I’m in Paris, France this week and am close to “the source” of Belgian Beer. Most bistros and cafes here have at least a few kinds of Belgian beer on tap or in bottles. The most common one is Leffe Blonde. This is one of my favorite widely available Belgians, as it is so smooth and easy to drink with the slight spiciness and banana taste characteristic in Belgian beers.
Notre Dame de Leffe was founded in 1152 on the Meuse River in the province of Namur in southern Belgium. Like many monasteries across Europe, the Premonstratensian (Norbertine) canons of the abbey brewed ale. Using knowledge passed from generation to generation and ingredients found in the wild near the abbey, the canons developed a unique ale, brewed only at the abbey.
It is now brewed at the Stella Artois brewery by InBev in Leuven.
The Leffe website: http://www.leffe.be
From the Bostonist, several restaurants in Boston are offering Beer themed dinners. Seems like the craft beer with food pairing trend is catching on in Boston.
Some of the offerings include:
“truffled artichoke, oysters, mango, anisette-honey, pinenuts, figs, coriander, and chocolate. ”
with “Weekapaug Gruit (an ale made with the herbs brewers used to use before they knew about hops), as well as a chocolate-chili porter and other crazy in-house brews tailored to the occasion.”
or “more traditional offerings (choice of filet mignon or swordfish) paired with Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe, and (for dessert) Lindemans Framboise”
Also: “fondue” with “four different Dogfish Head brews, including the limited, raspberried Fort and the ever-sturdy 90 Minute IPA.”
See Bostonist for more information.
Beer sommelier Marc Stroobandt show us the correct way to maximize the flavor and essence of Belgian beer, including Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe. – From Food Philosophy
According to tourist guides, there are over 1000 types of Belgian beer. Quite a few of these Belgian beers have their own unique glass. The most distinctive of glasses is the Kwak vessel. This 25 centimetre glass tube with a flared top and a round, bulbous bottom is held by a wooden clamp. In fact, this glass would tip over if you tried to set it down on a table!
According to the Kwak website: “In Napoleon’s time, Pauwel Kwak was a brewer and the owner of the De Hoorn inn (near Brussels). Mail coaches stopped there every day, but at that time coachmen were not allowed to leave their coach and horses,” “As a result, the inventive innkeeper had a special Kwak glass blown that could be hung on the coach. In this way, the coachman had his Kwak beer safely at hand.”
Ordering Kwak for the first time is a great experience. It comes to your table complete with a monogrammed wooden stand. The long neck and round base makes a nice rich, frothy head. You can recognize a Kwak glass from across a crowded bar.
Once you get over the novelty of the glass, Kwak is a very fine Belgian beer. The color is a deep amber, with a creamy colored head. Kwak has a mellow, fruity and malty aroma with very little hops smell. There are some hints of fruit in the taste and aroma such as creamy bannana and liquorice.
You can learn more about Kwak at their website: http://www.bestbelgianspecialbeers.be