Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Belgian Beer no.145: Paasbier

This is a very confusing beer so to speak. Why? Well, we went to Helsinki on holiday. Which is where I saw the beer. Have never seen it in Belgium. The label says it's a Belgian beer brewed after a Finnish recipe!
The beer seems to be brewed in Belgium, by De Proefbrouwerij, so the mystery continues. We didn't actually buy one to taste it as the prices in Helsinki are just a little bit over the price I'll pay for a beer (a Leffe is 6euro!!!). The beer is a dark ale, which reading the reviews seems to score 'average'.
Has anyone tried this beer / or even seen this beer in Belgium?
Please note the new url www.belgian-beers.eu

Bier - Mania and Beer Tours

Holidays are approaching fast. I should know, as I have just returned from a short and well deserved break. As beer drinkers (lovers?) what have you planned this holiday? If you are still considering, here a very good tip: Bier Mania.
I first met the Bier Mania dream team (Evi and Andy) at the last Bruxellensis beer festival. Since then we regularly get information and meet them when they are on one of their fantastic beer tours. The concept? Easy: they set up tailor made beer tours in and around Belgium where you get to visit the breweries, taste the beer and most of all have a lot of fun. And more beer.

What I like about Bier Mania is not that much the actual concept - you'll say beer tasting can be done alone! - but the fact they take the time to put together brewery visits, beers tastings and food tastings to suit your wishes. A lot of their beer information comes from insiders (ahem ... like me!) so you will get to visit breweries, taste beers, but also go to that one beer shop, that one pub that will make your experience just that little bit different.
And if you don't believe me then just take a look at the photo: don't they look Chouffes-happy? :)
Please note the new url www.belgian-beers.eu

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Belgian Beer no.144: Abbaye de Forest

I kept being asked about this (very!) new beer on the market the Abbaye de Forest. I'm not kidding when I am saying new beer, as it has just been launched and we went then and there to taste it.

The beer is brewed by the Brasserie de Silly but it is attributed to the Abbaye de Forest. (A nice place to visit btw.)

First impressions? Well I'm not lying if I tell you it just knocked me out. Two sips and I was gone. Might have been the heat of the day, but I was way gone. Before even finishing the beer.

Funny enough the beer is not that strong by Belgian standard, 6.5%, but it hit right in the middle of my head. The website describes the beer as triple style top fermentation beer, fermented again in the bottle. The closest I came to compare it to is a Leffe (same strength) but somehow a lot stronger.

Abbaye de Forest, welcome to the beer scene. A very nice beer.

Please note the new url www.belgian-beers.eu

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Belgian Beer no.143: Forestine

Ah the joy of Belgian Beers. Every time we even attempt going to a new fair there it is - that one new Belgian Beer we don't know.

Here the Forestine. Brewed by the Brasserie Caracole, the Forestine was a light, normal blonde beer, so to speak. Light and not very memorable as such, but a very pleasant sunny beer.

Please note the new url www.belgian-beers.eu

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


A little more Beer News. First of all you can now find this blog under www.belgian-beers.eu as well!
Now, more a guideline to this blog. On your right hand column you will see:
- 101 categories. These are posts related to food, wine, and restaurants in Brussels and beyond.
- beer bars in Brussels ... well a little obvious, no?
- Belgian beer festivals and open brewery (door) days. This is a new addition to my blog, so please check it out and let me know of any beer festivals I should add. So far I added the obvious and not so obvious ones, but I am sure there are plenty more beer festivals in Belgium I don't know about. I will try to keep the beer festivals as updated as possible. Promise!
- beer resources, other blogs and links related to beer.
- and the last section, the longest one as well, listing all the different breweries/ brasseries/ brouwerijen I come across when posting on Belgian beer(s).
Enjoy, and any comments, feedback or suggestions are more than welcome. Cheers.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Belgian Beer no.142: Li Pri’Reye di Licint

Now this is probably a beer very few come across - if they don't look really (really!) hard.
Lincent, where the beer comes from, is a village close to Liege. A certain brotherhood Li Pîr’rêye Di Lîcint was born there.
And what did the brotherhood do? Brew beer. To be exact two beers, the blonde and the brune. Pure malt and hops, the beers are at 6.8% and 8.7% respectively. We shared a bottle of the blonde one.
Very interesting indeed...

Belgian Beer no.141: Gribousine Mallone Brune

After the Blonde, here comes the Brune. Gribousine - Brune de Mallone. Same story with regards to the brewery, so I won't go into that (again).
A dark, hazy beer at 8%. A hint of sweetness, malt and caramel. Nice long finish. The slight sweetness hides the 8%, giving the impression the beer is actually very easily drinkable (danger, danger!).

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Belgian Beer no.140: Gribousine Mallone Blonde

What would one do without the Medieval Festival? Or any other festival for that matter.

The next beers tried were the Gribousine beers. Here the Blonde de Malonne. A high fermentation beer, a nice balance between a soft and a bitter beer, at 6.3%.

The beer is distributed by the Brasserie de L'Abbaye de Malonne, however it is brewed by Brasserie La Binchoise.

Belgian Beer no.138 & no.139: Malmedy Blanche & Blonde

These beers were tried during the Medieval Festival in Brussels. The actual brewers came all the way from Malmedy with their beers, for us (city people!) to try out.
The Brasserie de Bellevaux (again, did anyone hear about this one?) are only brewing B beers - Blonde, Blanche, Brune and Black. We tried the Blonde and the Blanche. I absolutely loved the Blanche, a very light 4.8% beer. Very much a summer beer which explains why production of this beer stops towards autumn, when the brewery starts producing the Black. Something else to look forward to.

Belgian Beer no.137: Kossaat

Another newby: the Kossaat beer. Same beer bar as in the previous post, same afternoon. (Did I mention before how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the number of beers in Belgium?).
So the Kossaat. Another beer we knew nothing of, another brewery I didn't know existed - the Brasserie Vercauteren. However it seems the beer is brewed today by Brasserie Lefebvre for smaller breweries, like the Vercauteren.
The name Kossaat goes back to the initial owner/ brewer Cornelius Cuyckens who was a farmer/ land worker - otherwise known as a kossaat.
A typical Belgian beer, at 6.7%, Kossaat is a golden blond beer, with a very lasting taste of fruit and hop. The second fermentation takes place in the bottle.
(Other beers brewed by Brasserie Lefebvre were the Barbar, the Durboyse, the Saison 1900).

Belgian Beer no.136: Hector

We tried this beer on a very sunny day, at the Chez Moeder Lambic. A special of the day, Hector was an unknown beer to me. I never heard of the beer, of the Brouwerij Sublim located in Leuven.

So in the name of research (!) and beer, we ordered a Hector Tripel. A quite strong beer at 8.2%, unfiltered, and a certain hoppy taste. I really enjoyed this beer - not only because it was a new beer, but also a pleasant full rounded beer. And at 8.2% with just enough kick to get the afternoon started.

Belgian Beer no.135: La Binchoise

To think we even went to Binche to visit the brewery ... no luck that time around, as the Brasserie La Binchoise was closed. However we go to taste the La Binchoise Blonde back here in Brussels.

The beer was first produced in 1987 under the name Fakir, later to become La Binchoise Blonde. A light beer at 6.2%, close to what I would call a white beer. Slightly bitter, but a pleasant all rounded beer.

Another beer produced by the same brewery is the already mentioned Biere des Ours.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Beer News

I thought I would share with you some beer news:
- for Brussels: a new beer, of L'Abbaye de Forest, will be introduced at the Gourmet Market on Saint Denis (Forest) this weekend, 9 and 10 June. We intend to go and try it, taste it, write about it tomorrow.
- for Belgium: a must have and easy to read heritage review was recently published by Le Soir on beer, love and fantasy (Biere: Amour et Fantaisie). A good and informative read at 6euro.
- the World: some of my photos from this blog will be used in the close future (well, about two years from now) in a book on beer published by Johns Hopkins University Press. Ah, fame :)

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Belgian Beer no.134: Orval

Another review from Michael, this time on the Orval. (On a side note, I am currently busy tasting!)

Text and photo: Michael
Website/ blog:

One of the interesting things we have found about Belgian Beers is that some have recommended serving temperatures on the bottle, and some do not. There does not appear to be a hard and fast rule, however, from my own observations, I would say that Blond , Triple and Golden beers seem to favour lower serving temperatures, whilst the darker beers favour room temperature.

Without looking at the Orval bottle, I would have put this in the former category, and did in fact stick it in the fridge to cool down, however close inspection of the bottle revealed a recommended serving temperature of 12-14 °C .

Having a chilled bottle in the fridge, and a spare bottle in the garage, we decided to see if serving temperature really did make a difference and try them both at the same time. ( Having only one Orval glass, the picture is of the chilled bottle).

Served Chilled ( around 4 °C)

Orval poured into the glass with a thick creamy head, Amber Brown, but slightly murky in appearance, feint aroma of treacle toffee and “Bonfire night”. Very bubbly and lively as it’s swallowed both on tongue and back of mouth, mild hint of citrus fruit and only slightly sweet.

Served 14 °C

Poured into glass with same consistency but slightly larger head, still Amber Brown but perfectly clear. No apparent sweetness in aroma – more like a sour yoghurty aroma, which could be off-putting. To taste however, it seems less citrus, but more hoppy, again with only slight hint of sweetness. Appearance loses clearness further down the glass, but still retains it’s taste throughout.

It’s difficult to conclude which is the better. It’s certainly more refreshing at lower temperature, but less complex. At recommended temperature, the aroma and underlying taste is more hoppy.

I’ll go half way, and say that perhaps we should try another one at 8 °c !

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