Friday, December 21, 2012

BÜZE Magazine debuts, with Antwerp Province article

Another day, and another magazine debut.

With a Belgian beer article.

Gotta love it. Happy Friday.

BÜZE Magazine: A Modern Drinks Resource, in the works for
a number of months, is now live and available for download at
the iTunes store here:

BÜZE is digital only, and issue 1 is compatible only with iPad
and iPad mini.

With issue 2, Amazon's Kindle Fire HD will also be supported.

BÜZE Magazine is the world's first digital, interactive, all-drinks

I have a 1,000 word piece on breweries in Antwerp Province,
including De Koninck; Den Hopperd; Dijkwaert; Duvel-Moortgat;
Het Anker; 't Hofbrouwerijke; and Trappist Westmalle.

BÜZE's Director is Cary Hyodo, who I used to work with at
Taps: The Beer Magazine, as he was Art Director there. Cary
left Taps to work with BÜZE.

Taps, a Toronto, Canada-based magazine, pulled out of the USA
market and back to Canada early this year, and is concentrating
more on Canadian stories and less on international ones than in
the past.

BÜZE has articles from all over the world, as you will see in
the first issue. Writers such as Melissa Cole, Steve Beaumont,
and others provide fine editorial.

I'll be doing a series on breweries in all of the Belgian provinces
over time, and other pieces on beer fests, distilleries and cafes
are also possible.

If you are interested in advertising in BÜZE Magazine, please shoot
me or Cary Hyodo an email.

I look forward to working in this exciting new digital format.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beers of the World Magazine returns, with Limburg Province article

I'm happy to report that a great beer magazine has been
resurrected after a more than three year hiatus.

Beers of the World, of the U.K., which stopped publication
in 2009 after four years, has been purchased by a new
owner. It re-debuted in the UK with issue 26 in November,
and is now available in the USA at bookstores such as Barnes
and Noble.

Former editor Sally Toms is back at the helm, and excited is
to return to the world of craft brewing.

I have a 1,500+ word piece on breweries and cafes in Limburg
Province, featured on the cover of the magazine.

I cover several breweries in the story, including Ter Dolen;
Anders; Wilderen; Den Toetëlèr; and Stadsbrouwerij Au Phare.

Other locales include Het Middelpunt; De Bierkaai; and Daniel's

I'm not the only American with a Belgian beer article in the issue,
either: Joe Stange, co-auther of "Around Brussels in 80 Beers"
has a piece on Cafe De Kunstemaecker in West Flanders as well.

See: here for subscription information. Beers of the World is also
available for iPhone and iPad via an app at the iTunes store.

Beers of the World gave excellent coverage to Belgium's beer
scene in the past, and it seems that is going to continue with the
resurrected mag.

Cheers to that.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Brouwerij Timmermans: new beers, new artisanal direction

When I first visited lambic brewer Brouwerij Timmermans
of Itterbeek in November 2008, I was impressed.  Belgian
reporter/photographer Danny Van Tricht and I tasted several
different vintages of lambic and kriekenlambic right from
their oak barrels; these had from a few months of age to
several years, and were as good as other straight lambics
I had tasted from other well known lambic breweries and

Photo, above: Dimitri Demol pouring a 
Timmermans Oude Gueuze in 2008. 

Our guide, Key Account Manager Dimitri Demol, then
mentioned that Timmermans had blended an Oude Gueuze
for the first time in many years. We tasted it, and found it
a very pleasing, tart, refreshing brew. An unsweetened,
proper Oude Gueuze.

A sample of Timmermans lambic, right
from a barrel.

When Dimitri commented that an Oude Kriek was in the
works, I knew this would be a special one, as I greatly enjoyed
the one year old kriekenlambic we had tasted.

A crock of Timmermans kriekenlambic from
an oak barrel. Yum!

The Oude Gueuze had matured well by the time I attended
Toer de Geuze in April 2009, and now it is a one of the
brewery's year-round brews, and is available in the USA.

I'm happy to say that a batch of Oude Kriek is headed
stateside sometime in early 2013, and I highly recommend it,
having tasted it in Belgium several times now.

Timmermans has been experimenting a bit more in the last
few years, and for the first time sent a pumpkin infused
lambic to the U.S. this year, called Pumpkin Lambicus.
I will openly state that I am not a big fan of pumpkin beers,
but this one really pulled it off well. The pumpkin flavor and
spices are very mild, and a very pleasing tartness makes for a
well-balanced brew with minimal sweetness. At only 4% abv,
it is a great session beer. This one was a big hit at "A Weekend
of Belgian Beer" at Hudson Street Stackhouse in late October.

Timmermans also has a lambic-wheat beer blend, called
Timmermans Tradition Lambicus Blanche. This brew has
a base of malted wheat, with coriander and orange peel
added as spices. The lambic adds a light tartness to the
blend. This beer is very easy drinking, with a touch
of sweetness and 4.5% abv.

In addition, the brewery offers several other lambics
blended with various fruits.

I look forward to more innovation on the part of this
venerable, photogenic brewery, which was founded
in 1702. See: here

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The "Day of the Lambic" is in 2 weeks

On Saturday, December 8, one of Belgium's premier 
lambic events will be held at its premier lambic beer 
cafe: In de Verzekering Tegen de Grote Dorst (In the 
Insurance Against the Great Thirst.) The cafe is 
located in Eizeringen (Lennik) in the Payottenland.

Photo, above: Yves (left) and Kurt Panneels

The "Dag van de Lambiek," as they say in Flemish,
is an event where Yves and Kurt Panneels, who own
the cafe, have many straight, unblended lambics on
offer from the various lambic breweries and blenderies
in Belgium. "It's a feast for lovers of unblended
lambics!" Yves told me. "Most are served from barrels,"
he added.

"The theme is the art of brewing lambic, and the art 
surrounding the lambic beer culture. We will have 
cartoons from Belgian homebrewer Erwin Vanmol 
displayed on the walls of the pub," Yves remarked.

There will be at least ten lambics, in jong (young) 
oude (old) and kriek (kriekenlambic, cherries steeped
in lambic) form, and possibly more. 

This is the fifth year of Day of the Lambic, which 
started in 2008. Each year starting then, lambics
not enjoyed during the event were blended to make
a special, very rare Oude Geuze. 

Only 24 bottles in the 75 cl size and 15 in the 
1.5 liter Magnum size were filled in 2008, and 
these are getting very hard to find now. I wrote 
about this beer in 2010, here

Somehow, I still have my bottle, which is 
number 11 of 24. Whether I'd ever part with
it, or age it for a few more years and open on a
special occasion, is something I haven't decided. 

"We will likely do another special bottling this 
year as well," Yves commented.

For full details of the event, which runs from 3 pm 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Belgian beer, brewery, and cafe images available as prints

First: Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it!

OK, back to Belgium.

During my visits to 130 Belgian breweries and over 300 beer
specialist cafes since 1994, I have captured about 25,000
images. For the last four and a half years, I have been using
a Canon digital SLR: a 12 megapixel Digital Rebel, with
Canon lens.

I have just started offering some of these for sale as prints
through Fine Art America. Here is their website. A direct
link to my profile is here.

With this site, you can choose the type of print, as well
as different sizes of prints. Art, canvas, acrylic, framed,
and metal are offered, as well as greetings cards.

The images you see on the site are not the highest
resolution versions, to prevent theft. However, the
prints are made using the high-resolution,
unwatermarked images. You can see a preview of
this on the site.

Fine Art American processes the order, makes
the print, and mails it to you. There is even a 30
day money back guarantee!

I've started with photos from Brasserie Dupont, as well
as a number of photos from the cellar at Cafe Bodega
(the first beer cafe owned by the owners of the Kulminator
in Antwerp) as well as the cellar at Brouwerij Liefmans
and some other places.

Many more images will be added over the course of time,
so check back at the Fine Art America site frequently.

With Christmas right around the corner, why not reward
yourself, or a friend, relative, or significant other, with
a print of a beautiful Belgian beer scene?

Bar, restaurant and retail shop owners, take note: you might
as well get some prints too, and impress your Belgian beer
loving customers!

PS If anyone has seen a specific photo that I have captured
that interests you, send me a mail and I will see if I can get
it uploaded on the site.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Coast to Coast Toast Part 2 is this Thursday!

Vanberg & DeWulf's "Coast to Coast Toast" returns for a second year
this Thursday, November 15. V&D founders Don Feinberg and
Wendy Littlefield created the Toast last year to celebrate their 30th
anniversary of importing Belgian beers to the U.S.

Don and Wendy import great beers from breweries such as Dupont,
Dubuisson, Dilewyns, Slaghmuylder, and De Scheldebrouwerij,
among others.

Here in Baltimore, Max's Taphouse will have numerous beers from the
V&D lineup on tap, and Hudson Street Stackhouse is signed up for the
event as well. Alonzo's is too.

You can read more on the official event page here. For ten things you
should know about the C2CT2, see here

You can enter a drawing to win a trip to Belgium, here


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seefbier, an old Antwerp style is reborn....

Belgium has a "new" beer, and it's an interesting one. "Seefbier" was
launched in Belgium in March, and what was projected as a
seven-month supply sold out in two weeks!

The driving force behind Seefbier is former Duvel/Moortgat Marketing
Director Johan Van Dyck, with his Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie.
Van Dyck, who lives in Antwerp, became intrigued-even obsessed,
he might tell you-with finding the recipe for a style of beer that was
said to be the most popular one in the city from around 1800 to about

Photo: Johan Van Dyck and his wife,
Karen Follens, founders of 
Antwerpse Bier Compagnie

Seefbier is mentioned numerous times in local historical records.
An 1863 account called it a "white beer that foamed like champagne,
and went to and the head like port." A 1904 account said that it was
a "Poor man's champagne."

An area of Antwerp called the Seefhoek was actually named after
Seefbier: "In those days, this was the area where all the nightlife,
dance halls and bars were located. Since a beer was at that time
synonymous with Seef, that part of town was nicknamed the beer
area, or Seefhoek," Van Dyck remarked. "In fact, that area is still
called the Seefhoek!" he added.

Mayor Janssen of Antwerp (left) with Johan
Van Dyck

Van Dyck told me during a recent interview: "I searched for two
years to find a recipe. I searched the city archives, old newspapers,
talked with descendants of old brewing families, and even
interviewed elderly people in retirement homes, hoping to find an
old brewer. I finally found a brewer's handwritten notes. At that
point, I knew I needed help to translate this old recipe to modern
brewing equipment."

Photo: Johan Van Dyck (left) and Dr. Filip

Van Dyck contacted Professor Freddy Delvaux and his son Filip
of the Catholic University of Leuven. Both men are highly respected
scientists in the field of brewing in Belgium, especially in the area of
fermentation. Both agreed to help analyze the recipe and help recreate

Van Dyck stated: "We test-brewed several batches of Seefbier, 
true to the original recipe, with ingredients such as wheat,
buckwheat, oats, malted barley, and Belgian hops, as well as a
historic yeast strain. It is a very cloudy beer, somewhat akin to
a witbier, but without spicing. It’s also a bit stronger, at 6.5% abv.”

Van Dyck continued: "Seefbeer is completely against all current
beer trends in Belgium: everybody is now making extra hopped,
high ABV beers, or other more 'experienced' beers such as sour
brews. Seefbeer is the complete opposite: instead of an complex
or extreme 'sipping' beer, it is a very mild, soft and balanced brew,
with a subtle taste and similar aromas. The bitterness is even lower
that a standard Belgian lager, at 17 ibu."

I tasted the beer at the Zythos Beer Festival in Leuven in April,
and found it an interesting, refreshing brew. But that was a long
weekend with many beers, so I decided to taste it again. Last night.
It is indeed as I remembered, an easy-drinking, cloudy, refreshing
brew with notes of citrus, other fruitiness and light spicing. 

Photo: Brouwerij Roman, Oudenaarde, East

Seefbier, in fact, already has an accolade under its belt. It 
won a Gold Medal in the Belgian "other" style category in 
the World Beer Cup Awards in San Diego in May.

Photo: Brouwerij Roman, Oudenaarde, East 

Seefbier is currently brewed at Brouwerij Roman in 
Oudenaarde, East Flanders. I visited this brewery in 
2007, and it is a great place to have a beer brewed. 
It has a beautiful brewhouse with copper kettles and 
other historic equipment, and of course modern 
fermentation and maturation methods.

Photo: Johan Van Dyck, left, Carlo Roman, 
Albert Follens and Filip Delvaux

Roman is a member of The Belgian Family Brewers, 
which helps promote and protect traditional Belgian 
breweries and beers. There are twenty breweries in the 
group, including some of the best in Belgium. See here 
for more info. 

Photo: grain mill at Brouwerij Roman.

Van Dyck plans to build a brewery in Antwerp to craft 
his products, which will likely include more beers in the 
future. "We discovered a lot of old recipes in the search 
for Seefbier, and we have some ideas about new beers in 
the future. First, though, we must meet the demand for 
Seefbier," he remarked. 

Will we see Seefbier in the U.S.? "As millions of families 
emigrated in the 19th century to the U.S. through the port 
of Antwerp, the last beer they had before leaving for the 
new world was a Seefbier in Antwerp. So it would be great 
if their grandchildren could now share in this moment in the 
US, also drinking a Seefbier...So we are looking into that!" 
Van Dyck commented. 

See: Seefbier for more info.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Brasserie Cantillon now aging beer in World War II bunkers

Photo, above: Jean Van Roy, brewmaster,
Brasserie Cantillon. A similar photo I took appears
on page 29 of the new "World Atlas of Beer."

There is some good news from just a few days ago, and it involves
one of my favorite Belgian breweries.

According to, Brasserie Cantillon of Brussels
started storing/aging/maturing beer in 2011 in huge World War II
underground bunkers in Brussels. 8,000 bottles are already resting
in the spot below the Hookai and Arduinkaai streets, which are
near the Yser metro stop, and the Leopold tunnel in central Brussels.

The article quotes Cantillon brewmaster Jean Van Roy as saying
that 2,000 visitors tour the Cantillon brewery each month, and that
they now produce 1,700 hl of beer per year.

The idea of storing beer in huge cellars began with a visit to a
champagne maker in Reims. Van Roy enlisted the help of the city
of Brussels to find a suitable place close to home.

It is said there are seven basement rooms, each with 15 square
meters of space.

Van Roy was quoted as having measured the temperature:
10 degrees celsius/50 fahrenheit in winter, and a max of
21 C/ 70 F in the heat of summer.

Photo, above: stocks of Kriek at the brewery
in 2008.

Cantillon signed a 30 year lease, as they view is as a long-term
project. Van Roy is quoted as saying they will add 3,000 to
4,000 bottles per year to the cellars, so that it might contain as
many as 80,000 bottles in twenty years.

Mostly, they are storing Oude Gueuze, but also lambic and Lou
Pepe Kriek. Some of the bottles date as far back as 2002. It is
said that Cantillon also is producing some bottles destined specially
for the cellar, such as an Oude Gueuze with a 2, 3, and 4 year old
blend, rather than the normal blend of 1, 2 and 3 year old. As well,
bottles sizes up to six liters are being aged there.

Van Roy was also quoted as saying he doesn't know if or when he
will sell any of the beer in the cellar.

He also said that in the year his son Florian was born, 1996, he began
to save and cellar certain amounts of bottles.

The articles goes on to say that next Saturday, November 10, will be
an open brew day, from 6:30 AM to 5 PM. See here for more details.

The original story is here

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A "Weekend of Belgian Beer" at Hudson Street Stackhouse

Photo: Hudson Street Stackhouse

Baltimore Beer Week is more than halfway over, but some great
events will happen over the next few days.

I am involved with one of them, for the second year in a row.

"B' More Belgians: A Weekend of Belgian Beer," begins tomorrow
at Hudson Street Stackhouse in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore.
Owner Dominic DeSantis and I will have all 36 taps pouring Belgian
beer through Sunday.

I helped select the beers for the event, and wrote most of the beer

The Stackhouse opens at 2 pm Friday, and 11 am Saturday and Sunday.

A partial list is as follows:

Achouffe La Chouffe
Achouffe Houblon Chouffe
Bavik Petrus Aged Pale 
Bavik Wittekerke
Cazeau Tournay Black
Chimay Triple Cinq Cents
De Glazen Toren Cuvée Angélique
De Glazen Toren Saison de Erpe-Mere
De Dolle Arabier
Deca Westoek XX
Dilewyns Vicaris Tripel Gueuze
Dilewyns Vicaris Generaal
Dubuisson Scaldis de Noel
Dupont Moinette Blonde
Dupont Monk’s Stout
Dupont Saison
Dupont Posca Rustica
La Rulles Grand 10
Liefmans Cuvee Brut
Liefmans Fruitesse
Liefmans Goudenband
Oud Beersel Framboise
Rodenbach Grand Cru
St. Bernardus Witbier
St. Bernardus Tokyo
St. Bernardus Tripel
St. Bernardus Abt 12
St. Bernardus Christmas 2011
Strubbe Ichtegems Grand Cru
Strubbe Ichtegems Grand Cru
Troubadour Magma Special Edition 2012 Sorachi Ace Hop
Van Eecke Poperings Hommelbier
Vapeur Saison de Pipaix
Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne

Monday, October 15, 2012

Great Belgian Beer Dinner article in Celebrator Beer News

(Photo, above: the chefs at the Great Belgian
Beer Dinner. From left in the black shirt, Christophe 
Pelfrene and Stefanie de Vos, of De Bistronoom in 
Ostende; then Tom de Four (in maroon shirt) of 
De Heeren Van Liedekercke, Denderleeuw; and 
Chris Lively of Ebenezer's pub in Lovell, Maine.

The October/November issue of Celebrator Beer News has been out
for a couple of weeks, and I'm happy to report that I have an article
on the Great Belgian Beer Dinner and Tongeren's Stadsbrouwerij
Au Phare on page 7. The entire new issue of Celebrator is on-line
here. Photos from the beer dinner are shown below.

(Photo, above: various sushi paired with Oud
Beersel Lambic.)

I wrote a preview of the beer dinner, held April 25th in Roosdaal,
Flemish Brabant, here.

(Photo, above: pate topped with foie gras,
with cherries on the side.)

I visited the excellent new Stadsbrouwerij Au Phare the same day,
for lunch. While Au Phare's brewery was installed at that time, they
will not brew their first beer until October 21st.

(Photo, above: Publican Joost de Four of
De Heeren Van Liedekercke in Denderleeuw
on the left.)

(Photo, above: Smeus, Belgian-style. Yum.)

(Photo, above: Tom de Four on the left, from
De Heeren Van Liedekercke, and Christopher
Lively from Ebenezer's in Lovell, Maine.)

(Photo, above: beef with Bocker's Cuvee de Jacobins.)

(Photo, above: chocolate mousse paired with
Liefmans Kriek. Now called Cuvee Brut.

Friday, September 28, 2012

"The World Atlas of Beer" published, and Cantillon's Quintessence

"The World Atlas of Beer" was recently published, and it is
a must read book. The authors are Tim Webb and Stephen Beaumont,
both well known in Belgian and other beer circles.

Before I proceed, I will let you know, in the interest of disclosure,
that I did have two of my photographs published in the book,
which I'm very pleased about.

The first is of brewer Jean Van Roy of Brasserie Cantillon
in Brussels, on page 29a (top.) This half-page photo was taken in
November 2008, during the Quintessence, Cantillon's twice yearly
beer and food pairing event. In fact, the event has become so
popular that the next Quintessence will be held over two days.

(Photo, above: Jean-Pierre Van Roy pouring at Cantillon's
Quintessence in 2008. Jean-Pierre's son, Jean, is pictured
on page 29/top photo in "The World Atlas of Beer.")

It's next weekend. Yep, if you are in Belgium next weekend,
get there! Friday, 5 October will be reserved for members of
the "Brussels' Museum of Gueuze"and professionals in the beer
world, while Saturday will be for the general public.
The menu and details are here

The second photo is that of brewmaster Dirk Naudts of De
Proefbrouwerij in Lochristi, East Flanders, on page 77. This
photo also occupies a half page in the book.

To have a look at these photos, you'll just have to get a copy
of the book. :)

While I have not read "The World Atlas of Beer" from cover to
cover, I have read most of the section on Belgium-no surprise
there! It is certainly a fine introduction and overview of Belgium's
brewing heritage, styles, breweries and cafes. While written with a
general audience in mind, it will still be of much interest to
well-informed beer lovers. A good balance has been achieved
between appealing to Belgian beerophiles and keeping things
simple enough for novices to enjoy and understand.

In short, well done on the Belgian section. In fact, all the sections
of the book that I have read seem well-researched and well illustrated.

I saw several copies at a Barnes and Noble here in Baltimore,
Maryland, this week, and they can be purchased on-line at Amazon here

Friday, September 21, 2012

Antwerp's Modeste Bier Fest returns in 2 weeks

In just 15 days, a great new Belgian Beer festival will return for
a second edition. The Modeste Bier Fest, first held last October 1-2,
will again be staged on the grounds of Brouwerij De Koninck in
Antwerp. This year's dates are 6 and 7 October.

I attended last year, and was very impressed by the breweries
and beers represented, and how smoothly the first time event
was run.

There were about 35 Belgian breweries on hand. The
Duvel-Moortgat family of breweries, such as Achouffe,
De Koninck, Duvel, and Liefmans, were, of course,
represented. Duvel-Moortgat owns the De Koninck brewery,
and has been making improvements to it since its purchase a
few years ago.

Most of the twenty members of the Belgian Family Brewers
Association were on hand as well. These included greats like
Dupont, Dubuisson, Het Anker, St. Bernardus, and Verhaeghe,
among others.

Photo, above: Karel Goddeau, Geuzestekerij De Cam,
and Brouwerij Slaghmuylder.

See: here for the list of all the Belgian Family Brewers.

Small breweries were well-represented as well. "We like to help and
promote small breweries," said Hans Bombeke of 't Antwerps Bier
College (ABC) a craft beer education and promotion group. ABC
helped organize and staff the event, in cooperation with Br. De Koninck.

Photo, above: Gregory Verhelst, Brasserie La Rulles,
with his wife.

Such breweries included Blaugies; Boloens; lambic blender De Cam;
De Dochter van de Korenaar; Den Hopperd; Drie Fontienen; Hof ten
Dormaal; Inter-Pol; La Rulles; Les 3 Fourquets; Pirlot; 't Smisje; and

Photo, above: Johan Brandt, Brouwerij 't Smisje.

The weather could not have been better: about 80 degrees
and sunny the entire weekend.

Photo, above: Pierre-Alex Carlier (left) and Marie-Noelle 
Pourtois, Brasserie de Blaugies.

Tours of the De Koninck brewery were given on a regular basis
throughout the weekend, in several languages.

Photo, above: Tine (left) and Pol of Brasserie Inter-Pol.

Belgian beer luminaries such as Sven Gatz of the Belgian Brewer's
Association, Duvel-Moortgat CEO Michel Moortgat, Chris Bauweraerts
of Achouffe, Professor Denis de Keukeleire, and others were on hand
to bring in the new fest as well.

Food was available as well, in the form of a number of vendors.

A look at the 2012 fest shows about 40 breweries plan to be on hand.
The event runs from 11 am to 7 pm both the Saturday and Sunday.
See: here for more info, and here for even more photos!