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Jan 19, 2012 01:07 PM

One syllable or two?

This is not the most important question ever asked on this board.

One of the beers I like to get when I go out is Leffe Blonde. See? On Chowhound, there's no controversy. It's not a super-fancy beer, but there's a nice French Bistro near my home that has it on tap. And there are other places around town that have it, so if I see it, in the absence of something more interesting, I'll often order it.

This question is not about the merits of Leffe Blonde. It's about the pronunciation.

In bar #1:
me: I'll have a Leffe Blonde.
bartender: Oh, you mean a "LEFFay?"
me: whatever.

In bar #2:
me: I'll have a LEFFay Blonde, please.
bartender: Oh, you mean a LEFF?
me: whatever. sure.

It's not a big deal, but it seems that whichever way I pronounce it, I'm "corrected" by the bartender/server. I asked someone once who I thought would know, and he seemed to think there was no clear consensus in Belgium either. Flemish speakers would often say it one way, and French speakers another.

Does anyone have any opinions or insight into this burning question?

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  1. Have a Pliny the Elder instead. Or is it PLINE-ny?;]

    1. Theres a fairly extensive and amusing discussion about it at where the concensus seems to be that the marketers call it both depending what market they are aiming for (no e among the french speakers, "eh" to germans and americans and "uh" to the dutch speakers).

      Me, I always call it Leff-eh and dont intend to change (if a bar tender corrects my pronunciation when Im trying to order something from them Im correcting their math when they want a tip..) . But then you should hear what I call Weihenstephaner ...

        1. I would pronounce it Orval, 2 syllables

          2 Replies
          1. re: chuckl

            I think that is an excellent idea.

            1. re: chuckl

              Ha. Nice. Not every place carries Orval. It's really good stuff though, and I probably would if I see it.

            2. Whenever I need to learn how to pronounce something I go to youtube and try to find a commercial from the company itself.

              This has worked wonders for me especially with scotch and watch companies.

              5 Replies
                1. re: Beachowolfe

                  Wrong! Leffe comes from Abbaye de Leffe S.A. in Dinant, which is in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium. The TV commercial you posted is in Dutch. The correct pronunciation for Leffe in French-speaking Belgium, where it comes from, is "Leff" - with a silent "e", Not "Leff-E" as pronounced in Dutch or Flemish.

                  ps: Leffe has become undrinkable in the past few years since InBev Belgium's takeover.

                  1. re: od_sf

                    Somewhat diminished, yes.
                    Undrinkable? Hardly

                      1. re: od_sf

                        I'll admit when I'm wrong... though I think I can place the blame for this one squarely on AB's marketing team. A response from AB:

                        "Leffe is pronounced as “Leff.” The rich brewing tradition of the Leffe beers dates back more than 700 years to the Abbey Notre Dame de Leffe, founded in 1152. In 1240, the monks of St. Norbert brewed beer for the community as well as for passing travelers. The Norbertine monks entrusted their brewing work to a lay specialist in the 1800s. Leffe beers continued to flow throughout the quiet Belgian countryside until the abbey was abolished during the French Revolution. The monks eventually formed an agreement with the brewer Albert Lootvoot to re-launch Leffe.

                        I hope that information helps out and provides some fun history about the brew. To learn more about Leffe you can visit us anytime at Currently we have Leffe Blonde Ale available in nearly all regions, and Leffe Brown Ale available in a select parts of the US. If you ever need help tracking down the brew, feel free to give me a call at the number below."