Alvinne homebrewfest 2009

On the 7th of november was the Alvinne homebrew gathering. 12 homebrewers (myself included) served 20-something beers. This is the event I mentioned that I brewed the two versions of Hop-Nest IPA for. The event was a smashing success! The tasting room at Alvinne was quite full of thirsty homebrewers and non-brewing-beer-lovers. I didn’t know what to expect from the event so I was pleasantly surprised to see such a good crowd.

There were many good beers there, so my taste-buds were happy. Glenn also whipped up some great soup. Romanesco-Cauliflower soup with Melchior, mussels and a touch of pesto drizzled on top. You can find the recipe here. Back to the beer though. The highlights for me had to be Uli’s geuzes. If you don’t know who Uli is, he is one of the most passionate and creative beer lovers you’ll ever meet. He spends much of his time roaming the pajottenland buying up lambic from the different produces. The rest of the time he is back in Germany blending these lambics into wonderful geuze or aging them with different fruits, dry-hops, or other interesting ingredients. Perhaps my favorite of the day was a geuze dry-hopped with East Kent Goldings. Really spectacular! Uli said he also dry-hopped a geuze with Nelson Sauvin hops for a bar in Italy, but forgot to save any bottles for himself. I sure hope he does that again as NS is now my favorite hop.

Speaking of Nelson Sauvin, Hop-Nest was very well received. It was nice to hear people commenting positively about the beer, not knowing that it was mine. Its a great feeling when someone says “hey, you gotta try this beer” and you can say “thanks. I brewed that.” The Brettanomyces Clausenii version was not as well received as its more normal brother. On its own I think that it is quite nice, but when stacked up next to the regular version, it pales in comparison. Its hard to pin-point, but it seems to be missing something. It will be very interesting to see how it progresses though.

Thanks to all the homebrewers who participated in the event and all the enthousiastic beer drinkers who consumed our brews. Of course Glenn and Davy deserve a big thanks for putting this event on and putting homebrewing in the spotlight, something that doesn’t happen too often here.

If you are interested in knowing more about some of the beers that were served and seeing many more photos (including one of me with way too much hair and apparently no chin) check out William Roelens blog (in dutch only)

Toer de Geuze 2009

barrels TDG2009Sunday was the Toer de Geuze. a wonderful event that I have missed every year since I moved to Belgium. I had planned on joining one of the official tour busses but due to my laziness I was too late. All available seats on the buses I preferred were taken (each bus had a different route). Another year without being able to enjoy this event. Or so I thought. As I mentioned on here before, “Beery people are good people” Don S (from the Babblebelt and Celebrator Beer news) and his wife offered to let me join them in their rental car. Great people! While the buses are nice, I think that this may be the way to go. We were able to see more breweries and do them as quickly or as slowly as we wanted. My day started at 6am so I could hop on the train and try to get to Lembeek just before 10am. There I met my two fellow travelers for the day. From the station in Lembeek you could literally fall into Brouwerij Boon. You know its going to be a good day when you start your first brewery tour at 10am! I won’t go into a ton of detail about each brewery, I’ll let the badly taken photos do that, all I need to say is that all these breweries have something great to offer. Us beergeeks sometimes passover some of these breweries because of some of the products they put out. While those products may be lack lustre, the breweries can also make a pretty mean jonge lambic and oude geuze. After Boon we headed up to Hanssens. Then to 3 Fonteinen, Oud Beersel, Lindemans, De Troch and finally Mort Subite. The day ended with a quick Girardin jonge lambic at De Koekoek before being dropped off at the train station in Ternat. It was a quite fantastic day full of tasty surprises! I really can’t complain about any of the beer I had. Of course I only stuck to the traditional products. It was also nice because this event reminded me that there are great events like this that do put better beer into the eyes of the Belgian public. So its not all doom and gloom like in my rant “Beer in the gutter” … but its still partly true 😉

oh, and by the way, the Mega Blend that all the participating breweries helped in creating… really awesome!

click on the photo to see more.