Belgian behemoth A-B InBev seems to be making great inroads into the Irish market with Leffe Blonde. Both the bottled version and the draught have been showing up in places where one would not necessarily expect to find imported specialty ales, and have been gaining plaudits from drinkers who wouldn't normally touch non-lager with a stick. Obviously this medium-heavy pale sweet style has something going for it.
Inevitably, then, the discount retailers would like a piece of that niche action, and Abbaye du Park Blonde at Aldi was their Leffe-killer in stores last month. At 5.6% ABV it is a token amount stronger (by which, obviously, I mean lighter -- see comments) than InBev's blonde, and knocked some €2 off the price of a large bottle. But is it any good?
Short answer: yes, for the money. It pours a very dark shade of orange with a light effervescent texture. The flavour isn't particularly exciting: a touch of honey, some sherbet perhaps, but quite hollow beyond that. It's not going to set the world on fire, but if you need a quaffable and inoffensive easy drinking blonde ale, then there's no better use for €4.
And that's why I feel a bit guilty about writing about it several weeks after it appears to have vanished from Aldi's shelves. Keep an eye out for its return.