Belgian Beer News
North Sea Beer Festival’s second successful showing
OSTEND - For the last weekend of August, Ostend moves its location to the shores of the ‘beer sea’ as Belgian breweries, local restaurants and food trucks pull out all the stops for the annual North Sea Beer Festival. The sun clocked in and did overtime for the event, after a summer in which it seemed to be on a break and the green spaces of the Leopoldpark made a great backdrop for the festival. In Belgium, a mix of tasty beer and good company makes a scintillating, and very moreish, cocktail. The North Sea Beer Festival was premiered in 2015 but it is already a firm fixture in the busy entertainment calendar of the Belgian seaside, growing into a phenomenon with an international reputation. The passion of beer fans never ceases to amaze us. Throughout the three days of the festival you kept seeing the same faces who had come from far and wide to the city by the sea...
The Ambierorix beer festival in Tongeren parties for its 10th birthday
TONGEREN - "Am-bier-orix". Tongeren’s annual beer festival is the undisputed champion in the most difficult name competition. In Belgium we learnt about Tongeren at school. The oldest city in the country grew out of a Roman settlement, was surrounded by tumuli (Roman burial mounds), and defensive walls, most of which remain standing to this day. The punning name of the festival is soon shortened to the more familiar, Ambiorix, the name of the legendary leader of the Eburones tribe, who destroyed a Roman legion in 54BC and somehow managed to escape the resulting anger of Julius Caesar. These days you can admire this ancient Belgian warrior in all his splendour in the Grote Markt, the city’s impressive market square...
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...
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 ]
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, ... [ more ]
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. ... [ more ]
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 ... [ more ]
Strong dark beers that fit into the dubbel category, like this Waterloo Strong Dark, are brewed using roast malts that give them their deep dark colour and create a head of froth t... [ more ]
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