  4. Is this sales at Southern Season still happenin’?? Goodness! If so, I need to leave the comfort of the boondocks of Mebane and get to the big city of Chapel Hill!!! I, too, am raccoonish {not coonish, haha, I laugh at race} and am drawn to the shiny. I have to try this now! See, I am a fan of blue moonish fruitiness so I think I may heart it! Thanks for the tip!

    • Haha, well I highly doubt that ignorance would affect your tastebuds! Just like some folks LOVE chocolate and hate vanilla, others LOVE blue moon or hate it. No one’s right/wrong, it’s just a matter of tastebuds.

  5. Aww drats. My college roomie and I love elephants so I’m sure that sometime in the future I would see that and grab it off the shelf – nice honest review that I’ll keep in mind. I’ve got a super high fruity tolerance though and I love belgian waffles, I mean ales. I bought a bottle of Almanac’s Summer 2010 as a gift for Kyle (mucho mucho dinero and they keep it secret in the back at only 1 whole foods in san jose!) … This guy gave a good review of it: http://beer-runner.blogspot.com/2011/08/beer-of-month-summer-2010-by-almanac.html and I’m hoping it lives up to the hype!

  6. Blergh I am glad I read your review of that beer before trying it myself! I hate banana flavored anything, and we’ve had two bottles of that beer sitting in the fridge for at least a month or two now because my husband shunned them for no particular reason. Time to pawn them off on someone! I do love the bottle color though- it’s interesting AND protective to the beer inside!

  7. I bought a wine once, based on the bottle, Apothic Red I think? The bottle was gorgeous, the wine was well, just okay. Too sweet for my tastes!

    And Blue Point Brewery Hoptical Illusion – I was expecting to be blasted by hoppiness, and when I wasn’t it really made me kinda 😦

  8. Pingback: Brussels: Beginning | Sugar Coated Sisters

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