Belgian Beer News
Val-Dieu, celebrating 800 years of Belgian beer culture
VAL-DIEU - Those monks certainly picked some beautiful spots for their abbeys. The rumble of the busy motorway lies far behind me as I swap the flat northern Belgian landscape for the gently rolling hills of the south. Everywhere I look cows and sheep are wandering around a sea of orchards bordered with hedgerows and criss-crossed by hollow roads. Until, suddenly, that well-known silhouette comes into view with its unmistakable bronze-green spire. Tucked away within all this greenery lies Val-Dieu Abbey, for eight centuries a magnet for pilgrims, and today also a destination for day-trippers, and those who enjoy the good life and good beer. You simply cannot draw your eye away from this monument of the 17th – 18th-century Maasland renaissance, liberally sprinkled with Romanesque and Gothic architectural influences...
Belgian beer culture recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage
BRUSSELS - “We have won the World Cup!” exclaims Sven Gatz, Minister of Culture for Flanders. In his former role as Managing Director of the Federation of Belgian Brewers he immediately lent his support to the initiative to submit an application to UNESCO to have Belgian beer culture recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Several years later the verdict has arrived: Belgium is now officially a world reference when it comes to beer culture. The Federation of Belgian Brewers has its offices on the Grand-Place in Brussels which, by the way, is itself a UNESCO World Heritage site. The moment the decision is made, a media storm ensues. The people behind the project have a microphone thrust into their faces and are eye-to-eye with the camera...
Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques 2016, a touch of wood
CHIMAY/COGNAC - Chimay Bleue stands out as a classic amongst Trappist beers. Nevertheless, its brewer continues to break new ground. The first ‘limited edition’ Chimay Grande Réserve Vieillie en Barriques saw the light in 2015. This beer matures on oak for six months whilst it undergoes a second fermentation, before fermenting in the bottle for a third time. Ever since the launch of the Chimay Bleue, a limited quantity of this brew has been set apart to age in new or used barrels crafted from different varieties of wood. “We experiment and compare the taste evolution of this unfiltered and unpasteurised degustation beer,” Jérôme Goffinet, spokesman for Bières de Chimay, explains...
Brussels Beer Challenge 2016: Belgium holds its own in the beer world
BRUSSELS - For the fifth running of the Brussels Beer Challenge the organisers selected a location steeped in history and prestige. After touring from Brussels to Liège, Leuven and Antwerp, the competition returned to the capital and set up home in one of the city’s most historic buildings, the former Stock Exchange. Where traders once won and lost fortunes on shares, a jury of 80 beer experts spent three days deciding the fortunes of 1,250 beers from 36 countries. The location for this quinquennial celebration has even more resonance, as the former stock exchange is being transformed into the Belgian Beer Palace, an experience centre celebrating the world of Belgian beer. The interactive attraction will open its doors in 2019. Let’s zoom in on the competition results...
The Belgian Beer Book: Tapping into Belgian beer culture
BELGIUM - How do you write an unbiased review of a book that you yourself have written, pouring your entire soul into it? I’ll immediately give up on that impossible task and instead I’ll offer you a peek behind the scenes with a brief making-of account delivered alongside big kudos to my co-author, beer sommelier Luc De Raedemaeker. How do you start a giant project for which your publisher has allowed around six months? And just how do you build up a picture of the almost endless world of Belgian beer culture? We managed it by browsing through piles of stories and wading through mountains of images, selecting some for additional investigation with a clear strategy in mind. Admittedly, we didn’t start entirely from scratch. Luc boasts many years’ experience as a teacher of zythology; he is also the driving force behind the renowned international Brussels Beer Challenge; and, thanks to his travels through the length and breadth of the beer world, he has established an impressive network of friends. And I am always on the ground where the beer news is breaking, visiting tiny, medium-sized and mega breweries to write the stories that you read and take the pictures that accompany them on BeerTourism.com. Luc’s knowledge of brewing techniques is second to none, and he has certainly mastered the art of beer tasting, whereas I try to take the view of the general public...
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 ]
The Saint-Martin abbey beers are heirs to the former Abbey of Saint-Martin in Doornik (Tournai), one of the oldest cities in Belgium. The abbey was founded many centuries ago and c... [ more ]
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