Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nougatty Chunks of Belgian Beer News: Jean-Chris, Cantillon, Struise, and More.

Is nougatty a word? Doesn't matter.

Fans of La Rulles or Brasserie Ste-Helene may remember the Jean Chris beers... Rulles brewed the first one and Ste-Hélène the second, both designed for Jean Le Chocalatier in Habay-le-Neuve (run by a guy named, you guessed it, Jean) and the Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon beer shop in Arlon (run by a guy named Christophe). Part of the idea is to pair the beer with chocolate. Jean and Chris are buddies. Remind me to get together with a buddy one day and have top-flight Belgian breweries make beer for us.

One was a hoppy pale ale, the other was a stout. Both were short-lived, or so it seemed. Now I see both are on tap again at the Delirium Taphouse (that would be the ground level of Delirium Imperial Headquarters on Impasse de la Fidélité), according to the emailed newsletter. It's not clear to me whether these are freshly brewed again, or if the bar had been holding some kegs back for later (as it often does). I suspect the latter. Delirium co-owner Joel Pecheur has confirmed to me by email that these are fresh kegs, recently brewed, and he has my apologies for the unnecessary speculation.

The bigger news is that as of last month there is a third Jean-Chris beer, and this one comes from Cantillon. The Jean-Chris Nomad is a gueuze, bottled and blended from lambics of three different years aged in three different wine casks: a Bordeaux red, a Bordeaux white, and a Côtes du Rhône. So it's not simply a re-labeled Cantillon gueuze but apparently an original creation. Mi-Orge Mi-Houblon was selling the bottles, limited to three per person, starting in late September. It took less than a month to sell out. However, they are still available at Delirium and (I presume) Moeder Lambic as well.

OK, now for Struise: The guys in Oostvleteren have updated their draft list for the Copenhagen Beer Celebration (a.k.a. Mikkeller and Friends). Never you mind that it's not until May 11 and 12! These guys are prepared. And a little advance buzz never hurts. What jumps out at me from the list are the top three beers:

1. Havic - 4% bottom fermented dry hopped lager
2. Single Black - 2% BOB Stout
3. Sniper - 1.5% IPA
In other words, Struise has just destroyed your last hope of generalizing about their beers. And possibly they got sick of smart-asses like me asking when they're going to make a session beer. (Pictured: Urbain Coutteau in repose at the Struise farm.)

Finally: A blog that is right up my alley, and probably yours: Have Beer, Will Travel, there featuring a beery walk around Brussels. Nothing fancy, just lots of photos of beer we'd like to drink in places we'd like to be. The author, I believe is Fred Waltman, he of the Franconia Beer Guide and Mad Brewer. Apparently his blog has been around for a couple of years. But then, so have a lot of them.


  1. The last 2% ABV Struise stout I had wasn't a session beer. I had trouble getting through 100ml of it. Yuck.

  2. Ah, fair point in that critique (and while I haven't had the beer I'd love to try it). Session-strength is not necessarily session-able. Did not mean to infer by my speculation that they had actually aimed to make session beers.

    Hooray for dry-hopped lagers, though.

  3. Hi Joe,

    The two first Jean-Chris weren't "one-shots", there have been different batches brewed and I think they're still producing them. Good thing as those are two excellent brews!

  4. Thanks Toine, I'm glad to hear that.

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