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Archive for the ‘beer blogs’ Category

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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I got a transfer from the web design company via PayPal last night, with the following message:

Apologies for the misue of your photo. It was for placement only during early production and was supposed to be swapped out with actual photos of this brewery’s beer — but that task fell through the cracks. Please accept this gift to buy yourself some beer. We have already replaced the photo.

So. No grudges. But I’d still like to try the beers from the Hopvine brewery.

Meanwhile – a crappy photo of a grilled Gorgonzola sandwich and a beer. At the Chelsea Pub in Parma, Italy. It is highlyunlikely that anyone will steal this.

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Someone stole my beer photo.

There have been some weird sites that has taken whole blog posts and republished them, but there have been many years since I have discovered unauthorized use of my photos.

When I look back, there is a strong possibility that I have a general crappy level of photo quality, meaning there are far better sources for nicking beer pictures than this site.

But one of my readers is a brewer at Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri. And he must have a very good memory of photos. Photographic memory?  Because he spotted a photo of his beers. That had appeared in my blog post from last year. But he found it on the web site of the Hopvine Brewery in Aurora, Illinois.

 

Your beers?

Your beers?

 

This is my original photo:

 

 

Trondhjemsamples

 What’s wrong with their own beers? Don’t they look good enough?

I think someone in Aurora, Il. owes me a beer. Either the Hopvine guys. or the ones in IPC, who set up their website.

 You will find our friendly, no-nonsense method of doing business quite refreshing, says IPC.

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Belgian flag

I had to rearrange the schedule of my day job this Easter. In Norway, this is serious vacation time. Many take the whole week off, going skiing on the last patches of snow or opening their summer houses for the season.

I’ll be home most of the week. I was supposed to be on duty the week after Easter, but I received an email that made me change my plans.

Visit Flanders, the tourist promotion body for the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, has invited 8 Scandinavian beer writers for a four day visit from 24 April.  Four Swedes, two Danes, two Norwegians.

We will be visiting cafes and restaurants, breweries and beer festivals.

Here are the breweries where we will make a stop:

  • Cantillon
  • Brasserie de la Senne
  • De Halve Maan
  • De Struise Brouwers
  • Brewery 3 Fonteinen
  • Brewery De Kroon
  • Hof Ten Dormaal
  • Domus

 

Full coverage here on the blog, but also on twitter, @KnutAl, and Facebook.

This is a part of what looks like a general push for Belgian beer tourism. The craft beer explosion has swept the globe, but Belgium has the whole range from historical styles saved in the nick of time to daring newcomers pushing the boundaries. In my nine years of beer blogging, I haven’t given Belgium its fair share of coverage – I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to remedy that.

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Over the years, I have written about the beer scene in many European countries, but I haven’t written very much about Belgium. Sure, I covered some places in Brussels and Brugges, but I am a novice compared to those who make annual visits and know both the back streets of Antwerp and the green country lanes of Payottenland.
I am happy to tell that I belong to a group of eight Scandinavian beer writers invited to a four-day visit to Belgium next month. More about the itinerary later.
I like to plan ahead, so I have already spent some time with google maps, guide books and other sources.  My guides to Belgium were a few years old, so I thought I’d check what’s available.
There are guide books of all shapes and sizes. With 3D drawings of palaces and museums, with pull out or fold-out-and-never-able-to-fold-back-again-maps. And there is a peculiar tradition among the guidebook publishers – they hide the publication date of the book as well as they can, fearing that they will be considered past their sell-by date.
But there are some real gems out there. On Amazon, there are scans of old and out of print books, I stumbled across Peeps at Many Lands: Belgium by George W. T.  Omond, published in 1909 and now in the public domain.
According to Wikipedia, the author was awarded the Order of the Crown for his books about Belgium. I have a nagging feeling that the Belgians did not read the books before giving him the award.
A few highlights:
…..This seems a dull and hard life, but the Flemings do not find it so. Like all Belgians, they are fond of amusement, and there is a great deal of dancing and singing, especially on holidays. Sunday is the chief holiday. They all go to church in the morning, and the rest of the day is given up to play. Unfortunately many of the older people drink too much. There are far too many public-houses. Any person who likes can open one on payment of a small sum of money to the Government. The result is that in many quite small villages, where very few people live, there are ten or twelve public-houses, where a large glass of beer is sold for less than a penny, and a glass of coarse spirits for about the same price. Most of the drinking is done on Sunday, and on Monday morning it is often difficult to get men to work. There are many, especially in the towns, who never work on Mondays. This is quite understood in Belgium, and people who know the country are pleased, and rather surprised, if an artisan who has promised to come and do something on a Monday morning keeps his word. Of course there are many sober work-people, and it is a rare thing to see a tipsy woman, much rarer than in England; but there is a great deal of drunkenness in Belgium.
…………………….
The rooms in these public-houses are pretty large, but they get dreadfully hot and stuffy. The constant laughing and talking, the music, and the scraping of feet on the sanded floor make an awful din. Then there are sometimes disputes, and the Flemings have a nasty habit of using knives when they are angry, so the dancing, which often goes on till two or three in the morning, is the least pleasant thing about these gatherings.

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