Belgian Beer News
Anthony Martin, a Belgian brewer with British roots
GENVAL - It’s 1909 when John Martin, a Brit, makes his home in Antwerp, earning his living by provisioning sailing vessels. Before long John’s deliveries are heading onto the ships of the Red Star Line, a passenger carrier used by the millions of people who set sail from the City on the Scheldt to the metropolis of New York across the water. One hundred years later, Anthony Martin’s Finest Drinks is the oldest global distributor of the world’s most famous Irish dry stout, the legendary 'Black Stuff'. “Did you know that we produce a stronger Guinness Export especially for the Belgian market?” asks the company’s CEO, Anthony Martin, with a laugh. From first importing and bottling beers, the company diversified into brewing. In 1993 they took over Timmermans in Dilbeek, the oldest lambic brewery in the world...
Brussels Beer Challenge 2017, the results are in!
NAMUR - At the 6th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge, hosted this year by the city of Namur, Belgium once again lived up to its cast-iron reputation as one of the most important beer countries in the world. “Belgium still reigns when it comes to classic Belgian styles including Abbey/Trappist Style Blond ales, Tripels, Strong Blonde ales, Saison, Flemish red-brown, Gueuze...,” Luc De Raedemaeker, the organiser, assures us. “Large as well as small family-owned breweries have scooped awards.” With 58 entries, the classic Belgian Tripel remains immensely popular. IPAs from all corners of the globe were also strongly represented and so were wood-matured beers, 60 of which were submitted for judging. The new kid on the block is Italian Grape Ale; the missing link between beer and wine. No fewer than 85 internationally renowned beer connoisseurs spent three days tasting 1,512 beers from 37 countries...
Hop picking time at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers!
STEENHUFFEL - The annual hop harvest at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers is truly a festival of and for the people. We survey the busy crowds on the last Sunday in August in the hop field in the shadow of the brewery, looking across to Diepensteyn Castle, home to the stud farm where the famous Brabant draft horses – a Belgian equivalent of the British shire horse – are bred. The hop field covers 0.35 hectares (0.86 acres) on which around 3,000 hop vines, all of the Hallertau mittelfrüh variety, have been grown since 2012. The thirsty hop pickers pause to enjoy a Palm Hop Select, Palm, Palm Royale or alcohol-free Palm - those in the know are aware that the Palm Hop Select is brewed with freshly picked hop cones from these very fields. Under a blistering sun, brewery staff drag hop vines that can be several metres long to the 800 hop pickers who join the harvest to scrape the cones off the vines. Overflowing baskets are emptied into bags and transferred just around the corner to the De Hoorn microbrewery...
Lindemix... the art of blending Lambic by Lindemans
VLEZENBEEK/DILBEEK - It is often said that lambics are only for those with an experienced palate. At Brouwerij Lindemans, one of Belgium’s favourite brewers of this traditional style, they beg to differ. Helping them make this popularising point are their Lindemix beer cocktails. These accessible drinks go down well even with non-beer drinkers. And should those non-beer drinkers take a look under the bonnet of what they are drinking then they’ll be introduced to the rich world of aromas and tastes that are hidden behind the simple name, ‘beer’. The range was on show at the Toer de Geuze this year; a weekend-long celebration of gueuze country, to the west of Brussels, during which several breweries open their doors to the public...
Omer Vander Ghinste celebrates 125 years of brewing craftsmanship
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 glasses of classic Flemish red-brown ale have flowed out of the company’s oak foeders, the big wooden barrels that are so characteristic of traditional Belgian brewing. But Omer Vander Ghinste hasn’t just preserved a tradition, it’s expanded both in size and in the variety of beers it produces. In 2010 the brewery pumped out 5 million litres of beer; this year it will be 9 million. In the same seven-year period, turnover more than doubled to €23 million euros. It’s a brewery with a strong connection to its home region, managing 250 cafés around Kortrijk, Ypres and Ghent, while exports, at 10% of production, are quite modest...
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.
GENVAL - It’s 1909 when John Martin, a Brit, makes his home in Antwerp, earning his living by provisioning sailing vessels. Before long John’s deliveries are heading onto the ships of the Red Star Line, ... [ more ]
NAMUR - At the 6th edition of the Brussels Beer Challenge, hosted this year by the city of Namur, Belgium once again lived up to its cast-iron reputation as one of the most important beer countries in the world. ... [ more ]
STEENHUFFEL - The annual hop harvest at Palm Belgian Craft Brewers is truly a festival of and for the people. We survey the busy crowds on the last Sunday in August in the hop field in the shadow of the ... [ more ]
VLEZENBEEK/DILBEEK - It is often said that lambics are only for those with an experienced palate. At Brouwerij Lindemans, one of Belgium’s favourite brewers of this traditional style, they beg to differ. ... [ more ]
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 ]
The St. Louis Kriek Lambic is a traditionally produced kriekenlambiek. It is different from the St. Louis Premium Kriek in that, instead of krieken juice, a proportion of 15% of re... [ more ]
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