Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don't Avoid the Hasselt.

If you're in the neighborhood of Belgium and looking for something to do this weekend, consider Hasselt.

The Belgian Beer Weekend there kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday and again at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The list of 140 beers is impressive and interesting.

A few that tweak my curiosity:

Finneke looks to be a new one from Glazen Toren, an East Flanders brewery that hits all my sweet spots. Its beers are typically in the saison mold, very dry and spicy with noticeable hop character. Glazen Toren also gives really good head – it must be among the laciest, sturdiest beer foam in the world. The crisp and refreshing Saison d'Erpe Mere is a classic in my mind. So what's the Finneke? No idea.

SloCk from De Graal, with apologies for the apparently accurate spelling. This is another in the encouraging trend of Belgian brewers experimenting with American hops. It looks to be in the blonde mold at a reasonable 6.5% abv. My theory is that the capital "C" in the silly name stands for C-hops. Sounds promising but here's my advice for friends with American craft-beer palates: Don't get your hops up. I mean hopes, of course, don't get your hopes up.

And finally, Black Jack Imperial Porter from the Struise boys at Deca. Struise is somewhat controversial because despite the lack of their own brewery thay have achieved incredible popularity among the international beer-geek community. I openly admit to being a fanboy. The Black Jack is said to be an American-style porter of 7.5% strength. Bottles have been sighted here and there, but the stuff is scarce. We'll see how long it lasts this weekend.

If you've been to this fest before, note the change of venue. This will be at the Cultereel Centrum at Kunstlaan 5. See you there.


  1. The way I've heard it explained, "Slock" is a combination of the Dutch word "slok", meaning "slurk", and C.K., the initials of Carl Kins, the creator of the beer.

  2. "Glazen Toren also gives really good head..."

    Now THERE'S an endorsement!

  3. Ah. I prefer my theory to the truth.

    "Slurk" surely isn't a real work, but I guess "slok" means swallow or gulp or something?

    If the beer is any good I'll try to stop being annoyed by the spelling.