Belgian Beer News
Brunehaut, from the field to the brewhouse
RONGY - A sense of terroir permeates the village of Rongy, nestling amongst the wheat fields and fruit orchards that spread as far as the eye can see. Brasserie de Brunehaut has taken up the torch of a former, traditional village brewery. It stays ‘close to the source’ and, wherever possible, works with ingredients from the local area. And the Brunehaut range of beers is organic and gluten-free. Soon their St Martin abbey beers will be produced in an organic way too. “The first recognised abbey beers to carry a ‘bio label’, or an organic label”, brewery owner Marc-Antoine De Mees tells us...
Westmalle… where Trappists say “Cheese”
WESTMALLE - Westmalle Dubbel and Tripel are iconic Trappist beers. The popularity of the beers makes people almost forget that these monks also produce a tasty cheese. Westmalle Abbey is built on moorland which is quite bleak and not very productive from an agricultural point of view. However, throughout the years and by sheer virtue of hard work, the monks established fields and meadows that now cover around 300 hectares. This has enabled two hundred dairy cows to be grazed which are mainly from two breeds: Groningse Blaarkop and Brown Swiss. These cattle varieties are not generally known for their high milk production; however, the milk they do produce on the monks’ lush meadows is of a very high quality...
Bourgogne des Flandres is back in Bruges
BRUGES - After years of wandering, Bourgogne des Flandres has once again found a permanent home in Burgundian Bruges. This beer left the city when Bruges brewery Den Os closed its doors in 1957 and ended up finding a home with lambic brewery Timmermans, joining The Finest Beer Selection of the Anthony Martin Group. Bourgogne des Flandres is a ‘cut beer’ (a blended beer), in this case a blend of a young brown top-fermented beer and a lambic matured on oak for over a year. “We are brewing the top-fermented beer right here in our brand new microbrewery,” Bruges brewer Thomas Vandelanotte tells us with justified pride. “The mother beer ferments in open basins, just like in ancient times. This prompts the yeast to develop more fruity esters (that form the basis for aromas developed later on in the process).” We are strolling through the brewhall in the attic...
Belgian beer and food pairing, what's the deal? (2)
ANTWERP - Today, we are meeting up for a second tasting session in this beer and food pairing series at ‘t Zilte restaurant, the proud owner of two Michelin stars, perched high above the Flemish city of Antwerp. We are sampling beers in the company of chef Viki Geunes, his sommelier Aaron Moeraert, Mieke Dockx of restaurant Marie in Antwerp, Piet Vannieuwenhuyse, the former manager of Dock’s Café also in Antwerp, Thomas Debelder of the 3 Fonteinen restaurant (the house restaurant of the eponymous lambic brewery) in Beersel and Cas Goossens and Hans Lachi, both from Antwerp restaurant De Rooden Hoed. This tasting is a good reminder that good beers can really blow you away and that the margins between beer and wine, or even beer and sherry, can be rather vague. Viki Geunes had a hand in the development of the Rodenbach Caractère Rouge and Vintage and was also responsible for Arthur’s Legacy by Viki - produced by the De Hoorn microbrewery - which is a zesty triple based on Cornet. Does Viki share the opinion of many of his colleagues: that a beer has to be quite powerful, both in the kitchen and at the table? “My considered opinion is that yes, it has to,” he answers, “now that we have a lighter and more delicate cuisine, we are looking for concentrated tastes. Alcohol can play a role in this.” We try the Strandgaper from the Schelde Brewery...
Belgian beer and food pairing, what's the deal? (1)
ELLEZELLES - Put several brewers and chefs around the same table, get them to taste a few beers and soon you will have a heated discussion! Jean-Baptiste and Christophe Thomaes of Le Château du Mylord, a restaurant awarded with two Michelin stars, invited their colleagues to a beer tasting. Around the table there was an enormous amount of experience and knowledge about beer and food. There was Eric Martin from Lemonnier in Lavaux Ste-Anne, Laurent Martin from La Frairie in Perwez, Eric Fernez from the two-star-winning Eugénie à Emilie, brasserie Le Faitout and café La Marelle in Baudour. The brewers were represented by Marc Lemay from Brasserie Dubuisson and Charles and Bruno Delroisse from La Frasnoise. Catherine and Antoine Malingret of Ca Brasse Pour Moi in Boussu are beer traders who are planning to start up their own brewing operation. Muriel Lombard and Marjorie Elich voice the opinion of women with La Bière des Femmes...
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 ]
LEUVEN - 12,500 fans made their way to Leuven for what was already the 15th edition of the Zythos beer festival. Many fans travelled a long way to get to Belgium. They flocked here from many European ... [ more ]
MARCHE-EN-FAMENNE - “Their cuisine is on a par with that of the French and the portions are generous...” When people discuss the Belgian art of living, it won’t be long before the term ‘Burgundian’ ... [ more ]
BRUGES - Eleven years ago it all started off on quite a modest scale in the medieval town hall of Bruges, under the imposing gaze of the Belfry. Now, in 2018, the Bruges Beer Festival has spread its wings and encompasses... [ more ]
Monks have made an important contribution to the success of Belgian beers. Unlike the majority of their historical contemporaries, they were literate, and thus able to document the... [ more ]
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