Celebrating ten years of the Zythos Beer Festival
Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2014-05-03 21:35:51 +0200 / Last Updated: over 1 year ago
LEUVEN - It’s almost the last weekend in April. The air is sparkling with electricity and beer lovers are on high alert: “Zythos is coming to town!” We’re headed to Leuven for the annual Zythos Beer festival. Zythos is the ancient Greek word for beer and beer connoisseurs can be called Zythologues.
The festival started 10 years ago, modestly enough, in the town of Sint-Niklaas before expanding into its current home at the Brabanthal in Leuven.
In fact, a whole organisation grew up in tandem with the beer festival. Zythos was born in 2003 from "Objectieve Bierproevers" association and is now the umbrella organisation for 45 local beer consumers’ associations, primarily in Flanders.
Malt & Mout in Brussels and Slow Beer Club in Namen are temporary members and they are promoting the movement in the south of the country, where Zythos wants to grow.
The association stands up for the beer lover and wants to offer him or her the chance to discover as wide a range of brews as possible. If, at the Zythos beer festival you come face to face with stands from, at first sight, obscure breweries such as Warsage, Den Herberg, Angerik, Authentique, Den Toetëlèr, Danny or Dijkwaert or you hear fantastic beer names like 'Belle Pinup', 'Red Cardinal', 'Puitenkop' or 'Schapenkop', that is no coincidence.
Zythos does all it can to promote the diversity of Belgian beer culture and its festival is a showcase for many smaller breweries and beer firms that you may struggle to find elsewhere.
Laboratory of taste
“At the Zythos beer festival you’ll find out what is happening in the beer market. And there’s quite a lot going on,” is the opinion of beer ambassador Johan – aka de Wanne – Madelijns. De Wanne is the long-time president of De Lambiekstoempers, a local association from the Pajottenland area that is affiliated to Zythos. He has been taking an active part in the festival for years.
“This is where the brewers like to showcase their newest creations, present a limited edition or try out an experimental brew,” Wanne tells us. “Admittedly, not all of these make the grade, but there is always plenty to discover that does tickle the taste buds.
Some of my own favourites included the Oud Bruin Oak Leaf Edition from Brouwers Verzet, the festive edition from de Keyte van Strubbe, De Leite’s Merci Maman and the Chouffe Soleil on tap made by Brasserie d’Achouffe. But who am I to judge?”
Zythos gives an opportunity to taste a wide range of the latest beers. You’ll find exotic aroma hops; beers emphasising hoppiness and sour and bitter-sour beers; beers matured on wood with influences of whisky, wine, brandy, grappa... all in all, around 500 beers made by over 100 breweries and beer firms. A number of brewers, such as Alvinne and Struise Brouwers, have managed to build their own international communities.
Their fans crowd to the bar to get a chance to taste one of their many creations. So, is this beer festival a platform for larger breweries? Yes, you could say that, but the beer freaks who have descended upon the festival in large numbers are also expecting something out of the ordinary.
You don’t ‘do Zythos’ if all you want is a beer ‘of the common or garden variety’. On the other hand, you don’t have to go to extremes.
Take a look, for example, at the new Rodenbach Rosso (4% ABV), a light variation on the familiar roodbruin beer style from West Flanders blended with fruit juices.
“Blasphemy” some purists will cry. Perhaps, but bear in mind that a light beer such as this, with its characteristic sweet and sour touch, will appeal to a wider and younger audience that might not be tempted by the traditional Rodenbach with its sourer taste.
Also, this broadcasts the message that a new beer does not, by definition, have to be a strong one. In the end it is the taste that counts!
See you all at Zythos 2015.
Leuven Blog Posts
LEUVEN - Hordes of beer lovers are flowing towards Leuven. They come from all around Belgium and far beyond. ‘Zythos’ is an important event in the diary of every beer lover. ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - The Great Belgian Beer Dinner is an annual event for lovers of gastronomy and beer pairing. Last year’s edition was staged the tavern at City Brewery Gruut in Ghent. ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - Big, bigger, biggest... with around 17.000 visitors, it feels like the eleventh Zythos beer festival in Leuven is about to burst at the seams. Once the festival is in full swing, it is imposs ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - As many as 79 Belgian breweries with 200 Belgian beers took part in the third edition of the international Brussels Beer Challenge. There was plenty of international ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - Our passion for a good brew in the glass can make us forget that brewing beer is an important economic activity but Professor Jo Swinnen of Leuven University takes us back to reality. In his ... [ read more ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
KORTRIJK/BELLEGEM - It was in 1892 that Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste opened for business in Bellegem, a village near Kortrijk in West Flanders, close to the French border. Since then, countless... [ more ]
RONGY - In Rongy and all around it, spring is in the air. The fruit trees are in bloom and nature has put on its most beautiful face. I’m on my way to http://belgium.beertourism.com/belgian-breweries/brasserie-d... [ more ]
WESTMALLE - If you order a Westmalle you’re likely to be served with a Tripel. This is no coincidence as this strong blonde Trappist beer now accounts for 75% of the beer output of this http://belgium.beertouris... [ more ]
TONGEREN - After a fifty-year wait the moment has finally arrived. Once again, the city of Tongeren can boast its own brewery and city beers. The story commences with the 2009 Coronation Celebra... [ more ]
ANTWERP - Why would a butcher open a store at a brewery? The question doesn’t throw Luc De Laet, the man who has done just that at the http://belgium.beertourism.com/blog/de-koninck-antwerp-city-brewery-experien... [ more ]
The Adriaen Brouwer Dark Gold is an undoubted degustation beer, based as it is on the 'classic' Adriaen Brouwer - but with an added, in-bottle, fermentation stage slipped into the ... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.