Friday, August 31, 2012

La Trappe article in Beer Connoisseur Magazine, issue 11

Well, back after a couple of weeks. Busy summer. :)

I'm happy to report that I have a 1,200 word piece on Brouwerij 
Koningshoeven, better known as La Trappe, in the new (summer)
issue of Beer Connoisseur Magazine.

(Photo, above: Abdij Koningshoeven, 
Tilburg, Netherlands.)

It's not in Belgium, but it is a Trappist brewery. In my opinion,
a great one, who's beers continue to gain popularity in the
Netherlands, Belgium, and many other European countries.
And, of course, on this side of the pond.

(Photo, above: Lodewijk Swinkels, brewmaster
of La Trappe, with some oak barrels.)

La Trappe's Oak-Aged Quadrupel series has been a big hit, and there
is much news in the article about 2012 and 2013 releases. Exciting

On that alone, you should buy a copy of this issue, if you are not
already subscribed. If you are, way to go.

The production quality of the magazine has remained at the same
high level since I wrote about Belgium in the debut issue, and
Max's Taphouse in issue 2. Glossy photos, high-quality page stock,
and some of the best authors in the beer world.

(Photo, above: the Proeflokaal, or tasting cafe, at 
Abdij Koningshoeven, aka La Trappe.)

The story on Lithuanian farmhouse breweries looks very interesting as
well, as do others about Sierra Nevada's Ken Grossman and one on hop
growing in America.

Editor Jonathan Ingram did a fine job in putting the issue together.

Copies/subscriptions can be purchased on-line here and at bookstores
such as Barnes and Noble.

Monday, August 13, 2012

3 Fonteinen to debut new brewery August 30-September 3

One of the world's most beloved producers of sour beer will celebrate
a new beginning in just a couple of weeks.

3 Fonteinen ("Three Fountains") of Beersel, Flemish Brabant, will
open their doors to the public from Thursday, August 30, through
Monday, September 3.

The occasion: the unveiling of their new brewery, right on site.

Some of you may remember a couple of posts in the last 18 months
or so, first in March 2011, here and then my follow up earlier this
year, here. 

(Photo, above: Armand Debelder with his original, 
circa 1999 brewery, in 2008.)

While Armand Debelder's father, Gaston Debelder, started
blending lambics in the 1950's, it was not until 1999 that there was
actually a brewery on site. Armand started brewing lambic then,
and continued for ten years. "We did not own the first brewery that
was here. It was leased, and the owner took it back in 2009,"
Armand told me during a February 2011 visit.

(Photo, above: sales of Armand 4 Oude Geuze
provided enough money to open another brewery
on site at 3 Fonteinen. This superb beer is
now almost sold out.)

He added: "For a time, I thought I would never brew here again,
as brewing is hard work, and I have a few health problems. But,
once I hired Michael Blancquaert, who is now the co-manager
of the brewery and blendery, I began to think of it again.
Sales of the Armand 4, which was a blend of the last three
lambics brewed on site here, has provided us with enough money
to be able to afford to add a 4,000 liter (40 hectoliter, or about 34
U.S. barrels) brewhouse. Michael will handle the manual labor,
and I will teach him as much as I can about lambic brewing and
blending. And, of course, my wife, Lydie Hulpai, will handle
things like marketing and sales."

(Photo, above: Armand Debelder, left, and Michael
Blancquaert, at ZBF 2012.)

Once the weather cools off a bit, Armand and Michael will put
the new brewhouse into action.

In order to make room for the new brewery, the shop had to be
moved to where the LambicODroom cafe was. So, that cafe was
sadly closed, after as four-year run. The good news is the superb
Restaurant 3 Fonteinen remains open, and is a great place to drink
and eat.

(Photos, above: Restaurant 3 Fonteinen, and an
excellent meal there.)

The hours for the open door days are 10 am to 5 pm. Tours of
the brewery and blendery will be offered in Dutch, English and
French. As an added bonus, each attendee will be given an
admission ticket to De Lambiek, the excellent lambic beer visitor's
center in Alsemberg.

Also, there is an announcement on the 3 Fonteinen website that
old bottles of Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek-not normally sold in
the cafe or restaurant-will be offered for sale on this special weekend.
It sounds like a really good weekend to be in Beersel.

Details on the 3 Fonteinen website, here