Belgian Beverages Asia recently started favouring Thailand with another outstanding Belgian beer brand: La Corne. They’re the first and only BKK provider of all three varietals from this supremely splendiferous brewery. Let’s take a closer look…
Produced by Belgian brewery Elby, La Corne du Bois des Pendus (translated “The Horn of the Hanged Woods”) is named after a massacre that took place during the 30 Years War (1618-1648). A hundred townspeople were hanged by mercenaries in the forest of Anlier in Luxembourg. That area of woods formed a horn shape, hence the heavy reference. The label sports a hanged corpse (though it’s hard to tell whether he’s dead or just inebriated), and the beer is served in an accompanying horn-shaped glass.
The Blond (5.9%) is considered a pale ale and is brewed with Pilsen malt and wheat, though it looks more like a lager than a weissen. With its bright rich color, fruity-floral nose, and an exceptionally foamy head, you’ll almost hesitate to take a sip as it sits in its horn like a work of art. But when you do, the sudden change from crisp sweetness to lip-smacking bitterness and extravagant hoppy flavor will have you tingling from head to toe. It’s easy to see why this extraordinary beer won gold at the 2017 Australia International Beer Awards. Each taste is like foreplay in a seduction. Imagine the beer-version of a Bond girl with long yellow hair and thigh-high leather go-go boots. As you empty your horn, this beer whispers sweet-nothings, nibbles an earlobe, and plants gentle kisses on your neck. It feels like falling in love.
If the Blond is the ingenue, The Black (8%) is her burly big brother. The color is a deep, rich brown, the head thick and foamy. The nose has notes of spice, caramel, and malt. The first sip comes on strong with bitterness that quickly smooths out to warm, malty whimsy. Like Christmas morning in front of a fire. Going from the Blond to the Black is like going from seductress to succubus. The Black holds nothing back. It is, quite simply, shameless beer euphoria, working its dark magic spell between sips. Somewhere in that darkness, or perhaps the intricate patterns in the foam, is a secret that can’t be answered. It can only be pursued, one mouthful at a time. Like philosphy’s Indestructible Questions. What is love, anyway? Could it have something to do with…beer?
The Black took bronze at the 2017 ABAs.
The Tripel (10%) is a force of nature. Don’t let the light color fool you—this ain’t no run-of-the-barrel ale. The nose is bold, with lingering aromas of butterscotch and caramel, although don’t let that fool you. No sugar or flavoring is added to this beer. It has a soft, creamy texture with fruit-forward flavors of bread and honey while balancing sweet and bitter, which fight each other for the last word, inevitably losing to the lingering taste of dried fruit. This beer is quite unassuming for a Tripel, and if you’re not careful you might accidently drink several before realizing you can’t stand up. Its complex, layered flavor makes for a truly unique drinking experience, placing this beer in a category all its own. The Tripel is another 2017 ABA gold medal winner.
Full disclosure: I’m not a beer expert. I just drink a lot. Does that qualify me to rate these Belgian delights? Maybe not as much as others, but I’ll always give you my honest opinion. Though for me, the setting, company, and mood are nearly as influential as the beer itself on my state of mind. And there’s something magical about drinking Belgian beer in the sultry heat of a Bangkok evening (or afternoon). The ability to have Europe’s finest brews transplanted into the giddy holiday environment of Thailand seems like more than just a treat. It feels like cheating, somehow. Why should a man have both of these wondrous pleasures that geography has set thousands of miles apart? Like great French cuisine on the streets of Saigon, premium Belgian beer in a Bangkok soi is a privilege not to be missed. Many thanks to Belgian Beverages Asia Co. for making it happen.
Now I’ve got to flag down the barmaid, as my horn is once again empty. Until next time, may your glass be full and frosty, and every sip sublime. Cheers!