Monday, September 15, 2008

Upcoming Belgian Beer Fests. New! With Unasked-for Commentary.

There were many beers drunk, T-shirts sold, and glasses broken. Lovely ladies played music and manly men kissed each other on the cheek. After two days of festifying, my friends and I marveled at the feat of offering so many good brews from so few breweries. Here's to hoping Bruxellensis was half as financially successful as it was flat-out fun.

Moving on: Here's a look at the upcoming fest calendar. There are beer (or beer-related) fests going on nearly every weekend of the year in Belgium, but some of the most interesting are just around the corner.

(BIG thanks to the Bierebel site and also to Paul Briggs for sharing his excellent list.)

September 19-21, Poperinge Hop Festival. Only happens once every three years, and this is one of them. Not technically a beer fest, as it celebrates the crop rather than the final product. Still, we have it on good authority that there will in fact be beer there. It might even be good beer, if you know where to look.

September 20-21, Fête de la Bière, Pain et Fromage in Durbuy. Alas we'll be in Poperinge instead, so maybe next year. The only way this fest could be more attractive is if it was called "Fête de la Bière, Pain, Fromage et Sex."

September 27-28, Open House at Brasserie Dupont in Tourpes. Drink fresh saison on tap and see where the magic happens.

October 5, Brocante Tégestophile at the Belgian Beer Museum in Lustin. Here is your French word of the day. A "tégestophile" is someone who collects beer glasses and other breweriana. In other words, antique schwag.

October 18-19, Brassigaume in Marbehan. Like Bruxellensis, this one is dedicated to small brewers. Lots of strange and interesting beers here. Last year I became a Belgian TV star in my own mind after an inebriated news interview. See if you can spot me in this clip.

November 7-9, Weekend of Belgian Beers in Hasselt. More than 120 beers in a nice town. Have a look at the Jessenhofke, a B&B run by dedicated homebrewers.

November 8, Public Brewing at Cantillon in Brussels. Celebrate the start of lambic-brewing season. Get there bright and early for coffee, croissants, and a taste of fresh wort. And also to beat the crowds.

November 15-16
, the second-ever Bruges Beer Festival. We heard glowing reports last year. Great location at the Belfry, and a special focus on food.

November 22, Quintessence at Cantillon in Brussels. A sort of progressive where you go from room to room, sampling a long series of lambic-and-food pairings for as long as you can stand it. Damn it, this country is going to be the end of me.

December 13-14, Kerstbierfestival in Essen. Highly recommended. Well worth abandoning your family during the Christmas season to attend. My wife has been the DD two years running, and she says it's my turn. Which means we'll take the train.


  1. Thanks for the summary list! I got all excited when I saw Essen, thinking it was the German one, and only an hour or so away by train from Münster, where I live. Oh well, I might have to hop on the train to another one :)

  2. I highly recommend getting up to the Belgian Essen for that Christmas Beer Festival.

    Just make sure it's not the one spelled Esen, in West Flanders. Or either of the Essens in the Netherlands.

    I think Essen is to Europe what Springfield is to the U.S.