Blog: Olly WehringSo many Belgian beers, so little time

Olly Wehring | 9 September 2008

It looks like Champagne, is bottled like Champagne and can be up to 13%abv. But, Brasserie Bosteels' Patrick Remy assured me that the yellow-tinged fizz in my flute was most certainly beer.

Last Saturday, at the 10th Belgian Beer Weeekend, was my first time tasting DeuS, a premium beer (we're talking more than GBP10 per bottle) that begins life near the Flemish border, before being re-fermented in Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region.  

"It is very special this one," said Remy, describing at length the beer's rich flavour and smooth mouthfeel, as well as its quality as an aperitif. 

As we chat, it turns out Remy once played for the local football team, Royal Union Saint Gilles. Minnows by today's standards but giants of yesteryear, Union SG are popularly believed to hold the European record for the longest unbeaten run - 60 matches between 1933 and 1935. How about that, Mr Abramovich? 

Back to beer. DeuS is one of the most unique examples of many interesting beers on show in Brussels this weekend. Beers that, on a business level, surely have more to give in mature western beer markets keen to see consumers trading up.

Belgium now exports 57% of its beer, according to the national brewers' association. And no, apparently it's not all Stella.  

Later during the weekend, I also tasted Gueuze, a local beer with a very acidic, almost sour character. I am told that some call it Brussels Champagne. I am also told that it is an acquired taste. Hmm, definitely a grower... cm.


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