Delirium Tremens is one of the most popular Belgian beers out there, and for good reason. Its signature pink elephant logo and ceramic bottles have helped it become incredibly recognizable.
The medium-bodied Belgian pale ale exhibits apple and pear aromas at the nose, and features banana, fruit, spice, and wheat flavors. What it’s arguably most famous for, however, is its incredibly high alcohol by volume. The golden-copper beer weighs in at 8.5 percent ABV.
Delirium Tremens is exported worldwide, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Here are 10 things you should know about the iconic Belgian brew.
Delirium Is Not the Brewery Name
Huyghe Brewery produces Delirium Tremens in Melle, Belgium. Leon Huyghe purchased the brewery in 1906 and named it Brouwerij Mounterij den Appel. The brewery would eventually adopt the name of its founder: Huyghe Brewery.
Delirium Tremens Actually Refers to a Medical Condition (Hence the Pink Elephant)
Delirium Tremens is a medical term that refers to severe symptoms alcoholics can experience during withdrawal such as tremors, confusion, and hallucinations. The beer’s name is an allusion to these symptoms due to its high alcohol content.
A Tax Collector Coined the Name
According to legend, a tax collector felt himself gradually slipping into a state of unexpected drunkenness when he came up with the name. Whether he saw pink elephants remains unknown.
Its Ingredient List Is Pretty Short
Delirium Tremens contains just pale malt, Styrian Golding and Saaz hops, three different types of yeast, and water.
Delirium Tremens Is About to Turn 30
Delirium Tremens debuted December 26, 1988, more than 80 years after the brewery’s founding. Although it wasn’t Huyghe Brewery’s first beer, Delirium Tremens remains its flagship.
Lightning in a (Ceramic) Bottle
Delirium Tremens is widely available on draught, but its bottles are worth checking out. Instead of glass, Delirium Tremens bottles are made from Cologne-style ceramic, which contributes to the beer’s unique brand and image.
Tremens Is Not the Only Delirium
Tremens is just one of five beers in Huyghe’s Delirium series, which also includes Delirium Nocturnum, Delirium Christmas, Delirium Red, Delirium Argentum, and Delirium Deliria. Delirium Deliria is brewed once a year to commemorate International Women’s Day.
… And Delirium Is Not Huyghe Brewery’s Only Beer
The Delirium lineup is one of the brewery’s 10 beer series. Huyghe also produces beers under the labels La Guillotine, Averbode, Floris, Campus, St. Idesbald, Blanche Des Neiges, Mongozo, Artevelde, and Villers.
It’s Been Called the World’s Best Beer
Delirium Tremens was nominated as the “best beer in the world” in 1997 and won a gold medal during the World Beer Championships in Chicago in 1998. The brewery’s other beers have also won multiple awards.
Delirium Accounts for Almost a Third of Huyghe’s Production
It’s by far the most in-demand Huyghe beer.