Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Belgian Beer no.100: Queue de Charrue

Another new Belgian Beer: the Queue de Charrue. Brewed by the Brasserie Vanuxeem this beer belongs to what looks like a very big, important brewery. Funny I never heard of it ...
At the Franco-Belgian Beer Festival I tried the Queue de Charrue blonde, a very strong beer at 9%. a very nice blonde beer, fermentation still taking place in the bottle. The brewery also produces the Queue de Charrue brown 5.4%, and amber 5.6%.
And please note it is the Belgian Beer no.100! To celebrate, additionally a recipe: quail with Queue de Charrue blonde.
Quail with Queue de Charrue (serves 4)
4 quails
1 bottle of Queue de Charrue blonde
1/4l chicken stock
1/8l cream
150gr wild mushroom
125gr minced meat
salt and pepper
Brown the quails and the minced mint in a little oil.
Pour the beer over.
Leave to cook for 35min, then add the wild mushrooms.
Add the cream. Reduce.
Season. Serve with potato croquettes
(recipe from the Vanuxeem website)

Belgian Beer no.99: Charmette

Oh la la ... how better to celebrate 100-1 Belgian Beers than with a Charmette? A charming Belgian Beer. Brewed by the Silenrieux Brasserie this is a new beer, sporting a very girly new label. Not to put guys off the beer, no worries. At 7% it is more than a strong beer, both blond and amber. I had the amber one, didn't like it so much (quite herby for my taste) ... still have to try the blonde one out.
Corrections: after reading some of the comments made on TBX, corrections are in order. Indeed it was the blond Charmette. The amber beer is expected end of this year. Very interesting as well, the name 'Charmette' was given based on the freedom to vote given to women in 1960.
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Belgian Beer no.96, no.97 and no.98: La Joseph, Le Pavé de l'Ours, La Sara

We enter the world of the Franco-Belgian Beer Festival. A new brewery, new beers. The first one we stopped at was the Silenrieux Brasserie.
As I never heard of this one before, it was also the first brewery we went to. All Belgian Beers we didn't know: the Joseph 5.4%, the Pavé de l'Ours 8.9%, the Sara 6% and four others I didn't take pictures of. They are the Pagoda beer, the 150th (the actual name of the beer), the Georgina, the Lions, and the Kolendienne. Oh and there is one more, to follow as Belgian Beer no.99.
At the Franco-Belgian Beer Festival I tried the Sara - a girly beer for a girl. A buckwheat beer. I should have tried the Pavé de l'Ours as it is a honey beer, but so many beers ... so little time.

Franco-Belgian Beer Festival

Another weekend, another Belgian Beer Festival. This time around we stopped at the Franco-Belgian Beer Festival. I didn't even know there is such a thing as a Franco-Belgian beer festival in Belgium.
Of course we tasted French beers as well. Yet for the purpose of the Belgian Beer Blog I will only focus on the Belgian Beers (new ones !!!) tried with this occasion. There were an equal number of French and Belgian brewers.
What was interesting to discover though is that given the location of the festival (south of Belgium) we came across Belgian breweries I never heard of ... so more beer, coming close to 100 Belgian Beers!

Belgian Beer no.94 and no.95: Taras Boulba and Stouterik

Staying with the Zinnebir Brewery, two more beers brewed by them - which we got to taste at the Bruxellensis Festival: the Taras Boulba and the Stouterik.
The first an extra bitter ale, the second a stout.
Other Zinnebir beers include the signature beer, Belgian Beer no.34 and the Japanese Owa- Belgian Beer no. 93.
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Belgian Beer no.93: Owa

I can hear you say 'oh, a Japanese beer on a Belgian Beer site. She got it all wrong'. Well, ahem, actually I didn't :). Although I have to admit my first reaction was the same: they got it all wrong at the Bruxellensis Festival if now they are bringing Japanese beers to the Belgian Beer festivals.
What to do? We went to take a closer look, of course. And surprise, surprise Owa Japanese Beer is brewed in Belgium by Zinnebir. I mentioned Zinnebir when writing about Belgian Beer no.34. Now we got to try their exotic Japanese beer as well. All you expect from a Japanese beer: light, refreshing, Japanese.
Now this was a nice discovery indeed. I doubt you can find the beer in the shops though. So a visit to Zinnebir is in order!
Update: as you can see in the comments, the Owa beer has slightly progressed from its unknown little status. It is now a regular on specialist beer shop/ beer bars lists and indeed plenty of Japanese restaurants offer it. I even received a while ago a request from a quite unique and high end Spanish restaurant who wanted to put this beer on its menu. I understand that is the case in the meantime, so all good in Owa-Land.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bier-Mania and Beer Tourism

During the Bruxellensis Festival, we met Andy. You will wonder Andy who? Andy was present at the Bruxellensis Festival representing Bier-Mania. At first I thought that might be a beer bar somewhere. Yet, as we were to discover, Bier-Mania is a all about beer tours in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

I live in Belgium for over 9 years now. And I never came across anyone or any tour operator organizing beer tours. Finally a good initiative long missed in Belgium. It still remains a mystery to me how a country with SO much beer and SO many breweries (list on the right) doesn't have organized beer tours. France lives off wine tours ... Belgium could easily live off beer tours.

So Andy and Bier-Mania will offer you 6 custom made beer tours across Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, and on the way offer their expertise and enthusiasm on the beers on offer. As a Belgian Beer lover, I would of course advise at first the 'Tour 2 - Ardennes Special'. But then there is also the Pick'n'Mix tour ... so everyone is happy. Cheers!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Belgian Beer no.92: Bink

Just look at that happy chap! It's Bink, Bink, Bink. I didn't take a picture of the beer as I think this one speaks so much better of the Bink beer and the Kerkom Brewery.
Bink is a beer with tradition, dating back to 1878. The first beer brewed by the Kerkdom Brewery was the Bink Blonde 5.5%. A very fresh beer indeed, I liked its hoppy taste. You should have seen my smile after tasting Bink :)
The Kerkdom Brewery (one in 6 of the 127 breweries in Limburg to be still active today) also produces the Bink Brown 5.5%, the best known of the Bink series; the Bloesem Bink (blossom) 7.1% - sorry but I don't get the 0.1 here ...; the Winterkoninkse (winter) 8.3%; and finally the Aderladus 7%.

Belgian Beer no.91: Darbyste

During the Bruxellensis Festival, we got the chance to enlarge our Belgian Beer knowledge and taste some more of the beer available in this country. Coming close to 100 Belgian Beers I wonder if the journey was not too ambitious.
At the Bruxellensis Festival we started with a Darbyste beer, brewed by the Brasserie de Blaugies.
And I thought I knew most of the Belgian Beers. Never heard of this one! At the Bruxellensis Festival I tried the traditional Darbyste beer, a 5.8% blonde made by adding figs juice. Nice, fruity, interesting.
Other beers brewed by the Brasserie de Blaugies are the Moneuse 8%, the Saison d'Epeautre 6% (a lager type beer) and the Special Noel 8% (the Christmas beer).

Bruxellensis Festival

The last beer festival we went to was Bruxellensis. A must for every real Belgian Beer lover. The concept of Bruxellensis is to make smaller, artisan breweries known . The main aim of Bruxellensis (as stated on their website) is to support ‘those who have turned their back to the easy commercial gain’, and thus produce lesser known, specialized beers. You can read more on Bruxellensis, beer and food here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Belgian Beer no.88, no.89, no.90: Keyte, Wittoen, Dikke Mathile

Three Belgian Beers in one go. All brewed by the same brewery, the Brouwerij Strubbe. First one in the picture (from left to right) is the Keyte. This beer was brewed by the Brouwerij Strubbe to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the end of the siege of Ostende (1601 - 1604). Especially ordered for that occasion, the brewery continues to produce Keyte and we got to try it at the Belgian Beer Weekend. At 7.5% quite a strong beer.
On to the second one, the Wittoen. Again some history lesson to lear: the name comes from the Knight Jan Wittoen (1417). This is an amber, tripler beer at 8%, slight yeasty and herby taste.
The last one, the Dikke Mathile (aka Fat Mathile). the name comes form a statue to be found on the Belgian coast, the Dikke Mathile. They are still legally debating the copyright issues here! Back to the beer, an amber beer at 6%, fermentation in the bottle.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Belgian Beer no.87: Sloeber

The last in the series of Belgian Beers tried from the Roman Brewery, the Sloeber beer. It does look slightly pink, and fruity, yet it is a blonde beer. A high yeast content, fermentation still takes place in the bottle. 7.5%.
Other Belgian Beers from the Roman Brewery include the Romy Pils, the Adriaen Brouwer (beer no. 86), the Mater Blanche (beer no. 81), the Special Roman, the Ename, and the Black Hole (beer no.79).
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Belgian Beer no.86: Adriaen Brouwer

Another one of the Belgian Beers tried at the Belgian Beer Weekend was the Adriaen Brouwer. Brewed by the Roman Brewery, it was a dark, quite bitter and slight caramel flavored beer. At just 5% a light Belgian Beer, yet quite rich so the sensation is that of drinking a heavy beer.

The name is that of Adriaen Brouwer, a Flemish painter.
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Monday, September 11, 2006

Belgian Beer no.85: Wittekerke

Belgian Beer no. 64 was brewed at the same brewery as Wittekerke - the Brasserie Bavik.

At the Belgian Beer Weekend I tried the Wittekerke. You might have figured it out, I was on a white beer trail. Wittekerke is a very refreshing white beer. At only 5% it makes for a perfect summer beer.

A little bit of trivia: Wittekerke beer was 'invented' by Bavik together with VTM, a major Flemish TV station. Why you might ask? Well, because VTM runs a very popular Flemish soap, Wittekerke. And what better advertising than inveting a beer to go with it?

I am not going to go through the beers brewed by Bavik ... as there are too many.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Belgian Beer no.84: Super des Fagnes

Another new beer, as I have never before heard of the Super des Fagnes. Brewed at the Brasserie des Fagnes, this was a rich dark beer at 7.5%. Maybe a little sweet for my taste.

They also brew the blond version, 7.5%. And I get the impression this is a very recent brewery. In any case, if you plan a visit every second weekend in July, the Brasserie des Fagnes is open for the public.

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Belgian Beer no.83: Postel

More monks, more beer. Postel is brewed at the Postel Abbey. This is a little bit confusing, as at the Belgian Beer Weekend, Postel was sold at the Affligem stand.

Confusion sorted out, the beer figures at both abbeys. Postel Dubbel (pictured) is a soft brown beer, quite caramelized at 7%. Further Postel beers are the Blond 7%, and the Tripel 8.5%.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Belgian Beer no.82: Leute Bokbier

The Happy Goat? We are still at the Van Steenberge stand. This Belgian Beer was first brewed in 1927, yet production stopped and was only restarted in 1997. It is a dark red colored beer, I didn’t personally try out.
Yet I was told it had hints of caramel, quite sweet and rich. What I found to be just great about the Leute Bokbier, was the glass though. I have never before seen a beer glass comes with its very own wooden support. Chic.
And as we are still in the beer and food world, another recipe from the website of the Van Steenberge brewery. This time around, game.
Rabbit with Leuke Bokbier
1 rabbit
2 chopped apples
1 finely sliced strip of smoked bacon
1 finely shredded onion
1 slice of brown bread
33 cl Leute Bokbier
water, natural butter, mustard, thyme, sugar, pepper & salt
Cut the rabbit in pieces and brown well in butter and sugar. Add all remaining ingredients and leave it on a low flame (for approximately 45 min.) until done. Add a slice of bread spread with mustard at the beginning of the preparation. This will thicken the sauce.
Serve with potatoes.

Belgian Beer no.81: Mater Blanche

Back to the first stand, we tried the Mater Blanche from the Roman Brewery. All a little bit confusing, I can understand that. Wait till we get more into the whole Belgian Beer Weekend.
I tried this one and really liked it. A very nice and balanced white beer. A little bitter, but a good summer beer at 5,0%.

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Belgian Beer no.80: Celis Blanche

The next stand we went for was that of the Brewery Van Steenberge. Same dedicated approach, here we started with a Celis White beer. There is something of a complicated history on the website, but this white beer stays a very pleasant and refreshing beer at 5.0%. A summer beer, with hints of herbs and fruit.

And given that the website seems to be pretty well done, here is a recipe as well using the Celis White.

Asparagus with Celis White mousseline sauce
2 crowns of asparagus
3 egg yolks
juice of 1 lemon
10 cl Celis White
100 g butter
pepper & salt
Peel the asparagus thoroughly and boil for 20 to 30 minutes in lightly salted water.Remove from water and keep warm. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, lemon juice, Celis White, pepper & salt togetherin a saucepan to a creamy consistency.Place the saucepan on a very low flame, making sure that the mixture doesn't boil!Whisk the mixture until it has doubled in volume. Carefully stir in the melted butter.
(recipe taken form the Brewery Van Steenberge website)

Belgian Beer no.79: Black Hole

The first stand we hit with our jetons (that’s the ‘currency’ during the Belgian Beer Weekend – chips instead of money) was the Roman Brewery. Four of us, we divided the tasks and started to go through their beer offers.

We started with the Black Hole. A cool bottle, a cool glass. The beer is pleasant, refreshing blonde. At 5.6% a good start to the Belgian Beer Weekend.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Brussels Beer Festival 2006

1-2-3. The first weekend of September was under the sign of Belgian Beer. 48 breweries, big and small, famous and not, served Belgian Beer to the willing and thirsty.
Starting Friday and ending Sunday, we made our way through some of the Belgian Beers on offer. Our attitude was pragmatic and very ‘blogger’ friendly: we will only try out beer we don’t know or which can’t be found in you every day shop/ beer bar.
So bear (beer?) with me while I am taking you through the Belgian Beer Weekend and the beers we tried. Some are very vivid in my memory, others less, but overall the weekend scores a 10 out of 10.
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Belgian Beer no.78: Haacht Blanche

Summer, the heat of the city around what better way to relax than a white beer on a terrace? This time around I tried the Haacht Blanche, a white beer brewed by Primus and at 4.80% almost like juice, no?