Le bl'e d'or
By Douglas Habecker Translated by Ann Lee
20, ShiZheng Rd; (04) 2255-5911
Hours: 5 pm-2 am
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
No minimum charge.
Free parking lot (underground).
Although a growing appreciation for fine wines started in Taiwan a decade or two ago, most locals have only just begun to realize that there's much more to beer than the often-insipid suds found in bottles and cans on the average retail shelf. Leading the charge to introduce the joys of traditional, fresh-brewed craft beer is Le ble d'or Brewery, which not only pours a good pint, but also provides a great ambiance to enjoy it in.
Le ble d'or's imposing 330-ping, 363-seat Taichung beer house is a piece of Bavaria transplanted onto ShiZheng Road. Warm summer evenings see this place absolutely packed out, as patrons sit at rows of dark-wood tables on a terraced outdoor area, or under the high-raftered ceilings inside, surrounded by Teutonic-looking banners, brick walls, huge gleaming brass vats and more dark wood. The whole image is completed by the serving staff, wearing peaked Bavarian caps, suspenders, tall dark socks and shorts. The only thing missing is a German "oompah" band, although there is live music nightly from 7 to 10 p.m. Other entertainment includes four electronic dartboards at the back.
Using imported fine-brewing technology and techniques from Canada plus imported ingredients, Le ble d'or's three tasty beers are not filtered (like most mass-produced beers are) to remove yeast which, most connoisseurs will agree, results in a tastier, more nutritious tipple. Not surprisingly, their Lager beer remains the top-seller, although the sweeter, fragrant Hefe-Weissbier (wheat beer) and coffee-flavored dark Dunkel are also popular (ladies especially like the weissbier). Sizes range from 350cc (NT$120-150) and 500cc (NT$180-210) mugs up two-liter and five-liter (NT$1,350-1,500) mini kegs.
In Germany, beer is often consumed with meat, and lots of it. Dozens of choices on Le ble d'or's menu ensure that you'll never go hungry, with favorites including the German Pig Knuckle (NT$480), Grilled Boneless Shortribs (NT$380), Braised Beer Shrimp (NT$280), Spicy Cuttlefish (NT$250) and the Combination Pork Sausage (NT$480), a sizable platter with four types of sausages. There are also plenty of fried Western appetizers, from chicken nuggets to cheese sticks, as well as pizzas, pastas and salads.
Even if beer's not your thing, you're in luck here, as there are 11 types of NT$180 alcoholic and non-alcoholic slushies (mango, toffee coffee, raspberry stout, peach weissbier, etc.) and soft drinks. Nevertheless, all but the most committed teetotallers will want to savor the exceptional beer, perfectly complemented by Le ble d'or's food and ambiance.