Leffe (English pronunciation: /ˈlɛf/ or /ˈlɛfə/) is a beer brand owned by InBev Belgium, the European operating arm of the global Anheuser–Busch InBev brewery giant. There are several beers in the range, and they are marketed as Abbey beers. They are brewed in large quantities and are widely distributed.
The abbey Notre Dame de Leffe was founded in 1152 on the Meuse River in the province of Namur in southern Belgium. Like many monasteries across Europe, the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) canons of the abbey brewed ale. Using knowledge passed from generation to generation and ingredients found in the wild near the abbey, the canons developed a unique ale, brewed only at the abbey.
The abbey itself has known hard times and has been damaged by both natural and human circumstances over the years. In 1460 the abbey was destroyed by a flood, a fire swept through the settlement in 1466, in 1735 billeted troops damaged the brewery, and in 1794 the outbreak of the French Revolution resulted in the abbey being deserted and the brewery destroyed. The canons returned in 1902.
In 1952, the production of beer was continued after a partnership with the Flemish based Lootvoet brewery in Overijse. This brewery was later bought by the international beer company Interbrew (now InBev). Leffe was then brewed in Mont-Saint-Guibert until Interbrew closed that brewery. Now all Leffe brands are brewed at the Stella Artois brewery in Leuven.
The 1952 agreement between the Leffe abbey and a commercial brewery is said to have been the first of its kind (royalties continue to be paid to the abbey). Today, Belgium's beer category called "abbey" is thriving - with several beers brewed under similar licenses to Leffe as well as abbey beers named after abbey ruins or abbeys that no longer exist. The Affligem beers are a part of Heineken's international portfolio and Grimbergen is owned by Alken-Maes subsidiary of Scottish & Newcastle. Other notable abbey brands include Corsendonk.
The Leffe museum in the town of Dinant is open to visitors.
- Leffe Radieuse (8.2% ABV).
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