Belgian Beer News
Brussels Beer Challenge 2019, and the winners are...
BRUSSELS/MONS - We’ve made our way down to the historic city of Mons (Bergen) for the eighth edition of the international Brussels Beer Challenge. A 90-strong jury is busy tasting; there are four morning sessions in a row. They have to judge no fewer than 1,650 beers from 40 countries in a tightly orchestrated contest. ‘Super-professional!’, exclaims an American jury member in jubilant tones. For the statisticians amongst us: 377 beers come from Belgium, 176 from Italy, 170 are from the United States, 163 from the Netherlands, 158 from France, 121 from China and 101 were brewed in Brazil. The most popular beer styles are, by far, IPA and lager followed by tripel and barrel-aged beers...
Brugge Tripel contributes to renovation of Burgundian chapel of worship
BRUGES - This city draws you back in time to the heydays of the Burgundian era. After years of renovation works the Gruuthusemuseum has re-opened its doors. This former city palace is the showcase for a unique collection of tapestries, paintings, documents from the archives, lace and silverware from the late Middle Ages. The jewel in the crown is the chapel of prayer (1472) commissioned by Lodewijk Van Gruuthuse. This chapel connects the palace with Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (the Church of Our Dear Lady). The authentic character of this place of devotion has largely remained intact...
Brewers of Europe Forum 2019: Craftsmanship on the old continent
ANTWERP - Brewers from 59 different countries flocked to attend the Brewers of Europe Forum 2019 in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall, right next to the renowned Antwerp Central Station building. , technicians, brewing engineers and experts in the field of hops, malts and fermentation are gathering at the EBC Symposium staged in conjunction with the Forum. Straight away, President Pavlos Photiades evokes the dynamic nature of the European brewing world. “Every week, around 20 microbreweries see the light. Microbreweries now account for one third of the total number of 9,500 breweries in Europe”. Jean-François van Boxmeer, CEO of Heineken, signals their impact on consumer trends: “we are drinking less, but better.” Johan Van Dyck of the Antwerp Brewing Company (Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie) is in agreement: “Craft brewers have prevented beer from turning into a commodity, appealed to new target groups and contributed to raise the status of beer to ‘premium’.” Having said all that, we should not overestimate the influence of the craft brewers...
Craftsmanship and balance at brewery Van Steenberge
ERTVELDE - To track down a brewer within his own domain is a high-ranking form of sports, or that’s the impression I get. After a bit of practice I spot Jef Versele, CEO of the Van Steenberge brewery, well hidden amongst a forest of cold storage tanks. It’s not hard to see why he is in this particular area. “We have made considerable investments in quality,” he explains. “To the tune of 13 million euros for the cold block; we also spent 5 million euros on the bottling plant and one million euros on water management...” I am impressed by the face-lift but Jef is modesty personified. “My grandfather was a real visionary,” he remembers...
Brussels Beer Challenge 2018 - The results!
MECHELEN - The historic city of Mechelen, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp, is truly a hidden gem. The presence of the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled here in the late middle ages, still permeates the ancient city centre. City palaces, beguinages, churches and a cathedral testify to the wealth that spread around the city in those days. Here, musicians train to be a carillonneur and not far away, ancient tapestries from around the world are awaiting restoration by Royal Manufacturers De Wit. Beer lovers know the way to historic city brewery Het Anker, located just on the edge of the beguinage. And this year, 80 experts are flocking towards the Lamot building, a former pils brewery on the banks of the river Dijle, to take part in the 7th edition of the international beer contest known as the Brussels Beer Challenge...
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/MONS - We’ve made our way down to the historic city of Mons (Bergen) for the eighth edition of the international Brussels Beer Challenge. A 90-strong jury is busy tasting; there are four morning sessions in a ro... [ more ]
BRUGES - This city draws you back in time to the heydays of the Burgundian era. After years of renovation works the Gruuthusemuseum has re-opened its doors. This former city palace is the showca... [ more ]
ANTWERP - Brewers from 59 different countries flocked to attend the Brewers of Europe Forum 2019 in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall, right next to the renowned Antwerp Central Station building. ... [ more ]
ERTVELDE - To track down a brewer within his own domain is a high-ranking form of sports, or that’s the impression I get. After a bit of practice I spot Jef Versele, CEO of the Van Steenberge brewery, well hidden amongst... [ more ]
MECHELEN - The historic city of Mechelen, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp, is truly a hidden gem. The presence of the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled here in the late middle ages, still permeates the ancient city centr... [ more ]
Donker is the genuine flagship of the “Kasteel” range. Brewed since 1989 and the first, original Kasteel beer. The name is a clear reference to Ingelmunster castle owned by the Van... [ more ]
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