News Christian Deglas - NEWS MAI/JUIN 2017.

«In May, do what you like, but in June nothing holds you !» is a traditional French proverb but slightly adapted for a spring as in Belgium, particular freshly and hardly adjusted to the appreciation of new beers. No matter, they will cherish much better and more for a long time once the mercury of the thermometer is more generous. And very fortunately also, we were obliging to keep some new crus with patience for when the good hour is going to ring.


For the 5th consecutive year, the Brasserie Lefebvre brings out its spring version. Although it had come out since last March, we preferred to present it to you at this end of May, because as written above, the whims of a severe weather report would have disadvantaged it. And we did well, because over these 2 months following its launch on the market it became experienced and spreads out with a lot of control and elegance, among the bests not to be missed. It hopped composition was already very generous initially, but it is maintaining decorated with a 6th specific hop of Alsatian origin during its phase of « dry hopping ». This is also what explains that it still improves in character to reach at the same time a very meaning nose reminding me to certain degrees the freshness of beers of the Haut Rhin and the Black Forest, in spite of a magnificent generous but not too silky foam which authorizes however citrus fruit and floral nuances. Its flavor is very flexible, rotating on a very present but not heavy bitterness, so giving it this lightness of a long-lived tone in the bottom of the mouth. It does not assault at no time either the throat, nor the tongue in spite of its major composition of fine hops. It assimilates very well to what we expect from a spring beer, leaning even on a flavor bringing a lot of safety and optimism. It so gives it a double role, that crucial of a young beer, bringing the revival, the other one, the insurance of an alert brew where from escapes a vitality by slightly exotic flavors pigmented with basilica but so much flowered, that we ask for more.

For a successful spring, here is thus a very flourished bouquet !


If the motto of Belgium is « Unity is strength ! », we should admit that the solid foundations of its base, are the beers. The spirit of the culture « beer » is now recognized by the UNESCO as immaterial cultural heritage of the Humanity. And if still needed the Belgian is proud of his beers. It is also the common denominator of 3 linguistic regions of the country. There is not one week unless one even several beers make their appearance on the brewing scene. More and more, they become identified with their region, with their culture and still with an event. This is the reason why it is the symbol of the Kingdom. This spirit of union is still illustrated in a very cunning and spiritual way by this new beer. « L’Arrogante » is a coupling of 2 names of Belgian cities, the one situated in Wallonia (La Roche-en-Ardenne), the other one in Flanders (Ghent). The coupling of the first syllables in each of the involved cities make up the name of the beer. In reality, there are even two versions, the blond, who is announced as « the most Belgian » but is it also because its bitter but dry taste (45 IBU) gets most closer with the personality of her inhabitants. Composed of three very typified hops, it accumulates a uniform nose reminding a lot of traditional beers but also imposes its strength of character by making it more than a simple beer. Its conclusion is rather dry but attempts to keep the bitterness very profoundly to the throat without awakening a sourness. It calls back a piece of Belgian History as the country where its inhabitants work hard also while keeping a part for the pleasure because the Belgians have a sense of the party and the very friendly spirit. Of a medium degree of alcohol but however sufficient, this Arogante authorizes more than a single tasting but also allows to remain watchful that a beer brewed carefully should be consumed with care.
Belgium also has its past of coal mining. Mainly the region of the Center and the  pays Noir de Charleroi. L’Arogante is not outdone and honors it with its version « Sout-Ish » (5,5%) evoking not only this very painful period. However as for the blond aiming to be « the most Belgian », the stout pays tribute to one of the biggest painters of Belgium, René Magritte, by qualifying the theme of the beer as « Ceci n'est pas un stout » in reference to the famous painting of the artist of Lessines « Ceci n’est pas une pipe ». The stout in itself is very traditional. In this case its base consists of coffee and chocolate malts, just like 3 varieties of aromatic hops but the role of which is rather symbolic, limiting to keep the looks on its traditional path and balancing possible rounding because it is nevertheless necessary to notice that the bitter side is estimated at 50 IBU which on the scale of the bitternesses places it among one of the highest of Belgium, assuming it a very strong character.
The 2 versions of these beers with very optimistic perspectives, also authorize it an opening so varied towards a beerpairing accumulating so many specialties of the North of Belgium as the South . Cheeses are in first case for the honor just like the chocolate, or still with mustard delicatessen as well as the products of the sea as molds and oysters, prepared in their simplest impression.


The beer undergoing a maturation « oak age » thanks to yeasts and residual sugars of former barrels having contained previously armagnac, cognac, wine, champagne or still whisky, is not anymore the privilege of beers. Indeed, since a few months, it is rather the opposite because certain alcohols stemming from the distillation, undergo from now on also a maturation but in former barrels of beer. They are not any whisky's because the famous mark known « Glenfiddich » mainly for its single malt, proceeded to an aging of one of its crus in barrels having contained type IPA's beers. The first production, under the name of « Glenfiddich IPA Experience » is on the market today. A scotch whisky single malt comes out of it, soaked with fresh notes of citrus fruits and with aromatic hop. The wooded as well accompanies this new flavor, strengthening the effect of an impression of older whisky than it appears to be. The method seems to interest the English people because other distilleries are about to follow this new trend. In fact it is only the return of the success of beers  « oak age » to align the balance of authenticities of recipes.


On May 17th, 1892 then hardly 23 years old, the young Omer Vander Ghinste started his brewery in the village of Bellegem near Kortrijk in West Flanders. This family company which is today for its fifth generation there, Omer Jean holding now the fate between his hands, will bring out on the day of the anniversary, a special luxury bottle of 75 cl in limited number, corked and muzzled. The beer will be a traditional « Omer » but the chances are high that presented in this elegant bottle, this blond will seem to take a more hopped range and will appear to possess still more character.
This birthday edition will be however available in the stores Colruyt, Alvo, Delhaize, Spar and Makro, as well as near the most faithful distributors of the brewery. The anniversary vintage will be offered to everyone acquiring itself of the purchase of 12 bottles of traditional « Omer ». Also let us remind that until now, only by generation, the elder boy carries the first name of their illustrious grandfather. However in which case a generation without a boy, it is going to need to approve the first name in the feminine « Omère ?! ».


Initially this scotch was a logical result in one of the productions of the Brussels brewery Wielemans Ceuppens especially known for its gueuzes. In 1921 it produced a stout named « Crown Tree Stout », a black beer very appreciated during these years for its wealth in vitamin B. However with the following vague of scotches in 1926 it composed its card with a scotch of pure Scottish tradition, and which will be submitted to its clients simply under the name « Scotch CTS » (7,2%). Over the years it is rather in the region of Liège that it expanded and essentially in Christmas time. So it was approved in this holiday period until the middle of the years '90. From now on it is available all year long both in bottle as on the barrel. It appears at the moment among the scotches the most appreciated in Belgium. It became also a beer, not only very popular and friendly, it sets in spite of, a very considerable place with the purists. This is the reason why AB-INBEV, seems to supply it with new assets during its tasting, by giving the amateurs tin beer mugs, allowing to raise its delicious nobility. It drinks fresh, between 5 and 6° and possesses a soft tone accompanied by a point of woody bark topped with silky and permanent foam. Served in its new glass, it takes a new dimension which should again attract it the favors of an even more widened clientele.


Taken out discreetly, 2 years ago already, a first version of Belfort blond (8%), had met a beautiful interest. His designer, Philip Vandaele, encouraged by this result, puts away back with the second version, brown this time and endowed with an additional alcohol volume  (9%). Its ingredients are also rather unpublished, because besides roasted malts combined with chocolate ones, it polishes up her flavor of a fine bitterness thanks to the dry hopping. It so seems more aromatic and rich in the palate which will perpetuate its taste in the throat in which it will hang on with character. It should satisfy not only the amateurs of the blond version but also draw the attention of the curious ones about very suggestive innovative tastes. To discover in summer and extend towards the autumn.


Since 2013 the USA possess their own Trappist. Brewed in St Joseph Abbey, in the North of Boston, it was recognized within the head office of the association « Authentic Trappist Product ». Brother Isaac Keeley, responsible of the brewery, has just announced a new beer in the range more and more spread by the abbey, but which will unfortunately not be available in Europe because of its limited production. It will be about a quadruple version which will be simply baptized « Quad » so completing the production of « Single » (6,5%), « Dubbel » (Trappist Holiday Ale 9% ) and «Imperial Stout » (8,7%). It will be available for the general public, on June 12th of this year, but thus only in favor of the Americans. No, it is not about a decision of president Trump !
It is a save bet that its conception was strongly influenced by the Dutch brewers of the abbey of La Trappe in Tilburg, the Netherlands but kept secret as a confession !, without being a real copy. It receives numerous specific assets of which a robust density of roasted « caramel » malts crowning a presence of 2 even 3 hops dominating in equal way. It appears under the features of a dark amber and should be available in 2 size, 33 and 75 cl, however it is possible that it also will come out in a version « Magnum » (1,5l).
You have however some opportunities to discover it, during the festival of the « Belgian Brewers », the first WE of September 2017 and still in Horeca Expo of Ghent in November 2017.


1882, in Beersel (Flemish Brabant) between Halle and Brussels, there where extends the Valley of the Senne, leading with her its micro organisms which join very involuntarily to the beverages of beers cooling in the air, we find one of the first breweries with typical spontaneous fermentation in this region. Initially, one of these most oldest installations ensues the Brewery Vandervelden, among which the brewer Henri, produced for the Brabant nobility, spread very close to the castle of the village, hectoliters of lambic. As well inside as outside of the armed fortress, the beer flowed in stream, without ever making the inhabitants excessively drunk. The small village lived throughout its history a long passion, until the day when the brewer, tired by the hard seasonal brewing labor, decided to stop. Without successor and thus no renewal of its production, the brewery Vandervelden was dedicated to disappear. And nevertheless, at the end of 2002, when the installation produced their last drops of lambic, Gert Christiaens, an enthusiast of the gueuze and its authenticity, came by. He decided to relaunch this beautiful and old brewery. In memory to the history of the installation he baptized it Oud Beersel and perpetuated in the big relief of its inhabitants, the production of the lambic. Today in 2017, 135 years from the beginning of the big episode of this brewery, Gert, the new brewer pays tribute to his predecessor, Henri Vandervelden, by taking out a special cru pure lambic, and thus pure health, carrying in the label the symbolic figure of « 135 years » composed of a cutting of various lambics, younger as well as older. The specialists tear literally up this brew, because it already happened for this type of gueuze, that a Japanese amateur offered up to 800 € for a bottle.


As a conclusion for this recent « news », I shall offer myself a small personal pleasure with a lot of pride. Indeed, last March, which was my surprise to receive an invitation of the « Sossons d’Orvaulx » to invite me to participate to my enthronement as a new member during the Chapter 41. This brotherhood resolutely turned to Orval, is also a faction, the slogan of which is turned to the social and especially the charitable works. Very worried by the concern of precarious fate of certain people, the « Sossons d’Orvaulx » try by their own to help these families in the necessity. Their thought, in dialect Gaumais in the original text, is « Do good around you with a big hart and a lot of friendship », here is thus a healthy slogan besides when it is accompanied with one (or more) glass of Orval, is far from being unbearable !