Belgian Beer News
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...
Best of Belgium Beer & Bites pops up at Brussels Airport
BRUSSELS/ZAVENTEM - This year Brussels Airport is 60 years young! The airport is planning to mark this milestone by showcasing the very best of Belgian produce, which would not be complete without chocolate and of course, beer. This is a great opportunity to show off the very best of our products, the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries quickly realised. Between 17 September and 7 December their ‘World Beer Award winners’ Cornet, Rodenbach Grand Cru and Brugge Tripel are stealing the show at the Best of Belgium Beer & Bites pop-up zone located in the duty-free area of the airport. The beers are served in small, 18cl tasting glasses. The snacks served on the side show the signature of Viki Geunes, chef at Antwerp restaurant ‘t Zilte, winner of two Michelin stars. Viki has been collaborating with these breweries for over ten years and knows their beers inside out...
Trappist beer meets whisky, Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018
At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. The new, elegant tasting glasses bearing the ancient insignia of the famous abbey arrive, and the ceremony can begin. The tulip-shaped vessels protect the scents of this fragrant beer beautifully, while the lily engraved on the bottom of the glass produces a splendid head of froth. The three rings engraved on the long stem refer to the triple fermentation process: in tank, in wood, and in bottle. A dark beer hides under a creamy, frothy head, releasing hints of wood, pear and plums in the nose. The taste is coloured by impressions of bread crusts, roasted and smoky touches, and a hint of honey and vanilla...
Palm and Rodenbach - now under the banner of Swinkels Family Brewers
LIESHOUT/STEENHUFFEL - Since 2016 the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries have been owned by Bavaria, a Dutch-based brewer. Two years after the takeover, Bavaria has been re-named Swinkels Family Brewers (SFB) to emphasise its position as an independent family brewery. Swinkels Family Brewers is the umbrella name for six breweries, two malt works and 26 brands overall. Jan-Renier Swinkels, CEO, proudly states that one of the largest family businesses in Europe has roots that go back 300 years. So, how are Palm and Rodenbach doing? Palm, Cornet and Rodenbach are part of the Swinkels Family Brewers international family which comprises eight brands. The new owner is investing in infrastructure, innovation and in the brand portfolio...
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.
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 ]
BRUSSELS/ZAVENTEM - This year Brussels Airport is 60 years young! The airport is planning to mark this milestone by showcasing the very best of Belgian produce, which would not be complete without ... [ more ]
At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. T... [ more ]
LIESHOUT/STEENHUFFEL - Since 2016 the Palm, De Hoorn and Rodenbach breweries have been owned by Bavaria, a Dutch-based brewer. Two years after the takeover, Bavaria has been re-named Swinkels Family ... [ more ]
The Houblon Chouffe is a crossover beer – a Belgian interpretation of the India Pale Ale (IPA), a beer style originating in England. Extra hops were added to these ales, to make s... [ more ]
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