1. Beer brewed carefully…
Did you know that:
- Beer is over a thousand years old in our region?
Beer recipes have been recovered from the Antiquity. Scientists estimate that the beer consumption in the Middle Ages was about 500 litres per head per year. Back then beer was a much safer and healthier alternative for water, which was often contaminated, causing epidemics.
- Beer can help prevent ulcers?
Discover also the truth about the “beer belly” – An average and responsible beer consumption fits within a healthy life style and can help prevent certain illnesses. Beer is not fattening, so the “beer belly” does not really exist. The true culprits are the snacks that are often served with the beer. Read more under “At your health !”.
- For one litre of beer you only need between 2 and 7,5 litres of water?
These last few years the Belgian brewers have invested a lot in the improvement of the efficiency of their breweries. This way the water and energy usage have diminished. Under “Beer & Environment” you can read more about this subject!
- There are over 750 Belgian beers?
Belgium is one of the most known beer producing countries. We might not be the country that produces the most but we are unique because of our incomparable diversity. Just about every city has its own beer; there are seasonal beers and over a dozen other kinds and types of beer. Read more in “Unique diversity”.
- Not every beer can be labelled “Belgian Beer”?
The Federation ‘Belgian Brewers’ can take legal actions against producers that wrongly use this label in order to guarantee the quality and origin of the real Belgian beers. Read more about it under “Belgian Style”
- More than 1 beer in two goes abroad?
Read more about it under “Export”.
2. ... to be consumed with care
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) one glass of beer (Pils - 25cl) contains one alcohol unit or 10 grams of pure alcohol. In comparison, a glass of wine (15cl) contains 1.4 alcohol entities (= 14 grams of pure alcohol) and a tumbler of whisky (4cl) 1.3 alcohol entities (= 13 grams of pure alcohol). The low alcohol to volume proportion of beer turns this into an ideal thirst quenching drink. The tasting beers are ideal to enjoy quietly. Of course beer remains an alcoholic beverage, therefore: drink with moderation but enjoy it to the fullest!
In the 1990s, due to the decreasing internal consumption, the Belgian brewers started aiming at external markets to export their beers. To make a success of the export, some adaptations and investments were necessary. The breweries had to be able to guarantee that the taste and quality of the beer were not damaged by the transport and circumstances such as temperature oscillations. In other words, the beer had to learn to travel! The export also is an extra incentive to continuous innovation. For example, a lot of breweries developed a series of new beers with exotic tastes, destined for export!
In the middle ages the brewers charged their beer on horse carts to supply the neighbouring villages. In the meantime new horizons have been explored by the brewers. At the end of the 20th century 33% of Belgian beer production was exported. Now this has even increased up to 56% or more than 1 beer in two!
The majority of the exported beer (81%) remains within the EU with France, the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom as most important consumers. But also the American market starts to discover our beers. During the last 8 years the export to the United States increased with no less than 1449%! The Asian market also has to offer a lot of export opportunities for our world famous beers.
4. Belgian style, beware of the fakes!
An important downside of the increasing popularity of the Belgian beers is the danger for counterfeits. If any brewery could call its beers Belgian this could cause a lot of confusion with the consumers. When this denomination would be used for beers of an inferior quality, this could also severely damage the positive image of the real Belgian beers.
That is why the Federation of ‘Belgian Brewers’ can act against the abuse of the denomination «Belgian beer». Only beers which are brewed in Belgium by a brewery that pays excise duties, or beers which are brewed by a brewery under licence of such a brewery producing those beers in Belgium or beers brewed by a subsidiary company of a Belgian brewery paying excise duties and brewing those beers in Belgium as well can brew the real ‘Belgian beer’. This way we can guarantee the authenticity and quality of our beers to the consumer.
5. Serving beer, a whole ritual!
The perfect way to serve a beer at home
1. Bottled beer should be stored in a dark, dry place.
2. Cool the beer: place the bottles in the fridge at least 24 hours before serving.
thirst-quenching beers : +/- 3°C
gourmet beer : +/- 6 to 8°C
4. Clean glasses with cold water in which a good detergent is dissolved and rinse thoroughly with water. Glasses for gourmet beers should be dried.
Thirst-quenching beer :
Pour the beer all in one go. Tip the glass slightly to one side and then raise it gradually to an upright position. Let the froth flow over the sides and then skim off the surface bubbles of the froth with a clean knife. Rinse the outside of the glass.
Gourmet beer :
Serve the beer slowly so as to create a rich foamy head. Leave some beer in the bottle so the glass can be topped up afterwards. For beers that are bottle conditioned, leave the yeast deposit in the
bottom of the bottle and present the bottle with the glass.
6. Beer & the environment
Did you know that almost 79% of beer packaging is re-usable? Apart from 19.46% of cans and 1.91% of the bottles, everything is re-used. A glass bottle has an average life cycle of between 9 and 15 years. At the end of their lives, the bottles are recycled into new bottles, as a result of which new bottles are made of more than 80% of recycled glass. The empty barrels are picked up by the breweries and are cleaned thoroughly so that they are ready to be filled again. Moreover the green and brown bottles and barrels are the optimum packaging for preserving the beer taste without damaging the aroma of it. For the 21.37% of the one-way packaging, the brewery sector pays over 538.000 euro to Fost Plus, which looks after the collecting, sorting and recycling of domestic packing.
For the brewing process and the cleaning of the installations, water of a high quality is needed. The breweries have taken important measures to reduce their water usage. Did you know that an average brewer needs between 2 and 7,5 l water for 1 litre beer? In 1990, this was still between 10 and 20 l. The brewers continue to pay attention to this and try to raise the cost-effectiveness. Many breweries are equipped with water purifications stations; water is purified and brought back into nature. The slush produced by the purification process is collected and can be used in agriculture to improve the soil.
The Belgian brewery sector is also aware of the fact that energy is a restricted raw material of priceless value. They do efforts to use this as economically and responsibly as possible. In the context of several governmental initiatives, the brewery sector tries to improve its energy efficiency, in a relatively short period (2012 and 2015).
Feed processing companies buy the spent grains and the trub produced by the brewing process. All other waste is sorted and recycled according to the legal prescriptions.