Seeing Stevia-induced Pink Elephants

Jim Lundstrom

It’s always good to see pink elephants, especially when they are on the faux ceramic 11.2-ounce bottles of the Delirium family of beers from the Huyghe Brewery of Melle/Ghent Belgium

This one is Delirium Red – a dark red 8 percent Belgian cherry ale. Big cherry nose. Cherryish taste, but also something I can’t identify, something not quite natural. It seems to leave a metallic pall on the palate.

I look closer at the silver label and find, in smallish type, this description:  Ale brewed and flavored with natural flavors and with Stevia added [my emphasis].

Natural flavors is a euphemism for what? And Stevia! What the hell is that?

So I Google Stevia. Turns out it’s a plant-based sweetener that appears to have a “taste challenge.” Huh. Guess I haven’t kept up with the latest in sweeteners. Agave is the last big new thing I recall.

I wonder now, had I read the label more closely before buying, would I have purchased a beer brewed with Stevia?

I think not. Even if I didn’t know exactly what it was, I definitely don’t like the name. What, did Steve discover the stuff? Ugh! No offense to all you Steves out there (some of my best friends are Steves), but the name has too many rancid connotations to work as a “sweetener.” Stevia sounds like a female stevedore, so I’m against it right from the get-go for the dumb name.

I love to love cherry beers, but something’s going on with this one. It’s putting wrinkles in my forehead as my palate fails with each sip to identify the oddity in what is one of my favorite styles of beer. Sometimes I think I’ve shaken it and can really taste the cherry depth, but, no, it finishes with that same metallic overlay.

Is that the taste of Stevia? Or do I have chronic kidney disease or one of the many other awful conditions that can leave a metallic taste in your mouth? I felt compelled to Google “conditions that leave a metallic taste in your mouth.” It’s awful stuff, so I’m hoping it’s the Stevia that tastes like biting on aluminum foil.

This beer is driving me crazy. Pretty soon I’ll be seeing real pink heffalumps as I attempt to get the annual bacon-wrapped Tofurky in the oven. Must focus.

Merry Pilgrim Day!