The heat is on // Climate change is coming for Brasserie Cantillon
As climate change makes hot summers like 2018 the norm rather than the exception, new research has shown that warming temperatures have started to impact on traditional lambic brewing. Warmer winter nights and hotter summer days have narrowed the window during which lambic can be brewed without modern interventions. By the end of the 21st century, lambic brewing as practiced by Brasserie Cantillon could disappear. Climate change is coming for lambic, and it will be hard for Cantillon to stop it.
Bringing it all back home // Brussels Beer Project is building a new brewery in Brussels
Brussels Beer Project - the city’s most famous beer contractors - are bringing their beers back to Brussels, building a new brewery in Anderlecht where they will take control of production. It’s big news for them, big news for a brussels beer scene that continues to grow, and big news from Brussels’ canal district - it is back at the centre of Brussels brewing activity, half a century after breweries disappeared from its quays.
“There's a lot of fake authenticity out there” // Overheard at the Brewers of Europe Forum
The first Brewers of Europe Forum wrapped on Friday afternoon, as weary participants leaked out of Brussels’ Square Meeting Centre after two days of a lot – A LOT – of discussions about beer. Speakers ranged from the CEO of the world’s largest brewer to the owner of a microbrewery on a tiny Greek island, and all points in between. Here’s just a snippet of what was overheard during those two days.
"Europe is the cradle of modern beer" // Meet Europe's "Mr Beer", the man behind the Brewers of Europe Forum
Pierre -Oiliver Bergeron is the Sectrategy General of the Brewers of Europe, the umbrella body that represents European beer in Brussels. Wehn he’s not being taken for Mr Beer by the city’s regulators and legislators, he’s the man behind the Brewers of Europe Forum - bringing the continent’s disparate brewing cultures under one roof to debate the future of the sector
Brewers on the Brewers of Europe Forum // "I'm looking forward to drinking Westmalle on tap in a small Brussels pub"
The inaugural Brewers of Europe Forum is taking place in Brussels in June 2018. To get a view on the Forum, and the state of brewing in Europe in 2018, we asked a group of august brewers and brewery owners for their take on where we are at. And where they like to drink in Brussels.
Mothers & Daughters // Brussels gets a lesbian bar, and so much more
In early May 2018, behind a jumble of corroded neon signs touting a long-departed Greek restaurant, a group of artists and activists opened something Brussels hadn’t seen for 15 years: a bar by and for the city’s lesbian community. Mothers & Daughters is its name.
On the lash with Baudelaire // A literary pub crawl through Brussels (Act One)
Brussels throughout its history has been called home by many writers and artists, from Victor Hugo to the Brontë sisters, through to James Joyce and Hugo Claus. Some of them have been temporary visitors, others permanent, and many reluctant. Nobody exemplified this genre of Brussels resident better than Frenchman and serial flâneur Charles Baudelaire. Prompted by an exhibition about Baudelaire’s ill-fated time in Brussels organised on the Grand Place, I set off on a tour, in his and others footsteps, of what remains of Brussels’ literary haunts.
Brussels Irish // The James Joyce: last call for the Irish pub?
The green-and-gold door looks closed, but a tug on the brass lion doorknob and it pulls open. Inside, the lights are off in the back and there is no evidence of any customers or staff. It’s Saturday evening just past seven and the James Joyce, Brussels’ oldest Irish bar is still. Almost thirty years after it opened, is Brussels’ oldest Irish bar on the way out?
Brussels Irish // Beerstorming x Jameson Caskmates: Brussels beer in Irish barrels
“Jameson is a pretty big and beautiful distillery. And we got to drink a lot of whiskey,” says Arthur Ries, co-founder of Brussels’ Beerstorming brewery, as he and Sean Deane, Jameson Whiskey's brand ambassador for Belgium, reel off some of the perks of participating in Jameson's Caskmates programme. I'm sitting down with the two men in Beerstorming's front room to talk about how one of the world’s largest drinks brands ended up working with one of the smallest breweries in Belgium, maturing beers in Irish whiskey barrels in a Sint Gillis cellar underneath the brewery.
Brussels Irish // Drinking my first ever Guinness, in African Brussels
In a corner of the Brussels pentagon, where the Quai de Commerce, Square Saintclette and the Boulevard d’Anvers meet in a jumble of tram cables and traffic jams, is a little of Central African neighbourhood. Shops with windows full of yellow-black plantains and knobbly root vegetables and hair extensions. And fridges stacked with Guinness Special Export and Foreign Extra Stout.
Belgian beer labels and sexism // #TimesUp for turning a blind eye
Belgian beer culture is the only one in the world that is recognised by UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage. With that recognition comes a responsibility to make sure that this culture is open and inclusive. The consequences of movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are bringing up hard questions about sexism, misogyny and gender equality in beer. Is Belgian beer culture and the beer community ready and willing to answer them?
A European Craft Brewers Conference? // The Brewers of Europe Forum and unity in European brewing
“[To] connect the European brewing scene and try to put a counterweight against the Americans. To shout out the message to the world: Europe is the cradle of beer!” That, according to Luc de Raedemaeker, founder of the Brussels Beer Challenge and now one of the organisers of the inaugural Brewers of Europe Forum, taking place in Brussels in June this year.
Beer and the City // When beer was brewed at the European Parliament: Brasserie Leopold and the "Whim of the Gods"
Rue Wiertz, in Brussels’ European district, is a nothing street. Bound at both ends by slate-grey security barriers to protect the European Parliament, it is an unremarkable street in an unremarkable part of town. But, underneath the glass and stone towers that line the street, is some remarkable history. This spot, at the confluence of Rue Wiertz, Rue Vautier, and Parc Leopold, is where brewing in Brussels died. More specifically, it is where Brasserie Leopold – the last commercial brewery operating in Brussels city soil – shut its doors in June 1981.
Brussels Beer Festival Agenda 2018 // 9(ish) events to do this year
2017 was a bit of a watershed year for beer in Brussels. Breweries like En Stoemelings and Nanobrasserie L’Ermitage both moved into new and/or expanded facilities. Brasserie de la Senne broke ground on their new site along the Brussels canal. The city even saw its first beershop open north of said canal in Fermenthings. And the beer events calendar has become increasingly busy – new upstarts joining established calendar entries. 2018 looks set to be no different; so to help guide you through 2018, here’s nine events to look out for.