Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Geuzey News. And Ponderings.

Here's a roundup of some Belgian beery news you can use... and some you can't, but maybe you'll enjoy it anyway.

Gueuzerie Tilquin opens its doors. Wallonia's first latter-day lambic blender plans an open house weekend on May 28 and 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Go and see Pierre's big barrels and taste his work in Rebecq-Rognon, southwest of Halle. Conveniently for those of you lucky enough to go, those dates are the same as the Weekend of Spontaneous Fermentation in Buggenhout. You can do it all.

Speaking of the Weekend of Spontaneous Fermentation, there's a beer list here. That's an early tentative list, so I think you could expect more surprises. Just scanning that thing makes me hungry for cheese. I wonder if Drie Fonteinen's new Armand'4 Oude Geuze Lente will be there? That would be the first of four high-priced special blends aimed at re-starting brewing operations there.

Geuze-barrel woodchips in the grocery store. Really. Our man Phil Madden in Antwerp says he found them at a Carrefour Express. And he's a barbecue maven. He's also wondering whether they could be used to inoculate some homebrew. Apparently it was a barrel from Timmermans that gave its life for Phil's smoking habit.

What's Mom got on tap? I find it healthy to check what guest beers Moeder Lambic is pouring now and then. Keeps me motivated to make some money and get back there soon. In St-Gilles: Bink Bloesem from Kerkom, Hop Ruiter from Scheldebrouwerij, and Zona Cesarini from Birrificio Toccalmatto. Besides the usual Senne beers and other beauties. At Fontainas, at last check: Mikkeller Sorachi Ace IPA, Schlenkerla Fastenbier, Bi-Du Artigian ale, Schneider Weisse, Uerige Alt, Foufoune, Vigneronne, Cuvée St Gilloise, Bons Voeux, Saison Dupont Dry Hopping 2011, Biolégère, Witkap Triple, Cuvée de Ranke, De Ryck Arend Triple, Sainte Hélène Grognarde.

Are you buying fewer Belgian beers? Maybe because it's too expensive? Here's why I ask: Duvel reports that it's selling more of its strong ales--but not as much as it had hoped, thanks to a weak dollar. Maybe you have fewer duckets to spend, and maybe those duckets don't go as far as you like when facing the price tags of specialty European beers. Just wondering.

I mean, we can say "drink local" and mean it, but it's still nice to splurge now and then on an Orval or whatever your indulgence of choice might be. Right? But maybe we're doing so less often these days.

It's a critical question for Belgian craft brewers, many of whom are largely dependent on the U.S. export market.

*Photo courtesy of Pierre Tilquin.

1 comment:

  1. Part of it might be the high price of Belgian beers, but I think that a bigger reason is that a lot more US brewers have started to make high-quality brews that compete directly with the Belgian products, both in quality and cost -

    As you pointed out, each of us have only so much beer $$$ to spend so if some of it goes to domestic beers then the imports are the ones to suffer