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FLANDERS A BEER PARADISE
Posted By Shruti Sharma on 2010-08-28 12:59:12
Flanders beer with its myriad varietes leaves you spoilt for choice about which one to taste first. Flemish beers are big and bold as well as smooth and silky ranging from well known worldwide brands such as Stella Artois lager to the acquired taste of the Lambics.
Brugges in Flanders (Belgium) is known as the Beer Capital of the world. They produce more than 400 different variety of beers. From the beautiful Red Cherry beer to the Lemon beer there are beers from a wide variety of flavours here.
A GUIDE TO BEER
Trappist beers are those made by the monks of the strict Cistercian order. Today there are three abbeys/monasteries in Flanders producing it – Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel. Look for the hexagonal logo with the words “Authentic Trappist Product”. Bottom-fermented beers include all light-coloured beers of the Pilsner lager-style. Geuze-Lambic, which is considered to be the champagne of the beer world, is based on the skilled blending of one to three year old lambic beers. White beers are top-fermented and made from 45% wheat, malted barley, hops, yeast and water. It is pale and cloudy and often served iced with a slice of lemon.
And then there are countless fruit, blond, golden, amber or dark beers too! Not forgetting west Flanders “red” beers. Many beers are served in their own individual style glasses, like Pauwel Kwak, and some have wild and fanciful names such as Morte Subite, which translates into Sudden Death!
BEER : THE PERFECT ACCOMPANIMENT
With so many different styles and flavours the beers are not just for an evening’s drinking, they are also to be enjoyed with meals. Vlaamse Stoofka-bonaden is a beef stew cooked with beer in much the same way as beef is cooked in red wine in other parts of Europe. Another example is Mechelen Cuckoo, a chicken dish to which beer is added to enhance the flavour of its sauce. Indeed there are beers to suit each course, including desserts.
BEER SHOPS AND MUSEUMS IN FLANDERS
Beer is taken so seriously in Flanders that there are many shops where you can purchase it to take home. A number of them even have tasting rooms so that you can try before you buy. Some of the shops stock several hundred different varieties along with the appropriate glasses and all kinds of accessories.
There is the National Hop Museum in Poperinge, a small town close to Ypres that is used as a posting station for the soldiers heading to or from the Ypres Salient in WWI.
Bruges is home to the Brouwerij museum, both a brewery and a museum. It was founded in 1856 by Henri Maes and produces Straffe Hendrik and Straffe Hendrik Blonde ales.
Brussels holds a regular beer weekend in the Grand’ Place every September whilst in Antwerp’s the celebration is in June.
With increased connectivity from India (Jet Airways has daily flights from Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai to Brussels and 21 weekly flights from India) Good beer is just a flight away!
Last Updated on 2010-08-28 12:59:12