Thursday, November 27, 2014

Duchesse de Bourgogne

Duchesse de Bourgogne

“Duchesse de Bourgogne” is a sweet-fruity ale with a pleasant fresh aftertaste.

The name of course refers to Maria, Duchess of Burgundy (Brussels 1457 - Bruges 1482), spouse of Maximilian of Austria, who was just one of the many rulers of Belgium before the country’s independence.
This short history lesson aside, I simply love this beer.
Duchesse de Bourgogne is a top fermented, ruby red Flemish ale at 6.2% ABV (for purists: old brown or West Flemish red-brown ale), brewed using traditional methods from the southern West Flanders region. This ale is brewed with roasted malts and with hops with a low bitterness. After the main fermentation and the lagering , the “Duchesse de Bourgogne” matures further for 18 months in oak casks.
The beer is complex and tart, reminiscent of wine, with hints of balsamic vinegar and sweet and sour cherries. It would be a perfect complement to grilled meats or a well-balanced cheese board.
The Duchesse de Bourgogne is best served in a chalice-shaped glass between 8 and 12°C.

Duchesse de Bourgogne is brewed by the Verhaeghe brewery in Vichte West Flanders, Belgium.
The brewery itself has a history which go back to the 19th century. The makers of this excellent beer are by no means new arrivals to the extensive Belgian beer landscape. The family business, known for brews such as Cambrinus, Vichtenaar and Echte Kriek, was founded as a brewery-malt house in 1892 by Paul and Adolf Verhaeghe.

The brewery is to be commended for its choice to focus on quality rather than quantity and its Vichtenaar and Echte Kriek beers have already won awards.

You can find Duchesse de Bourgogne on draft at Franklin in Traverse City, and in bottle at Café Anvers!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Belgian brewers stand up to American brewers !

200 Belgian beers and 525 foreign beers conquer to claim the supreme title at the 3rd Brussels Beer Challenge!

Belgian brewers have rallied this year to present their best beers in the competition. With a participation of nearly 80 Belgian breweries of all sizes and 200 national beers in the competition, they reached a new record!

The local beer industry still faces a major challenge though from the best beers produced in the United States, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Spain and England as well as far-flung countries such as Australia and ... Cambodia.
These 725 beers will be separated and judged by an international and professional jury of high level.

The Brussels Beer Challenge is:
An international competition launched at the initiative of Brusselicious as part of gourmet food year in Brussels in 2012.
A professional competition which will be held in Leuven (De Hoorn) and enjoying the support this year of the city of Leuven , one of the historical cradles of beer in Belgium. The contest will run indeed in the former facilities of the Stella Artois brewery which was converted into cultural spaces.
A selection of 60 international professional tasters (journalists, writers...) who will convene at “De Hoorn”, for the tasting from October31 until November 2.
25 competing countries: Germany, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, the United States, Portugal, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic , Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Poland, Malta and Monaco
A total 725 entries (compared with 592 in 2013) tasted over two mornings and divided into eight styles (Pale Ale, Dark Ale, Red Ale, Lager, Stout/Porter, Wheat, Flavoured Beer, Speciality Beer), sub- divided into 50 categories: Lambic, abbey beers, chocolate-flavoured beers...

Participating countries with the greatest number of entries:
Belgium: 200 beers from79 breweries (188 beers from 68 breweries in 2013)
USA: 177 beers
Spain: 20 beers (newcomer!)

Italy: 110 beers

Netherlands: 38 beers

Germany: 35beers (26 beers in 2013)
United Kingdom: 26 beers

Liefmans Goudenband, oud Vlaams bruin, obtains the title of best Belgian Beer.

Three major trends :
1) The US craft brewers win 53 awards. A great achievement.
2) Belgium obtains 43 awards, 11 gold, 12 silver and 9 bronze
3) UK wins the Comac award for best beer in the competition.