Discover Benelux, Issue 27, March 2016

Page 35

Discover Benelux | Belgian Beer Guide 2016 | Introduction

Brouwerij Strubbe Photo: Alexandre Bibaut

Photo: Brewery & Distillery Pirlot

Brouwerij Anders! Photo:

It is estimated that every year, 200 new brews are launched in Belgium, so there is always something different to discover. Breweries constantly experiment with new flavours and ingredients and even the most unusual pairings are tried, from stout with pepper to unfiltered herbal beer and acidy lambics mixed with spices. Lambic is in fact a method of beer making that is unique to Belgium. The beer is produced with wild yeasts present in the countryside around Brussels that induc-

es spontaneous fermentation. The sourtasting beer this produces is an acquired taste for some, but in Belgium it is widely drank and indeed increasing in popularity. Needless to say, the Belgians take beer very seriously. In fact, there is a whole research department dedicated to the study of beer at the University of Leuven. Here, zythologist, brewers and students alike constantly try to learn more about this ancient beverage, develop new recipes and research how to optimise flavours.

As an example, they discovered why beer bottles froth upon opening – even without having been shaken – and developed a method to prevent this. The researchers were also able to confirm a long-standing conviction whether Belgian beers indeed taste better in the country of origin. This is because transport often damages the flavour, but we are convinced that Belgium’s beautiful scenery and cosy cafés might have something to do with it too. All the more reason to head to Belgium this spring and try out some original brews for yourself. Issue 27 | March 2016 | 35