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European News (Issue 22)

by Carolyn Smagalski 

Glenn Payne (1954-2015)

Discerning beer consultant and former commercial beer buyer Glenn Payne of Carmarthenshire, Wales, passed away due to “unexplained circumstances” on Llanelli Beach in southwest Wales on December 6, 2015. He was 61. As a former senior buyer for Safeway and founding investor of Meantime Brewery, Mr. Payne became known as a maven of beer on four continents. He further developed his expansive knowledge of craft beer as proprietor of Beer2Love and was an internationally respected beer judge for the World Beer Cup and GABF, International Beer Competition, SIBA finals, Quality Food and Drink Awards, and more.

Chinese New Year Monkey Business

It seems China’s demand of India Pale Ale has gone viral since photos of Prime Minister David Cameron and President Xi Jinping shared a pint of Greene King IPA over the airwaves. Just in time for 2016, the Year of the Red Fire Monkey, Rooney Arand, Chief Executive of Greene King’s Export Team, plans to fulfill China’s order for 50,000 cases of IPA for the February 8th celebration.

Music to their Ears

Can Celtic music make yeast happy? Drygate Brewing Company of Glasgow thinks it’s possible. In collaboration with Celtic Connections, Drygate crafted Festival Brew, a Farmhouse Saison hopped-up with Aramis and Strisselspalt hops from France. Celtic piper John Mulhearn and acoustic guitarist Findlay Napier drenched the air with live music on brew day, followed by a continuous infusion of sound delivered through speakers inside fermentation tanks during two weeks of maturation. Festival Brew will be available during the Celtic Connections Programme celebrated at venues throughout Europe from January 14-31, 2016. 

Top Photo Courtesy: Carolyn Smagalski, Bottom: Greene King Brewing


by Carl Kins

The gueuze brewers and blenders are quite active these days, showcased by the following examples:

For their 40 year anniversary, Boon launched “Oude Geuze Boon Black Label”, consisting of a selection of lambic of 1, 2 and 3 years old, 99% of which was brewed in the new brewhouse. The lambic was taken from foeders with the highest degree of fermentation (almost 100%), resulting in a very dry and rounded taste. It has 7% ABV.

After SpontanBasil, Lindemans now launched Blossomgueuze, a limited edition gueuze to which elderflower was added.

Anthony Martin, owner of a.o. Timmermans, opened a brewery in Bruges this November, focusing solely on “Bourgogne des Flandres”. Bruges is at the origin of this “versnijbier”, i.e. a blend of top fermented brown ale with Timmermans lambic to create a perfect sweet-sour beer at 5% ABV.

Anthony Martin already opened a small brewery a few months ago in Waterloo, a town made famous by Napoleon. And they will not rest on their laurels. They are looking to open a brewpub in Antwerp, expected in 2017. All this is the work of Willem Van Herreweghen, ex-head brewer of Palm, and the original founder of geuze blender De Cam.

News from Chimay: Head brewer Paul Arnott, well known in US and Canada, passed away. But the brewery continues to keep strong. They have started a project to age the Chimay Blue in wooden barrels (French and American oak) for about 6 months. They are the first Belgian Trappist brewery to do this, but it has to be said that La Trappe (Netherlands) has been doing that for a few years with their Quadrupel.

Chimay will repeat the exercise yearly, using different types of wood each time. Furthermore, Chimay Blue is now also available on draft in about 200 specialty pubs in Belgium, an initiative that will be repeated yearly for the end of year festive season. 

Brewery and distillery Het Anker in Mechelen has launched “Gouden Carolus Indulgence”, the first of a limited series of beers brewed every year with varying content. It is whisky infused, whereby the 2015 “Gouden Carolus Cuvée van de Keizer” was enriched by an infusion of Gouden Carolus Single Malt whisky from a selection of Anker bespoke wooden casks.

Haacht had a unique idea to promote their pils “Primus”. When you download the Primus Record Collector App and you scan a bottle label, a record becomes available from talented artists that are not yet well known. Watch the video on YouTube (https://youtu.be/sZEDmVnXS_g).

Two major beer competitions announced their results in November. The Brussels Beer Challenge, which took place in Antwerp this year, gave the medal of “Overall best Belgian beer in the competition” to Dupont for their “Saison Biologique”. Gold was awarded to De Brabandere for their “Bavik Pils”, Boon for “Kriek Mariage Parfait”, AB-InBev for “Hoegaarden Grand Cru”, Duvel for “Maredsous Blond”, Rodenbach for “Grand Cru”, Antwerpse Brouwcompagnie for “Seef”, Timmermans for “Oude Geuze”, and Hugel for “Zeven Zonden Invidia”.

In Germany, the European Beer Star awarded 8 medals to Belgian beers. The only gold went to Oud Beersel for their “Oude Kriek”. Noteworthy is that Saint-Feuillien received silver for their “Saison”, with Van Steenberge taking the same medal for “Piraat”.

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