TONGEREN - Every year, under the approving gaze of the leader of the ancient Belgic tribe Ambiorix, Tongeren’s Grote Markt becomes one massive pub for one weekend in August. Around 30 brewers showcase their beers at the 'Bierfestival', organised by Brouwerij Anders.
Every weekend, somewhere in our country, you’ll be able to taste beer at some fair or festival. Tongeren is no exception. The main difference with other festivals is that Brouwerij Anders focuses on small breweries and beer firms.
And the success of this formula is born out by the number of visitors the festival attracts: just a few years after launch, the magic threshold of 10,000 enthusiastic beer lovers was exceeded this year.
These beer lovers are not only from Belgium; you can hear beer being ordered and discussed not only in Dutch, English and French but also in Italian and even in more far-flung Slavic or Scandinavian languages. More than ever, Belgian beer is popular abroad.
Organiser Bart Durlet of Brouwerij Anders is a happy man: “Year on year the beer festival offers the chance to 30 smaller breweries and beer firms to present their products in an attractive location. Tongeren’s Grote Markt certainly fits that bill.”
This weekend is the ideal opportunity for brewer to meet beer lover and discuss the brews on offer. The number of participating producers is deliberately kept small so that every visitor gets the chance to visit as many brewers’ stands as possible.
Visitors get a journey of beer discovery with new surprises every year. At Tongeren, Brouwerij Anders launched its new IPA as well as its Limbiorix, a blond beer that uses only Belgian hops.
However, the true beer lovers come along to taste the specialties, the beers you’d be hard pushed to find anywhere else. At the stand of the Bree-based BOM Brewery you could taste just such an exclusive product: their Triporteur from 'Heaven' and from 'Hell'. What makes this brewery totally unique is that they are the only producer in the world to bake their malt.
Another beer that was introduced to a wider audience at Tongeren was La Cress. This amber-coloured beer is produced using the seeds of watercress, a plant that is grown in vast quantities in Lauw, a village in the Parish of Tongeren.
Bart Durlet and Davy Daniëls of Brouwerij Anders were very happy with the outcome of the Festival’s 2013 outing and were quick to predict that next year will be even better. Something to look forward to.