Every two years, Jean van Roy of Cantillon, Brussels' last remaining lambic brewery, invites a brewery or two of his choosing to collaborate with them in a celebrating beer and food. Cantillon Quintessence has previously featured Russian River and Allagash from the US, and Masia Agullons from Spain. In 2018 the guest of honour was Hill Farmstead, the acclaimed American brewery.
On a Tuesday in early May, the world and its beer geeks descended on Anderlecht. Queuing up outside the Cantillon brewery according to the time slot allotted to them on their entry ticket, they were there to experience a rare selection of Cantillon bottles and the rarely-seen Hill Farmstead beers that were available at a series of stations on a winding circuit through the brewery.
In a change from previous years, Quintessence had bloomed from a day-long session at Cantillon to a city-wide invasion of Hill Farmstead, with bars, breweries and restaurants organising events on the margins of the main event. Once their allotted time was up, visitors drifted off to Nanobrasserie L'Ermitage around the corner, and back into city centre staples like Moeder Lambic.
Tickets for the event had sold out within an hour when they went on sale online, and one way or another I had wnagled myself one at the last minute (you know who you are, and thank you). In lieu of a full event report, here's a visual snapshot of the day. Santei!