Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Brasserie Orval article in Taps: The Beer Magazine

Two weeks without a post. Yeah, the holidays will do that
to you. I'll try and be more active now and in the New Year.

But I do have some good news for lovers of brett beers.
And Trappist beers.

I might as well tell you that I have had yet another article
published on Brasserie Orval, at l' Abbaye Notre Dame d' Orval
in Luxembourg Province, Wallonia.

(Photo, above: the stained-glass windows behind the
new brewhouse at Orval.)

The 1250+ word piece is on the cover of Taps: The Beer Magazine,
Canada's only beer mag. As far as I know, anyway.

(Photo, above: a row of secondary fermenters at Orval,
where the dry-hopping is done and brettanomyces yeasts
are added over a three week period of cold-conditioning.
These date to 1956!)

I cover the new brewhouse at Orval, updates from the brewery,
and the brewing process there. As well, I give the low-down
on Orval's excellent new cafe/restaurant/taproom, A' la Ange Gardien.
Yes, the Guardian Angel cafe.

(Photo, above: the new Petit Orval (4.5% abv) being served
on draft at A l' Ange Gardien at Orval. It's realllly good!)

(Photo, above: fine meals at the cafe.)

(Photo, above: spent grains in the secondary fermentation
room at Orval.)

(Photo, above: Fran├žois de Harenne with a bag of
Hallertauer Hersbrucker whole leaf hops.)

For more photos, including inside the brewhouse, see this
earlier post: Orval

Taps is available at many Barnes and Noble stores throughout the

You can also buy a pdf version or order issues at:


Monday, December 12, 2011

www.belgianbeer.com goes to Belgian Family Brewers Association

www.belgianbeer.com goes to Belgian Family Brewers Association

One of the Internet’s most important Belgian beer domain names has been donated to the Belgian Family Brewers Association, and I’m happy to say that yours truly had a hand in it.

Volker Stewart (pictured above) co-owner of The Brewer’s Art, a brewpub/restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, registered the domain name in 1996, the same year Brewer’s Art opened.

The Brewer’s Art crafts Belgian-inspired brews and offers fine foods in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, at 1106 N. Charles Street.

“I got the domain because we wanted to brew beers that were influenced by the free-spirited nature of Belgian brewers,” Stewart told me. “Also, I’d like to add that as an establishment, we have always promoted the rich and diverse nature of Belgian beers. In fact, we have poured beers from every member of the BFB at some point in time over the years! I registered belgianbeer.com not only to promote my own business, but also to raise awareness of these beers at a time when they were not as well known as they are now,” he added.

He added: I realized within a few years that it was more prudent for me to use a domain name that was more business-specific, and I registered thebrewersart.com. The question remained: What to do with belgianbeer.com?”

“So, I started to think about donating the domain to a worthy Belgian trade/beer promotion organization,” Stewart told me. “that’s when I asked you who you thought would be the best choice, due to your familiarity with the beer scene in Belgium,” he continued.

After giving it some thought, I consulted Wendy Littlefield of Vanberg & DeWulf Importers for a discussion about the candidates I was thinking of recommending to Stewart.

I already had a list, but wanted to ask a few questions of someone that had been importing beer from Belgium to the U.S. for 30 years.

After out talk, I was convinced that The Belgian Family Brewers Association was the right choice, and happily, Stewart agreed.

Then, the long process of transferring the domain began, but that’s a story better told by Stewart and the head of the BFB, Charles Leclef of Brouwerij Het Anker in Mechelen.

Leclef (pictured above) told me: “As Chairman of the BFB Association, I was both proud and thankful that our group was given the domain name by Volker Stewart. He thought enough of us, and of promoting Belgian beer, to donate the important domain, rather than selling it. It was a very honest attitude on his part part.”

With the new domain comes a newly redesigned website for the BFB, including a video showing parts of the brewing process at each member.

The sixteen members of the BFB produce a lot of great beers. Truth be told, some of my favorite breweries in Belgium are in the group. They craft some great Belgian brews, such as Saison Dupont and Avec les Bons Voeux from Dupont; St. Bernardus 8 and 12; Dubuisson Bush (Scaldis) Noel; Het Anker Hopsinjoor and Classic Brown; Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles; Verhaeghe’s Vichtenaar, Bavik’s Petrus Aged Pale Ale; and many others.

I have visited all 16 of the member breweries, some several times.

This is from the BFB website:

“The association’s objective is to promote historic, independent family breweries which bring genuine added value to the identity and authenticity of Belgian brewing methods.”

A very worthy goal, and one to support.

(Photo, above: Hugues Dubuisson, Founder, Belgian Family Brewers Association.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Holiday Beer Fest is this Saturday

One of Baltimore's best holiday beer events is just two days away.

The Mid-Atlantic Holiday Beer Fest, formerly held at
The Brewer's Art, is now a joint venture between that
establishment and Pratt Street Alehouse.

The event will be held at Pratt Street, as it is a much larger
venue than The Brewer's Art and can accommodate more
beer lovers.

"We could only sell about a hundred tickets to the event at
our place," Brewer's Art co-owner Volker Stewart told me.
"And there was far more demand for tickets than supply. So
the new venue should alleviate that problem."

The event has always featured a buffet with fine eats and this
year should be no different.

The following brews will be poured:

Brewer's Alley - Scotch Ale
Brewers Art St. Festivus
DOG -Very Berry Tart
DuClaw -Devil's Milk Bourbon-Aged Porter
Evolution - Secret Spot Ale
Heavy Seas Winter Storm
Red Brick Station - Murphy's Porter
Troeg's - JavaHead, Troegenator and Mad Elf
Victory -Yakima Glory
Weyerbacher - Winter Ale
Flying Dog - Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout & K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Pratt Street will have several firkins on tap as well, including
two new collaboration beers.

The $40 admisison includes unlimited food and all beer

Tickets are available at Pratt Street Alehouse and here: