This month, it's all about the beer in Leuven
LEUVEN - The great thing about a Belgian beer festival is that, this side of the Rhine at least, it's very much a ... [ more ]
The Rise of Nationalism: First World War Centenary (5)
YPRES - This is allready our fifth article on the events that lead up to the start of the Great War. The first contribut ... [ more ]
City brewery "Kazematten" opened in Ypres
YPRES - What happens when two friends, both brewers, share a dream to establish a city brewery in the town of Ypr ... [ more ]
Belgian brewers apply for World Heritage recognition
BRUSSELS/PARIS - Plenty of beer has flown through the taps but now the moment has come... The Belgische Brouwers ... [ more ]
Bio-beer in Belgium: Arvum, from brewery Jessenhofke
HASSELT - “1, 2, 3… pour!” The organic brewer and the organic farmer are both waiting anxiously. At long last, t ... [ more ]
Wheat beer is an inseparable part of Belgian beer culture. No surprise then, that, after the success of the Vedett Extra Blond, the Vedett Extra White saw the light of day, in 2008. The thinking seems to have been that a premium pils should be comple... [ more ]
The story of L'Achouffe is really the story of the two men, at the helm from the start. They formed the perfect tandem for making a success of this ambitious brewing project: Chris, with his irrepressible enthusiasm, creativit... [ more ]
Whether in Wallonia, Flanders or Brussels you will always be able to enjoy a wide array of regional specialties, typical dishes or world class gastronomy. There is some superb produce and enough quality restaurants bistros a... [ more ]
Beer, travel and tourism guide for those visiting Bastogne in Belgium. Information about where to eat, drink, stay and visit in Bastogne.[ more... ]
Beer, travel and tourism guide for those visiting Kortrijk in Belgium. Information about where to eat, drink, stay and visit in Kortrijk.[ more... ]
Beer, travel and tourist Information about the historic Belgian city of Bruges (Brugge). Things to do, where to stay, eat and drink when visiting Bruges.[ more... ]
A beer, travel and tourist guide for visitors to the Belgian city of Ypres (Ieper). Information about where to eat, stay and visit in Ypres.[ more... ]
Beer and travel guide for anyone visiting Poperinge, the hops capital of Belgium. Where to stay, visit, eat and drink in or close to Poperinge.[ more... ]
Beer, travel and tourism guide for visitors to Sint-Truiden in Limburg. Information about where to eat, drink beer and visit in and around Sint-Truiden.[ more... ]
Beer, travel and tourism guide for visitors to Hasselt in Limburg. Information about where to eat, drink beer and visit in and around Hasselt.[ more... ]
A beer, travel and tourism guide for the Belgian city of Ghent (Gent). Where to stay, visit, eat and things to do when visiting Ghent.[ more... ]
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WEEKLY BEER TOURISM
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David Wilkins, Elizabeth Klage, Alan McDonald
Belgium. Beer and Taste Capital of the World...
Discover the wonderful world of Belgian beer and the people who create it at BeerTourism.com. Explore our surprisingly-diverse little country, from the North Sea coast to the Ardennes, from Antwerp to Ostend. Enjoy the finest beer cuisine and learn how to match a menu with the right beers.
After this virtual aperitif, we would love to join you on a deeper exploration of what we have to offer. Have fun! And let us know how you are getting on. Promise?
No other country can lay claim to a longer or more complex beer heritage and beer culture than Belgium. Admittedly, we have fewer beers than the Germans. Nevertheless, we have managed to retain a large number of the beer styles developed here.
Just think of our lambiek, oude geuze and kriek, saison, West-Vlaams roodbruin or Oudenaards brown beer. To top it all, we have our world-famous Trappist beers, the stuff of legend, now enjoying an international following.
Pilsner still represents three-quarters of beer consumption in Belgium but has been losing ground steadily over the past few years.
Meanwhile, Belgian speciality beers have attracted a growing following, stimulating a vibrant scene. It takes more than one glass to catch the tastebuds of a Belgian beer lover; standards are high in our little country and beer is a national obsession. A Belgian brewer is only satisfied if the customer enjoys a beer so much that he orders a refill.
Nowadays, sixty percent of the turnover for Belgium’s brewers comes from exporting their beers abroad. Belgian beer is enjoying a renaissance that is attracting world-wide interest with its astounding invention and diversity.
There is stout matured in barrels previously used for peated whisky; coffee beer, oyster beer; speculaasbier, made with the spices used in biscuits; ginger beer, gruutbier (using a herbal mix instead of hops), triple geuze, champagne beer… the list is endless. Wherever you travel in Belgium, you will find brewers.
Hidden behind abbey walls, in castles, farms, cafés, garages, small obscure kitchens or even sheds, these brewers keep a beady eye on their kettles and tubs.
There are beer dynasties here that have a proud heritage going back 15 generations. New breweries get their equipment together and then knock on their colleagues’ doors for advice.
All these stories are told in the glass. A world of taste will open itself up to you: strong, light, fruity, herbal, zesty, sweet, sour, tart, lightly bitter, well hopped, accessible or complex.
Brewed to warm you up or to cool you down, for tasting or keeping, or swigging when you go on a pub crawl.
Beer has always been around. It is part of our DNA. Belgium is Beer and Beer is Belgium. We Belgians are so used to it that we can take our heritage for granted. Until a certain Michael Jackson – the world famous Beer Hunter - pointed out to us that Belgian beer is really rather special. And who are we to contradict him?
A Gourmet Mecca
Gourmets enjoy basking in the golden glow of a cone full to the brim with crunchy fries; a steaming pot of mussels, cheese croquettes that melt in the mouth, prawns freshly harvested from the sea, Ardennes ham which still has a tang of the forest, asparagus, chicory or waterzooi - a tasty stew with fish or chicken.
Then round off the meal with pancakes, pralines.... or waffles? Which ones? From Brussels or Liège? Belgium’s rich and varied cuisine has taken the art of compromise to new heights. Belgian food culture has a French-inspired tradition but with generous, some might even say royally big, portions.
We like to add beer to our food too: to the batter, in the sauce, the marinade, or to cool down a stew before we let it simmer. And we love to have a beer as we eat. Chefs love beer for the huge variety of flavours it can offer.
Beer sharpens the appetite before a meal and has proved to be an equally successful companion to desserts, or just to continue the party. A warning: before you know what’s hit you, you will have become a beerologist, or to use the correct term: a zythologist. You will find out lots more at beertourism.com. Enjoy!
Belgium à La Carte
Belgium doesn’t jump off the world map. It’s that small dot on the North Sea coast, at the same latitude as southern England. Yes, you got it! Between the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Germany and France. We are not a big country but we can make our presence felt. The cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges are known all over the world for their art and architecture.
The fiery city of Liège steered its own course for 1,000 years. Belgium is also home to cycling’s greatest ever legend Eddy Merckx and to the world-ranking tennis players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin. With Rock Werchter and Tomorrowland we host some of the best festivals in the world.
In Bruges time appears to have stood still. You are surrounded by medieval paintings and stunning architecture. Brussels will surprise you with the surrealist paintings of René Magritte and Horta’s art nouveau architecture.
Cartoonist Hergé, the creator of Tintin, is still popular thanks to the thrilling adventures and clean lines of his enduring cartoon hero. The Dardenne brothers are an international hit with their realist cinema.
Toots Thielemans introduced the mouth organ to the world of jazz. 'The Antwerp Six', a cooperative of six designers, conquered the international fashion scene. And of course, author Georges Simenon gave the world his Commissaire Maigret.
Belgium is the country of the begijnhoven, the unique town centre nuns’ communities. The country of the belforts, our proud belfry towers and their beiaarden – what we call carillons, giant instruments using church bells. Our wall-hanging tapestries are some of the best the world have ever seen. The town of Spa gave its name to water and pampering treatments worldwide.
The South and East of our country can take on a surprisingly green mantle. The forests of the Ardennes never cease to amaze whether covered in a wintry carpet, decked out in the fresh green of spring, sighing under a heavy summer sun or displaying a blaze of gorgeous autumn colours.
Belgium is a fascinating country, and it’s all yours to explore. Ever heard of Europe’s hanging gardens, tasted an escavèche or climbed snail mountains? If you want to nibble on waffles from Brussels to Liège and, above all, enjoy our beers, then on beertourism.com you will find a wealth of inspiration.
Editor-in-Chief & Artistic Director at BeerTourism.com
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