Belgian Beer News
Val-Dieu, celebrating 800 years of Belgian beer culture
VAL-DIEU - Those monks certainly picked some beautiful spots for their abbeys. The rumble of the busy motorway lies far behind me as I swap the flat northern Belgian landscape for the gently rolling hills of the south. Everywhere I look cows and sheep are wandering around a sea of orchards bordered with hedgerows and criss-crossed by hollow roads. Until, suddenly, that well-known silhouette comes into view with its unmistakable bronze-green spire. Tucked away within all this greenery lies Val-Dieu Abbey, for eight centuries a magnet for pilgrims, and today also a destination for day-trippers, and those who enjoy the good life and good beer. You simply cannot draw your eye away from this monument of the 17th – 18th-century Maasland renaissance, liberally sprinkled with Romanesque and Gothic architectural influences...
Belgian beer culture recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage
BRUSSELS - “We have won the World Cup!” exclaims Sven Gatz, Minister of Culture for Flanders. In his former role as Managing Director of the Federation of Belgian Brewers he immediately lent his support to the initiative to submit an application to UNESCO to have Belgian beer culture recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Several years later the verdict has arrived: Belgium is now officially a world reference when it comes to beer culture. The Federation of Belgian Brewers has its offices on the Grand-Place in Brussels which, by the way, is itself a UNESCO World Heritage site. The moment the decision is made, a media storm ensues. The people behind the project have a microphone thrust into their faces and are eye-to-eye with the camera...
Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques 2016, a touch of wood
CHIMAY/COGNAC - Chimay Bleue stands out as a classic amongst Trappist beers. Nevertheless, its brewer continues to break new ground. The first ‘limited edition’ Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques saw the light in 2015. This beer matures on oak for six months whilst it undergoes a second fermentation, before fermenting in the bottle for a third time. Ever since the launch of the Chimay Bleue, a limited quantity of this brew has been set apart to age in new or used barrels crafted from different varieties of wood. “We experiment and compare the taste evolution of this unfiltered and unpasteurised degustation beer,” Jérôme Goffinet, spokesman for Bières de Chimay, explains...
Brussels Beer Challenge 2016: Belgium holds its own in the beer world
BRUSSELS - For the fifth running of the Brussels Beer Challenge the organisers selected a location steeped in history and prestige. After touring from Brussels to Liège, Leuven and Antwerp, the competition returned to the capital and set up home in one of the city’s most historic buildings, the former Stock Exchange. Where traders once won and lost fortunes on shares, a jury of 80 beer experts spent three days deciding the fortunes of 1,250 beers from 36 countries. The location for this quinquennial celebration has even more resonance, as the former stock exchange is being transformed into the Belgian Beer Palace, an experience centre celebrating the world of Belgian beer. The interactive attraction will open its doors in 2019. Let’s zoom in on the competition results...
The Belgian Beer Book: Tapping into Belgian beer culture
BELGIUM - How do you write an unbiased review of a book that you yourself have written, pouring your entire soul into it? I’ll immediately give up on that impossible task and instead I’ll offer you a peek behind the scenes with a brief making-of account delivered alongside big kudos to my co-author, beer sommelier Luc De Raedemaeker. How do you start a giant project for which your publisher has allowed around six months? And just how do you build up a picture of the almost endless world of Belgian beer culture? We managed it by browsing through piles of stories and wading through mountains of images, selecting some for additional investigation with a clear strategy in mind. Admittedly, we didn’t start entirely from scratch. Luc boasts many years’ experience as a teacher of zythology; he is also the driving force behind the renowned international Brussels Beer Challenge; and, thanks to his travels through the length and breadth of the beer world, he has established an impressive network of friends. And I am always on the ground where the beer news is breaking, visiting tiny, medium-sized and mega breweries to write the stories that you read and take the pictures that accompany them on BeerTourism.com. Luc’s knowledge of brewing techniques is second to none, and he has certainly mastered the art of beer tasting, whereas I try to take the view of the general public...
Our blog is dedicated to every possible aspect of the richly varied world of Belgian beer and brewing. Even if you are a regular visitor you will discover something new every single time you browse the site.
Basically we are an ever expanding online magazine and all our blog articles are retained in our archive. If you missed out on a particular story you will always be able to find it again by clicking ‘blog’ and then ‘older’, or use the blog archive navigation on the right hand side of this page. The site is responsive, so we are mobile friendly and any page can be read on any device.
But what inspires us to find and write all these stories? There are those topics that are tied inseparably to the world of beer. For example, you’ll find articles on basic ingredients like yeast, malt and hops.
And to get our facts right we consult the top experts from Belgium, who have ties to universities and brewing colleges around the world. Some of these specialists go beyond conducting academic research: they produce their own test brews or, on a modest scale, bring beers that had vanished back to life.
We also invite these authorities to share their vision on trends in the beer world and how Belgian brewers are responding to them. We will examine our traditional beer styles: oude geuze, Vlaams roodbruin or gruitbier, as well as the historic abbey and Trappist beers.
Interviews with brewery owners and head brewers are featured regularly. These insiders give you a glimpse into the brewing kettle with added inside knowledge. Such a story may be prompted by the launch of a new beer, the opening of a new brew hall or a brewery expansion.
We will also shine our light on important events such as beer festivals, tours or contests and, of course, on our characteristic café culture. And we’ll feature all these funny stories that explain the origins of quirky beer names. There are always drops of news, whether small or large, to be supped from the beer barrel.
Beer is always the starting point for this blog. But we also like to take a peek over the brewery wall to the rich worlds of Belgian cheeses and chocolate, both of which happen to be taste even better with a good glass of beer.
We introduce you to Belgian food, often paired or cooked with beer and regional products such as ham from the Ardennes, freshly harvested hop shoots and paté made with hops from the Westhoek region.
We also like to establish links that are perhaps less evident: meat and beer for example. Or we will compile an entire gastronomic menu for you, recommending a beer with every course, something we like to call beerstronomy®.
Every now and again we’ll hazard a step into a different world, but one that is close to that of beer: whisky and other spirits; some brewers happen to be distillers as well.
If you think of breweries and beer, tourism springs to mind. Many cycle trails and hiking paths are named after beers or breweries. We will cover important events like the carnaval festivities held all around the country and put our spotlight on local folklore like the Ducasse in Mons of Ath. After all, wherever there is a feast, the beer will flow.
Finally, we will place beers in the context of their city or region of origin. Orval, for example, cannot be understood without understanding the Gaume region in the southernmost corner of Belgium.
This blog continues to grow, just like the rest of our website. Pop in from time to time to discover yet another aspect of the rich beer culture to be found throughout Belgium.
BRUSSELS - “We have won the World Cup!” exclaims Sven Gatz, Minister of Culture for Flanders. In his former role as Managing Director of the Federation of Belgian Brewers he immediately lent his ... [ more ]
CHIMAY/COGNAC - Chimay Bleue stands out as a classic amongst Trappist beers. Nevertheless, its brewer continues to break new ground. The first ‘limited edition’ Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques saw the light <... [ more ]
BRUSSELS - For the fifth running of the Brussels Beer Challenge the organisers selected a location steeped in history and prestige. After touring from Brussels... [ more ]
St. Louis Premium Framboise is a fruit beer based on traditional geuze lambiek. During the brewing process 25% juice is added, produced from Willamette raspberries. Before the ... [ more ]
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