News Christian Deglas - March/April 2018.


It’s true, I grant it, we had no very constant winter. It is just in the final straight that the cold showed itself rougher, not just enough to leave the hop shoots pointed by the head and indicate us at the same time that 2018 should be an excellent year for the quality of the hop. The Belgian world of brewery more than ever, exports its beers towards all the horizons of the planet, even the most unusual. The brewing sector is the invited host of almost all the diplomatic missions, that they are accompanied by our sovereigns or by diverse minister’s personal staffs. It was the case quite recently in Canada particular in its part Quebec, the region promoter of the era of the microbrewery. In November 2017 it was India which welcomed some of our brewers and in particular beers of the Abbey of Chimay.


Bernard Dubrulle, Jean-Louis Sparmont and Axel Cleenewerck, three convinced pioneers that the Belgian beer owes to be present in the numerous gastronomic relays in Belgium. For 17 years already, this guide of Belgian beers became the real bible not only for the foreign visitor but also for the autochthon, watching to not really miss anything. This very complete work, and quite easily handy, indicates you all the good stages not to be missed. Classified carefully and alphabetically, it is forbidden to you to know nothing more about our beers, of its breweries but also its stages where the beer pairing reigns in master. Although it does not appear at once, this guide shows however 216 pages. No region of Belgium escaped the vigilance of these 3 enthusiast beer authors. And besides it manipulates easily and with perfection. For little you would smell all the aromas from your sofa. Furthermore, this petit futé includes a history of the beer, the various stages of its manufacturing, the way of serving the beer as well as all that you should know to not missing a thing of the flavour of beers. The Petit Futé is a work by which you will appreciate the beer to the last drop in the glass!


This year we celebrate the 60th birthday of the Expo ’58. Those who, as me, lived it, have never forgotten it. I think that it is the most prestigious World Fair which was setted up. It left behind numerous memories as the Ancienne Belgique where already the Belgian beer took an additional moose. Numerous local beers obtained their letter of nobility, like Wiels, Concordia Pils, Gueuze Belle-Vue, Piedboeuf and I forget some. The most beautiful jewel remained intact, with the Atomium which is the most prestigious symbol of a whole generation. Between the modernity of certain buildings as the American Theater, for example, we shall also remember the Congolese pavilion in which there was reproduced a spectacular stream of the big African river. Is it a coincidence that today, John Christian Kavakure, founder of the brasserie de Flobecq, wanted to make relive this magnificent memory by a birthday beer, the « FLO 58 », a delicious very steady amber, mainly by the particular accents that must remind the announcement of the beginning of the years sixties? For certain nostalgic, it will bring them towards a user-friendliness more than a symbolism of a whole time, when human communication still had a sense of the friendship. For the youngest it will be synonymic of a gustatory opening as the elder at the time, who discovered in one day all the facets of the world. The Russian « Sputnik », present at the Expo 58, already evoked us the big dreams of the man, as that to be able to go one day to the moon. This new sophisticated beer will certainly not send John to another planet but will have the big deserve to bring its social role to move closer the people.


The trademark « Belgian Family Brewers » (BFB) is an authenticity label grouping the family breweries which are since generations at the head of the company and which are it still. These brewers remained faithful to the original receipts of their ancestors. Established in association they are about twenty today and include various types of beers, with high, low or spontaneous fermentation. This week, the brewery Boon received the recognition of « Belgian Family Brewers » so joining two other lambic producing breweries, Timmermans and Lindemans. Frank Boon is one of the pioneers of the lambic. Certain sources so define that the word « lambic » would find his source in the village Lembeek near Halle, in Flemish Brabant at the entrance of the Pajotteland. On the other hand, the truth which is established well is that Frank Boon’s initiative is anchored in its region, and even farther, because his company is well considered outside the Belgian borders, as in the USA, in Canada and in Japan. The brewery Boon possesses its own lambics, allowing typical blending for the composition of gueuze. Thanks to his sons Jos and Karel, the sustainability of the brewery will allow to protect and to guarantee the heritage for at least a new generation.


March is synonymic of the end of the winter to open up to a month of April, where we don’t remove a thread of clothing, but nevertheless stays the period when the first terraces find their place. It is also the first period when the instinct of thieves of glasses wake up. What could be more tightening than to taste a rather rare beer at home, and which once poured in its original recipient seem to tempt the collectors of rare pieces. Some of them are hardly requested because they are relatively rare on the market of the public tasting. About 500.000 glasses disappear annually to finish their existence at the bottom of a cupboard. In front of this real plague, which amounts to several thousand Euros for the barkeepers but also for the brewers, the latter sensibly equipped their glasses with an anti-theft device, in particular for those calling on to wooden supports. However, the system is rather expensive and has not shown its proofs yet, but all the suggestions are welcome


The brewery Duvel Moortgat, one of the most important in Belgium, is also very active outside the border of the kingdom. In the USA, she already has a place more than preponderant with in particular the brewery Boulevard Brewery, the central point in Kansas City in Missouri, producing mainly the « TANK » (8,5%) twin sister of the Duvel. This time it’s the turn of an Italian brewer to be incorporated into the group Moortgat. It is about the company BIRRIFICIO DEL DUCATO. This brewery is especially known in Italy for its high-quality beers but also for its quite high sale prices. What does not prevent it from being very appreciated in particular on the good gastronomic tables. Its brewing card mentions about twenty crus most directed to an acid flavour. The group Moortgat approaches now the top 20 of world breweries and should again increase its growth during the next years.


Undoubtedly the old oak wooden barrels having been of use to the maturation of alcohols or wines, are not ready to disappear or to serve only as a support of glasses on café terraces. In an already long list, we identify since March about ten new crus as the « RENAISSANCE » (7%) of the brewery De Dochter van de Korenaar located as a small island of Belgium on the territory of the Netherlands. The brewer proposes an IPA matured in barrels of Burgundy white wines as Puligny-Montrachet. This IPA, arrived at the end of its 4 months of maturation, will find again always bitter flavours but softened with a typical dry of the Burgundy white wines. Its new maturation will take a stay between 6 months and 1 year. The first crus are on the market from Easter as aperitive or join very well with some white chocolate as mousse.

The « BINCHOISE XO » (11%) of the eponym brewery returns on the market, but this time with a more supported structure essentially guaranteed by its stay in old oak barrels having benefited from the maturation of Armagnac of the South of France. From then on, this basically already temperamental blond, offers a clearly pricklier flavour leaving behind her a very long back taste where from the typical character of Armagnac specially stand out. Its sale price is over the average.

Next to the latter the « George IV » (8%) from the brewery Deca near Poperinge, seems a little stripped, this mainly by its ripening in barrels of whisky. It frees a more malted sensation, revealing even vanilla segments. The beer makes reference to Georges Christiaens, the initial brewer of Deca who died suddenly in 2013.

Finally, also mentioning the « Liefmans Goudenband » (9,5%) which after its mixed method of fermentation, as the old Flemish browns, benefits here from a new guarding in barrels, but the latter having been of use previously to the maturation of Californian red wines. It shows itself rather round, losing its moderated acidity for the benefit of a more inflexible mouth and after taste on the final drought.

After these chocolate weeks of Easter eggs, we shall return next time with, let us hope, the presentation of the English trappist, for which there was a small technical setback without gravity, delaying only the bottling.