Today’s featured beer painting is of Delirium Nocturnum brewed in Melle/Ghent, Belgium since 1654. This beer makes me think of Timothy Q. Mouse and Jumbo Jr. (a.k.a. Dumbo) when they first sample the sudsy brew that the circus folk were enjoying. The musical number comes to mind with the big bass drum booming, “Boom, boom, boom, pink elephants on parade, pink elephants on parade!” The pink, or white elephant has had a mystique, dating back several centuries in the country of Siam, now modern day Thailand. The white elephant is considered a sacred animal because it is so rare. Only the King could own them, unless he chose to gift one to someone with gratitude. The gift recipient could not use the white elephant to do traditional work, like putting up circus tents, or as a pack animal. So the elephant would become a huge burden. A white elephant is only to be used on parade, to symbolize wealth, prosperity, and to represent a just, powerful King. Hence, the white elephant gift exchange.
The Huyghe family brewery that has been brewing at the old brew site since 1906 has used the pink (white) elephant as the symbol for the Delirium line of brews. Delirium Nocturnum translates to nighttime madness, and represents what happens when you drink too much alcohol. The hallucinations that ensue from such overindulgence are represented by the elephant on the bottle. You know you have been drinking way too much if you have this type of problem from drinking. But since it has been a tradition, I won’t get into it. The real reason for drinking beer is flavor, not drunkenness. Beer tasting, guys, not chugging. I sampled this one at my buddy’s 34th birthday dinner last night, and I am happy to say I did not see any pink elephants, except the ones in the painting. I am foremost a beer taster and connoisseur, not a beer glutton. The beer itself is definitely Belgian, with notes of sweet caramel and cloves, and a bit of sour flavor. This beer is overall a perfect example of a Belgian dark strong ale.
Cheers to Delirium Nocturnum! If you buy a bottle of this, you better share it with a few others, or you might be like Jumbo Jr. seeing pink elephants on parade, with the actual delirium accompanying your visions.