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...
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 ]
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 ]
It’s all in the name. Waterloo Triple Hop, an amber-coloured beer, is brewed with three different kinds of hop: Magnum bitter and two aroma varieties, Cascade and Citra, that in th... [ more ]
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