It's all about the beer and finding your way to it

Monday, March 22, 2010

La Tournee Belge

This past weekend the local Zythos beer group, the Leuvense Beertherapeuten, held their annual beer festival. Each good sized city in Belgium (in Flanders at least) has a Zythos affiliated beer appreciation club that occasionally holds events through the year. They often host at least one beer festival and have various tastings and beer trips scheduled (brewery visits for example).

This year their festival was called La Tournee Belge (Tour of Belgium). They presented 66 beers gathered from the 11 provinces of Belgium.While the list may sound small, the key thing here is that the selection was expertly chosen and covered the range of Belgian beers styles with some top-notch examples. The fest was held in an event space set among ponds and trees in a park just outside of Leuven. The combination of  beer selection, festival arrangement, and location made it one of the best beer festivals I have been to.

We started the day with a 10 year old bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru and it was just tremendous. The years gave it a nicely mellowed sourness with some faint notes of wood. There was a good selection of newer breweries and trying the Belle Cies from Den Tseut was a nice surprise. The brewer puts a single hop flower in the bottle for 'continued hopping'. Another interesting beer was Rick's Abbesse which used an old type of cherry from the Limburg region to flavor the beer with a subtle balanced tartness.

Overall it was a fine way to spend the last official day of winter- discovering the beers of Belgium courtesy of the Leuvense Biertherapeuten.

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