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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Lifestyle Columns

STATES OF AR T

Culture doesn’t stop TEXT: MATT ANTONIAK  |  PHOTO: ERIK SMITS

The news moves at such a pace these days, that rules that apply one day no longer apply the next. Museums and galleries being closed is a daunting prospect for many. Culture is the glue that binds us, or provides escape from daily life. To have access to that suspended is a concern. Yet fear not, for there are still ways to consume culture and get your art world fix. Cynics will say that the art’s mass migration to the online sphere is long overdue. But in light of the coronavirus crisis, many galleries and museums have moved their offerings online. Users of Instagram will know it is a great tool for discovering new art. In particular, there are a plethora of accounts documenting exhibitions that have been cut short. Famed mag ArtForum and ArtofSocialDistancing are prime examples

doing their bit to keep the wheels turning. If you have a taste for the avant garde, turn to ArtViewer or Contemporary Art Daily. These blogs, updated daily, highlight stellar exhibitions happening across the globe. Scroll through their comprehensive back catalogue and find galleries you might not have heard of before putting on cutting edge exhibitions. If you want a more immersive experience, turn to Google Arts and Culture – a partnership with 500 organisations worldwide that grants you a virtual tour of hundreds of places. Wanted to visit BOZAR, The Rijksmuseum or MUDAM, but never had the chance? Now’s the time! The Benelux has a rich and vibrant art history, that will not be forgotten about during these turbulent months. Our need to make and to create will not diminish, and art’s power to provide hope will be invaluable in the future.

Gallery of Honour, Rijksmuseum. Matt Antoniak is a visual artist and writer living and working in Newcastle, UK. He works mainly in painting and drawing and is a founding member of the art collective M I L K.

BEER OF THE MONTH

Barista Chocolate Quad TEXT & PHOTO: STUART FORSTER

Barista Chocolate Quad is a powerful beer brewed at the Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck in the West Flanders village of Emelgem, about 50 minutes’ drive from Ghent. This beer is one of the speciality brews produced at modern premises, opened in 2016, including a restaurant, pub, sizeable shop and visitor centre. Tours explaining the evolution of the brewery over the past 155 years are enhanced by digital handsets with information presented in several languages, including English. A quad, or quadruple, is a style of strong beer that’s typically dark in colour and low in bitterness. This incarnation ticks both of those boxes, the latter meaning it can be enjoyed by people who don’t normally go for beer. As the name of Barista Chocolate Quad hints, its fragrant aroma is dominated by coffee 74  |  Issue 76  |  April/May 2020

and chocolate with a malty undertone. Ebony in colour, this beer rises into a creamy, fawn head when poured. It would be easy to confuse this with a stout if the two were placed together on a bar top. The ideal serving temperature is 12 degrees Celsius, significantly warmer than most beers. Chocolate and coffee dominate the flavour, too. There’s a hint of caramel, also. Smooth to drink, it has a sweet finish, making it the ideal accompaniment to the likes of sticky toffee pudding or a slice of chocolate cake. It’s also one to sip after dinner with a square of dark chocolate while conversing about the versatility of Belgian beers. Even better than a rubber duck, it’s a lovely indulgent treat while soaking amid bubbles in a hot bath. Brewer: Kasteel Brouwerij Vanhonsebrouck Alcohol content: 11 per cent

Stuart Forster was named Journalist of the Year at the 2015, 2016 and 2019 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.