Belgian Beer News
The Ambierorix beer festival in Tongeren parties for its 10th birthday
TONGEREN - "Am-bier-orix". Tongeren’s annual beer festival is the undisputed champion in the most difficult name competition. In Belgium we learnt about Tongeren at school. The oldest city in the country grew out of a Roman settlement, was surrounded by tumuli (Roman burial mounds), and defensive walls, most of which remain standing to this day. The punning name of the festival is soon shortened to the more familiar, Ambiorix, the name of the legendary leader of the Eburones tribe, who destroyed a Roman legion in 54BC and somehow managed to escape the resulting anger of Julius Caesar. These days you can admire this ancient Belgian warrior in all his splendour in the Grote Markt, the city’s impressive market square...
Brunehaut, from the field to the brewhouse
RONGY - A sense of terroir permeates the village of Rongy, nestling amongst the wheat fields and fruit orchards that spread as far as the eye can see. Brasserie de Brunehaut has taken up the torch of a former, traditional village brewery. It stays ‘close to the source’ and, wherever possible, works with ingredients from the local area. And the Brunehaut range of beers is organic and gluten-free. Soon their St Martin abbey beers will be produced in an organic way too. “The first recognised abbey beers to carry a ‘bio label’, or an organic label”, brewery owner Marc-Antoine De Mees tells us...
Westmalle… where Trappists say “Cheese”
WESTMALLE - Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel are iconic Trappist beers. The popularity of the beers makes people almost forget that these monks also produce a tasty cheese. Westmalle Abbey is built on moorland which is quite bleak and not very productive from an agricultural point of view. However, throughout the years and by sheer virtue of hard work, the monks established fields and meadows that now cover around 300 hectares. This has enabled two hundred dairy cows to be grazed which are mainly from two breeds: Groningse Blaarkop and Brown Swiss. These cattle varieties are not generally known for their high milk production; however, the milk they do produce on the monks’ lush meadows is of a very high quality...
Bourgogne des Flandres is back in Bruges
BRUGES - After years of wandering, Bourgogne des Flandres has once again found a permanent home in Burgundian Bruges. This beer left the city when Bruges brewery Den Os closed its doors in 1957 and ended up finding a home with lambic brewery Timmermans, joining The Finest Beer Selection of the Anthony Martin Group. Bourgogne des Flandres is a ‘cut beer’ (a blended beer), in this case a blend of a young brown top-fermented beer and a lambic matured on oak for over a year. “We are brewing the top-fermented beer right here in our brand new microbrewery,” Bruges brewer Thomas Vandelanotte tells us with justified pride. “The mother beer ferments in open basins, just like in ancient times. This prompts the yeast to develop more fruity esters (that form the basis for aromas developed later on in the process).” We are strolling through the brewhall in the attic...
Belgian beer and food pairing, what's the deal? (2)
ANTWERP - Today, we are meeting up for a second tasting session in this beer and food pairing series at ‘t Zilte restaurant, the proud owner of two Michelin stars, perched high above the Flemish city of Antwerp. We are sampling beers in the company of chef Viki Geunes, his sommelier Aaron Moeraert, Mieke Dockx of restaurant Marie in Antwerp, Piet Vannieuwenhuyse, the former manager of Dock’s Café also in Antwerp, Thomas Debelder of the 3 Fonteinen restaurant (the house restaurant of the eponymous lambic brewery) in Beersel and Cas Goossens and Hans Lachi, both from Antwerp restaurant De Rooden Hoed. This tasting is a good reminder that good beers can really blow you away and that the margins between beer and wine, or even beer and sherry, can be rather vague. Viki Geunes had a hand in the development of the Rodenbach Caractère Rouge and Vintage and was also responsible for Arthur’s Legacy by Viki - produced by the De Hoorn microbrewery - which is a zesty triple based on Cornet. Does Viki share the opinion of many of his colleagues: that a beer has to be quite powerful, both in the kitchen and at the table? “My considered opinion is that yes, it has to,” he answers, “now that we have a lighter and more delicate cuisine, we are looking for concentrated tastes. Alcohol can play a role in this.” We try the Strandgaper from the Schelde Brewery...
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.
TONGEREN - "Am-bier-orix". Tongeren’s annual beer festival is the undisputed champion in the most difficult name competition. In Belgium we learnt about Tongeren at school. The http:... [ more ]
RONGY - A sense of terroir permeates the village of Rongy, nestling amongst the wheat fields and fruit orchards that spread as far as the eye can see. Brasserie de Brunehaut has taken up the torch of a former, ... [ more ]
WESTMALLE - Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel are iconic Trappist beers. The popularity of the beers makes people almost forget that these monks also produce a tasty cheese. http://belgium.... [ more ]
La Divine is a beer that was created by Silly upon request. A beer distributor from Battice, in the area of Liege, had found an old local recipe. He asked Brasserie de Silly to pro... [ more ]
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