Belgian Beer News
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...
Brouwerij Cornelissen, the tale and the taste
OPITTER - The locals would ask for “de bieren van Opitter” or “the beers from Opitter”, when they ordered a Pax Pils, Ops Ale or Sint-Gummarus. And if you popped into a café, you’d be in Jos’s or Stanke’s in those days when everyone in the village knew everyone else. These days things are a little more official. The brewery that until October 2015 went under the name of Sint-Jozef is now called Brouwerij Cornelissen. It’s a sixth-generation family business, currently run by Jef Cornelissen junior, who follows his namesake father into the top seat. It’s easy to see now what the “JC” on the vintage enamel “bieren van Opitter” sign stands for...
BASECLES - You may not have heard of this little village, halfway between Tournai and Mons. Its former quarries are now filled with water where the black marble that adorns Cologne Cathedral was once hewn; ... [ more ]
MELLE - Alain De Laet, CEO and owner of Brouwerij Huyghe, is a firm believer in the power of the Belgian beer brand around the world. The success of the brewery speaks for itself, with Huyghe be... [ more ]
SOIGNIES - Belgians drink their beer from the correct glass. An abbey beer tastes so much better from a traditional chalice, a pils beer from a pils glass... Only in Belgium, will you come across such a wide variety of b... [ more ]
WESTMALLE - Time appears to stand still in a Trappist abbey like Westmalle. However, appearances can be deceptive - even here the latest technologies are quietly creeping in. The abbey has an up-to-date ... [ more ]
Microbrewery De Hoorn was re-established in 2014. With the launch of its Cornet, Palm Belgian Craft Brewers are harking back to the tradition of oaked beers, where oak is used to c... [ more ]
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