Belgian Beer News
Time for Liège
LIEGE - Behind the imposing Palais des Princes-Evêques (the Prince-Bishops’ Palace) at Place Saint-Lambert, the city of Liège reaches dizzying heights. The citadel on the hill is a maze of alleyways, stepped streets, terraces and gardens. An invigorating climb rewards me with endless panoramas over the Fiery City (La Cité Ardente) and in this green oasis all the clamour of the streets fades into nothing. Just a ten-minute walk and the city’s hubbub has given way to the quiet outdoors. Standing in front of the majestic Palais des Princes-Evêques in the heart of Liège you feel the weight of 1,000 years of history. Generations of Prince-Bishops made their mark on the building, adding elements of gothic and renaissance architecture and then their revived ‘neo’ styles...
Belgian brewers victorious in Brussels Beer Challenge
BRUSSELS - The second Brussels Beer Challenge was an unqualified success for Belgian brewers. Sixty-eight Belgian breweries took part and they submitted 139 samples for tasting. Belgium was rewarded with 66 medals (20 Gold, 15 Silver, 16 Bronze and 15 Commendations). We were joined on the winners’ podium by the Americans with 36 medals and the Italians who won 26 medals. All the beers submitted for entry were tasted by professional tasters from the host nation, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, the USA, Estonia, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and the UK. The 54-strong international jury was divided into nine groups, each judging beers of a particular style...
Belgian beer shops: Prik & Tik Marlou
ZONHOVEN/HASSELT - Drinks specialist Prik & Tik "Marlou" in Zonhoven near Hasselt is the type of shop that will feature in the dreams of any beer lover. “We have 1,000 Belgian beers in store, 400 in large bottles; that is unique,” manager Linda proudly tells us. Her father started up the wholesale business in 1967 and she took over in 1986. “We were the first wholesaler of specialty beers in the province of Limburg,” Linda informs us. “To begin with, the business was contractually tied to the Haacht brewery. At that time we were selling mainly pils and specialty beers...
Belgian beer experts: Hedwig Neven & Duvel-Moortgat
PUURS - It’s a Friday morning at the Duvel Moortgat brewery. I have had to wait for an interview but I now find myself face-to-face with Head Brewer Hedwig Neven, who has been working here for 20 years. The coffee – darn! – is ready. I have just learnt that this Belgian brewery has taken over American microbrewery Boulevard Brewery from Kansas. ‘Microbrewery’ is a relative term as the Boulevard Brewery is five times the size of the Ommegang Brewery, in New York State, Duvel Moortgat’s first venture into the American market. Hedwig Neven remains stoically calm: “The first half year, I will be backwards and forwards a lot to the US.” Duvel Moortgat strings its breweries together like beads: Achouffe, Liefmans, De Koninck, Ommegang, Boulevard… “I think we now have over a 100 beers in our portfolio,” Hedwig tells me...
Pays des Collines… donkeys and witches brew
Beyond Geraardsbergen and Ronse undulates the Pays des Collines, a green oasis in North Hainaut. Château des Mottes lies within this nature reserve and this is also where Marie Tack set up her donkey breeding farm. I follow the country road from Lessines to Frasnes-les-Buissenal. In a flash I see a farmer harnessing his horse so he can clear trees from the wood and time seems to halt for a few seconds. ‘Ezelstoeterij’ reads the sign showing the way to the estate. The brickwork of this pretty little castle dates from 1501, its fundations from the 11th century...
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 ]
BRUSSELS - To be authentic is not a competition and neither is it a fashionable attitude. You either are an authentic brewer or you are not. You are driven, you make great beers that have a soul, you have a good story to... [ more ]
Belgium is proud of its abbey beers and their centuries-old tradition. These include the beers brewed by Val-Dieu, near Liège. The current brewers were inspired by the traditional ... [ more ]
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