Christmas beer: 'Tis the season to get jolly...
ANTWERP/ESSEN - The trees are clad in the most vivid colours imaginable and the first strong gust of wind ... [ more ]
Erik's Highlights: Having a beer at the source
What could be better than a café that brews its own beer? Somewhere where you can see the brewer feeding the k ... [ more ]
Going for gold: Brussels Beer Challenge 2014
LEUVEN - As many as 79 Belgian breweries with 200 Belgian beers took part in the third edition of the internation ... [ more ]
Chimay cheese: it's all about taste, character and tradition
CHIMAY - If you have a good product, there is no need to shout it from the rooftops, it will speak for itself. Th ... [ more ]
Manuscript, one year on from its launch as a Beer Tourism Café
OSTEND - One year ago, the Manuscript café in Langestraat, Ostend, outed itself as a Beer Tourism Café. <b ... [ more ]
Following on from the amber ale of Bush Ambrée, and the darker seasonal brew of the Bush de Noël, the Bush Blonde (Scaldis) formed a natural complement, when first introduced to the Bush range back in 1998. That year was the 65th anniversary of Dubui... [ more ]
What the Wilderen brewery has achieved in the space of just a few years is vey impressive indeed. In 2012 they were runners-up in the Vlaamse monumentenprijs competition (Flemish Monuments Awards), which was the crowning glor... [ more ]
This is your basic guide to contemporary day-to-day Belgian cuisine. Not every dish here is 100% authentic but they all are an indispensable part of Belgium’s culinary culture. You’ll find them served at many local restaurants, bistros and brasse... [ 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, travel and tourism guide for visitors to Tongeren in Limburg. Information about where to eat, drink beer and visit in and around Tongeren.[ 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... ]
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 tourism visitors guide to Namur. Details of tourist attractions, where to eat, sleep and drink when visiting Namur.[ more... ]
Travel and beer guide for the Belgian coastal city of Nieuwpoort. Information about where to eat, drink, stay and things to do when visiting Nieuwpoort.[ more... ]
Beer, travel and tourism guide for the picturesque city of Durbuy in the Ardennes. Things to see, do, where to stay, eat and drink when visiting Durbuy.[ more... ]
Travel and beer guide for the Belgian coastal city of Ostend (Oostende). Information about where to eat, drink, stay and things to do when visiting Ostend.[ more... ]
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Peter Goldsmith (UK)
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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