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Archive for the ‘beer blogs’ Category

I don’t read many beer books. As a matter of fact, I buy slightly more beer books than I actually read. I interact a fair bit with other beer bloggers, but I don’t even read them as systematically as I did. The demise of Google reader is partly to blame.

A blogging duo which I have followed for years is an exception.Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey have a love of language as well as a love of beer, and, have a personal voice between them that is personal, not private.
They moved out of London and settled in South Western England some years ago, showing yet again that you dont have to be based in a major city to play a part in the beer writing community.
They have been open about their bigger projct for a long time, putting together a history of British beer over the last five decades, starting with the early beginnings of The Society for the Preservation of Beers in the Wood  (SPBW among friends) and CAMRA and ending up with the fantastic diversity of today.
They have researched this in depth, using a long list of printed and oral sources. Their blog has been used cleverly for crowd sourcing information.
The result, Brew Britannia,  is impressive. It is a story of businesses that thrive or fail, of consumer rebellion, of enthusiasm and organizational strife. And, given the topic, a story of English eccentricity told in such a way that a smile and a chuckle is never far away.
In addition to the well told main part of the book, there are appendixes and comprehensive notes, even an index, which you don’t find too often nowadays. (You’ll even find me in the index, which is, come to think of it, even rarer).
When you write a book like this, you have to choose what to include and what to leave out. I have followed the British beer scene for most of this period, and I did not find any omissions to point out.
Go ahead. This won’t end up on the shelf with the unread beer books. And it’s in paperback, meaning you can read it on the bus, which is more than you can say about the heavier tomes full of glossy photos.

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Sooner or later, there was bound to be a Portugese beer blog.

Cerveja Artesanal Portugesa.

 

There seems to be a fair number of micro breweries being established. Let us see if I’m able to find some good brews for my holidays in Algarve, although the most interesting beer places seem to be to the north of Lisbon.

Craft beer on the beach – in Portugal as well?

 

 

 

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Maturing bottles

For the years to come

On arrival in Brussels, I met most of my fellow travellers at the Cantillion brewery. We were not given any special tour, and I will not  waste your time retelling the information in their brochures. But if your are seriously interested in beer, this is a place you need to visit once. It is a living brewery museum, where lambic, the spontaneously fermented beer of the Brussels region, is brewed the way it used to be. If you want to see the active process, you need to turn up during the winter, as this beer can not be brewed during the warm months. There are open brewing days when you can participate more actively, too. Check their web site for details.

After finishing your trip, taking in the aromas of the beer alchemy taking place in the oak casks, there are two beer samples waiting for you. But there are also some special bottles you are unlikely to find anywhere else. We shared a bottle of the Zwanze 2012 Geuze with rhubarb. A fresh, well-balanced geuze with a hint of sweetness. Some rhubarb in this blend, but, while there is some fruitiness, it is impossible to detect any particular flavour from that.

Since my last visit – about seven years ago, I suppose, they have rearranged the reception area, expanding the shop and adding a sit down bar area. There used to be just a very basic counter and a few empty barrels, now there’s a lot of blond wood and a place where you could actually hang out and sample some beers.

But that was not for us. We had places to go. Many places.

Cantillon glasses

As real as they come

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I had serious ambitions about doing live blogging while in Belgium, but the schedule did not really allow for that. It was only on the plane back that I really felt able to sit down and think through it all. So, yes, there will be some impressions from our brewery visits, less on the beer cafés, a bit about beer tourism and so on.

And to make this perfectly clear once again, I travelled to Belgium with seven other Scandinavian beer writers. We were guests of Visit Flanders, the Flemish tourist promotion office. I am not obliged to praise everything I experienced,  and I will give my honest impressions to the best of my abilities. But it was really an adventure. So stay tuned.

What we saw were contrasts, even among the small scale breweries we visited. The deeply traditional, the passionately local, the exclusively organic, the scientifially based, the beers that came back from the dead and the rock ‘n’ roll brewers that take their show on the road. And these people have stories to tell. Maybe traditional television goes the way of printed newspapers. But I hope someone records the thoughts of the people we met on this trip, it would be another way of protecting the heritage.

A side note: If you want to visit Belgium, do it now. If they had figured out what to do with Brussels, the Belgian state would probably be gone already.

 If you want to see the coverage my colleagues have from the trip, you will find them here:

http://www.portersteken.se/

http://skrubbe.com/

http://www.ofiltrerat.se

http://www.garshol.priv.no/blog/beer

http://www.humleochmalt.blogspot.no/

http://beerticker.dk

www.carstenberthelsensordogtale.dk

 

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The airport express train is approaching. But it is early. Way to early. And no coffee to be had at the station.

If I were a wee bit smarter, I would have asked for a flight last night. And paid for a cheap hotel in Brussels.

But it’s beer o’ clock somewhere.

20140424-050608.jpg

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In addition to visiting two lambic breweries, Cantillon and 3 Fonteinen,  our visit to Belgium also incluces a beer festival for hardcore fans of spontanously fermented beers. The Night of The Great Thist takes place in the tiny village of Eizeringen, organized by the Geuze Society. As you can see, there is even an American brewery on the list. But they are owned by Belgians, I believe.

The problem will be how to pick just a few of these in the time available. The preliminary list:

Boon (Lembeek)
Oude Lambiek
Oude Geuze
Geuze Mariage Parfait 2009
Kriek
Oude Kriek
Kriek Mariage Parfait 2009

Geuzestekerij De Cam (Gooik)
Oude kriek

Brouwerij Cantillon (Anderlecht)
Gueuze
Kriek
Vigneronne
Saint-Lamvinus
Rosé de Gambrinus
Lambic Bruocsella

De Troch (Wambeek)
Oude Lambiek
Oude Geuze
Kriek
Framboise

Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen (Beersel)
Oude Geuze
Oude Gueuze Vintage
Oude Kriek
Schaarbeekse kriek 2005

Brouwerij Girardin (Sint-Ulriks-Kapelle)
Oude Lambiek
Kriekenlambiek
Gueuze
Kriek
Faro
Framboise

Geuzestekerij Hanssens Artisanaal (Dworp)
Oude gueuze
Oude kriek
Oudbeitje

Hoge Raad voor Ambachtelijke Lambikbieren
HORAL Megablend 2013

Brouwerij Lindemans (Vlezenbeek)
Oude Lambiek
Apple
Faro
Framboise
Kriek
Pêcheresse
Oude Kriek Cuvée Rene
Oude Gueuze Cuvée Rene

Moriau (Sint-Pieters-Leeuw)
Oude Geuze

Brouwerij Mort Subite (Kobbegem)
Oude Gueuze
Oude Kriek Oogst

Brouwerij Oud Beersel (Beersel)
Oude Lambiek
Oude Gueuze
Oude Kriek
Framboise

Gueuzerie Tilquin (Bierghes)
Oude Lambiek
Oude Gueuze
Quetsche

Brouwerij Timmermans (Itterbeek)

Oude Lambiek
Oude Gueuze
Oude Kriek
Geuze
Kriek
Lambicus

Allagash Brewery (Portland, Maine USA)
Coolship Resurgam (assemblage van twee spontane gistingsbieren van twee verschillende jaren)
Coolship Red (bier van spontane gisting waaraan frambozen werden toegevoegd)
Coolship Cerise (bier van spontane gisting waaraan krieken werden toegevoegd)

 

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Once is funny, when you find it is widespread, I get annoyed.

Jørn, the brewer at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri, has pointed out that he has found my photo at yet another website. At Mozzarella’s Grill & Bar. It’s one of a number of photos rotating at their front page.

 

Mozzarellas

It might be that the restaurant chain, this time located in various locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island, is innocent. But they could have asked for photos actually originating from their own restaurants. And they claim the copyright for their website.

My main suspect is, once again, the company behind the website. This time it is called Zevon Media. According to  their own pages, they have social media skills. We’ll see about that.

For the record, here is my photo of the beer samples in Trondheim again.  Little did they know they would conquer the globe.

 Trondhjemsamples

I await a response. This time I will not settle for dimes. I know a beer blogger lawyer.

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