Like so many cities and towns in Belgium, Antwerp is but an hour and change by train from Brussels. If you’re like me and your trips to Belgium never amount to more than about five days at a time, these medieval cities and towns end up as day trip destinations, even if they merit several days. But with a modicum of advanced planning, you can spend an enriching day in Antwerp. And you won’t be at a loss for beer and places to drink it.
A historic port that accrued its wealth through the diamond trade, Antwerp started life as a fort during Charlemagne’s time. During the 1500s, it emerged as the region’s premier port after Bruges’ once-bustling port silted up. By mid-century, Antwerp was one of Europe’s most important cities, boasting a population of around 100,000 inhabitants, one of whom was Pieter Paul Rubens. The city suffered several reversals of fate over the next three centuries till Napoleon Bonarparte rebuilt the ports in 1797. By the late nineteenth century, Antwerp was the world’s third-largest port after London and New York.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a brewery, which shall remain nameless, tasting yet another desultory Brut “IPA” and whining to myself about the seeming inability of Northwest breweries to make one that even remotely measures up to the original, the template, as created at The Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco, by brewmaster Kim Sturdavant. I tasted his two on tap at The Social in February of 2018, and was floored by the almost laughable 180-degree turnabout from the recent trend of milkshake beers and ales infused with all manner of wild adjuncts – gingerbread, marshmallow, pretzels, banana muffins, pancakes, cupcakes, guava, mango, maple syrup, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Lemonheads, slices of actual pumpkin pie, etc…the list goes on and on.
You have to admire a city where the rhythms of life revolve around excuses to tap a keg and raise a mug of good cheer.
Munich is one such city where the seasons are marked by festivities that involve a healthy amount of imbibing. Most of these beer festivals have their roots in Catholicism and are, more often than not, bound up with the arrival of spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
The people you see in the photo above…Are these the staff of the best brewery in America?
If you read this thing, you know that I frequently scoff at the whole idea of “Best“. All those lists of “America’s Best IPA“, “Best Breweries“, “Best Beers“, all, to be diplomatic about it, a load of brainless crap. Why? Because they are NEVER – EVER! – anything but a judging of what’s around on one particular day or whatever breweries, beers, IPAs, etc., that the author or panel of “experts” knows of…and nobody – NO-freakin’-body – knows every brewery, every beer, every IPA in their own region, much less the entire country.
A new report by the public-interest advocacy group U.S. PIRG reveals that tests of five wines and 15 beers, including organic ones, found traces of the controversial weed killer glyphosate in 19 out of the 20.
They include brands like Coors Light, Miller Lite, Budweiser, Corona, Heineken, Guinness, Stella Artois and Samuel Adams.
“The levels of glyphosate we found are not necessarily dangerous, but are still concerning given the potential health risks,” U.S. PIRG said.
Glyphosate, best known as an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is a probable human carcinogen, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization.
Last episode, everything was coming up gold. This week it’s coming up pink as we explore what looks to be this year’s hot trend – Rosé Beer. Drew sits down with pro-brewer/homebrewer Andy Ziskin about how he makes a Rosé beer that’s dramatic, complex fruity, fun and not insipidly dull and sweet.
Written by Franz D. Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard
American-style IPA, that beloved child of the craft beer renaissance, has left the building. In recent years, IPA has become detached from its local context on the West Coast of the United States to emerge as a globalized signifier of everything exciting and novel about beer and tastes in beer. IPA in all its subsequent iterations has become so dominant that it now does double duty as an agent for craft beer in general, itself a stylized approach to the production and consumption of beer. This free-floating global style has since reterritorialized itself in local contexts the world over, sometimes threatening to displace home-grown local styles that had become mundane and less desirable through their familiarity. Local breweries and taprooms have sprung up on every urban corner and every countryside crossroad serving this global style in a local setting, introducing its enthusiastic patrons to an exciting new taste and powerful elixir.
Brouwerij Rodenbach, the highly regarded Belgian brewing company founded in West Flanders in 1821 and known for its tart, oak-aged ales, is doing something unprecedented. For the first time in its nearly 200-year history, Rodenbach will produce a beer in partnership with another brewery. The recipe hasn’t been chosen yet, the label design is no more than a twinkle in an artist’s eye, and the sour ale won’t appear on shelves until 2020, but one key detail has already been decided: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is the other half of the collaboration.
“The goal is to bring as much taste and flavor as possible in a sessionable beer,” explains Rudi Ghequire, Rodenbach’s master brewer. “Beer is more than hops and only hops.”