3 Fonteinen Brewery Open Beer Days in Belgium: September 4-8, 2014

From August 30 through September 3, 2012, the 3 Fonteinen Brewery near Brussels held their annual open beer days.  This is a rare opportunity to visit one of the premier brewers of the local specialty lambic beers.  The event includes free tours of the brewery in Dutch, French and English, a chance to taste some of their products, and most importantly, a chance to buy some of their special, old bottles not usually available for purchase in the shop.  You may also get a chance to meet Armand and Lydie Debelder, the owners and brewer of the 3 Fonteinen beers.

Armand Debelder finishing up a tour of 3 Fonteinen Brewery http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Armand Debelder finishing up a tour of 3 Fonteinen Brewery

 

Armand Debelder's Philosophy on Blending Geuze  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Armand Debelder’s Philosophy on Blending Geuze

Lydie Debelder helping a customer with their special beer purchases.  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Lydie Debelder helping a customer with their special beer purchases.

Available for tasting at lat year’s event were the 3 Fonteinen Lambic, Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek, and Faro as well as the Beersel Blond, Lager and Zwet.be.  I had to partake of a Faro here, as they don’t bottle this for normal sale.  The Faro seems to be usually available only in the 3 Fonteinen Restaurant located next door.  Faro is a lambic blended with caramel and candied sugar.  It retains the normal sourness of a lambic, but with a nice sweetness that makes it quite smooth.  These beers are usually short lived, only three to four weeks in the bottle, as the added sugars result in very active fermentation that could make the bottle explode!

Tasting Bar at 3 Fonteinen Open Beer Days  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Tasting Bar at 3 Fonteinen Open Beer Days

The 3 Fonteinen Faro, only available at the Restaurant or during the Open Beer Days  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

The 3 Fonteinen Faro, only available at the Restaurant or during the Open Beer Days

3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek - Amazing color!  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek – Amazing color!

For the bottles for purchase in the store, the following options were available:

Beers available for purchase at 3 Fonteinen Brewery

3 Fonteinen

Oude Geuze 0.375 L €2.50
Oude Geuze 0.75 L €4.45
Golden Blend Oude Geuze 0.375 L €8.00
Oude Kriek 0.375 L €3.85
Schaarbeekse Kriek 0.75L €12.00

Armand D4 2010 Limited Edition Oude Geuze 0.75 L €24 each for Autumn, Summer and Winter.
Spring is only available as part of the limited edition (500) collector’s box at €110.00

Horal’s Oude Geuze Mega Blend 2011 0.75 L €7.00

Beersel

Blond 0.33 L €1.25
Lager 0.33 L €1.15
Zwet.be 0.33 L €1.75

Special Offerings during 3 Fonteinen Open Beer Days (2012)

Oude Geuze Vintage 2003 0.75 L €24.00 (max 1)
Oude Geuze Vintage 2005 0.75 L €17.00 (max 1)
Oude Geuze Vintage 2008 0.75 L €10.00 (max 6)
Oude Geuze Vintage 2008 0.375 L €6.00 (max 6)

Doesjel Vintage 2006 0.75 L  €7.00 (max 6)
Doesjel Vintage 2010 0.375 L €4.00 (max 6)

Oude Kriek 2006 0.375 L € 6.00 (max 1)
Schaarbeekse Kriek 2006 0.75 L € 20.00 (max 1)
Schaarbeekse Kriek 2008 0.75 L € 15.00 (max 6)

Straffe Winter 0.75 L € 34.00 (max 1)

Selection of 3 Fonteinen Special Beers available during the 2012 Open Beer Days  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

Selection of 3 Fonteinen Special Beers available during the 2012 Open Beer Days

The 2013 Open Beer Days were held from Thursday, September 5 through Monday, September 9, 2013.  Much of their offerings were same as from 2012, however there was less to choose from.

The 2014 Open Beer Days will be held from Thursday, September 4 through Monday, September 8, 2014.  If you’re looking to pick up a few of the rare older bottles, try to get there on Thursday or Friday, as quantities are often limited and they run out of choice vintages fast!

If you’re driving to 3 Fonteinen, they’re off Exit 19 on the R0 Ring Brussels.  As you’re exiting, veer to the right to cross back under the highway and head up into Beersel (don’t go straight towards Lot).  When you hit the top of the hill with the large church, you can see the Restaurant 3 Fonteinen in the square, and the brewery in just around the corner on the main road.  Parking is free in the spots in front of the church and restaurant.

3 Fonteinen Restaurant - Beersel, Belgium  http://ourtastytravels.com/blog/3-fonteinen-brewery-open-beer-days-in-belgium/ #beer #belgium #ourtastytravels

3 Fonteinen Restaurant – Beersel, Belgium

Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen
Hoogstraat 2a
1650 Beersel
http://www.3fonteinen.be

Restaurant 3 Fonteinen
Herman Tierlinckplein 3
1650 Beersel
+32 (0)2  331 06 52

Festival Dei Birrai Eretici – Craft Beer Festival in Bologna, Italy

When I think about Italy, usually great food and wine are the first things that come into my mind.  However, being the inquisitive soul that I am, I wanted to find out if there is good craft beer as well.

Last week, Erin and I were in Bologna, Italy for the BlogVille project, sharing an apartment with a great group of travel bloggers from the US (Oregon), Australia, and Venezuela.  Up until one of the last nights, my search for beer had not been very thorough. I do have to admit that I got caught up in the tradition of enjoying some of the wines of Emilia Romagna with our meals, and we’d been too tired most nights to do much in the way of going out to look for a pub to enjoy a beer in the evening. I did see a few beers around that I want to go back and try, and managed to try a couple craft beers in Ferrara at the Eco + Food Festival we attended, so I was hopeful that I’d have a chance to experience the beer culture in Bologna before we had to leave.

Apologize in advance for the lack of quality photos — Erin had the good camera with her as she was scheduled to do an interview with a local chef!

Sadly, on Monday, our initial group of six was breaking up, as Bethany and Ted from twoOregonians and Michael from Time Travel Turtle were leaving to continue on their journeys.  As Sunday was to be our last night together, and hearing there was a craft beer festival in town, we decided to head out and see what was on offer.  Michael, Bianca from Nomadiba and I wandered down to the university area of town, to where the Festival Dei Birrai Eretici was being held in a collection of pubs and cafes on the via Mascarella.

Beer Festival in Bologna, Italy (credit: BeerLab.it)

The establishments taking part in the Festival (and their offerings) were:

Lortica
Via Mascarella 26
+39 051 5876455

Beer Menu at Lortica

Beer Menu at Lortica

Beer Taps at Lortica

Beer Taps at Lortica

Birrificio Del Ducato, Roncole Verdi di Busetto (PR), Italy, Via Emilia – 4.8% Classic German Pilsener, slightly hazy blonde color. Fruity and slightly peppery. Pleasantly bitter and refreshing.

Birrificio Del Ducato, Victoria Light IPA – 3.5% American Pale Ale. Clear, light and fun-loving. Strong character given by dry hopping from American and German hops.

Birrificio Del Ducato, AFO – 5.4% American Pale Ale. For those obsessed with hops – 9 different types to get this Pale Ale with a complex and intriguing bouquet.

Birrificio Del Ducato, New Morning – 5.8% Belgian Saison style, created to celebrate the spring. Golden and slightly veiled, particularly spicy, with aroma of wildflowers, green pepper and ginger.

Vecchia Orsa, Crevalcore (BO), Italy, Saison – 5.5% Dry and refreshing Saison. Very spicy and slightly fruity bouqet.

Menaresta, Carate Brianza (MI), Italy, Flora Sambuco – 4.8% Spice/Herb/Vegetable Style, brewed with Elder Flowers. Intense, strongly characterized by the elder, fresh and fragrant, supported by a good bitter taste.

Left Hand, Longmont, Colorado, USA, Wake Up Dead Barrel-Aged – 10.2% Russian Imperial Stout exaggerated and uncompromising, peculiarly American. 12 months in barrel. Rare and not to be missed.

Ridgeway, Reading, England, Bad King John – 6% Stout, dark but not impenetrable. Tied to the ancient British traditions. The aroma and taste are dominated by liquorice and toffee.

De Ranke, Dottenijs, Belgium, XX Bitter – 6.2% The most bitter of the Belgian Ales. The explosion of noble hops in the nose, fine structure balanced by malt and Belgian spice, giving it an unmistakable rustic touch.

Hardknott, Millom, England, Cool Fusion – 4.4% Pale ale for those who love ginger spices.

Birrificio Italiano, Lurago Marinone (CO), Italy, Vùdù – 5.5% Dunkel Weizen. German style, uncompromising, spicy and refreshing, well-structured body.

Emiliano, Anzola Nell’Emilia, Italy, Forum Gallorum – 5% Inspired by the beers of Cologne.

Girardin, Sint Ulriks-Kapelle, Belgium, Black Label – 5% Geuze, A blend of lambics of different vintages. Wild and refreshing, well-carbonated with citrus notes.

Dark Star, Horsham, England, Old Chestnut – 4% Old Ale, Light in alcohol content but rich in flavor, from wood to dry fruit. Served in a cask, English to the core.

Old Chestnut Barrel

Dark Star Old Chestnet Barrel

Modo
Via Mascarella 24/b
+39 051 5871012

St. Peter’s, Bungay, England, Cream Stout – 6.5% Stout. Soft and elegant, very balanced.

Centokiodi, Bologna, Italy, Sveltina – 5% Cream Ale. The slender body makes it a very drinkable bitter beer.

Bruton, San Cassiano di Moriano (Lucca), Italy, Lilith – 5.5% American Pale Ale, Tuscan version, for strong palates.

De La Senne, Brussels, Belgium, Taras Boulba – 5% Belgian Ale, lower alcohol content, with a high bitter content.

Au Allertau, Germany, Weisse – 5% German wheat beer, straight from Bavaria. Banana and clove characterize the traditional bouquet.

Moustache
Via Mascarella 5/a

+39 051 235424

De La Senne, Zinnebir – 6% Belgian Ale, Sister of Taras Boulba, shares the bitter elegance and innovative spirit.

Brewfist, Codogno, Italy, Fear – 5.2% Sweet Stout. For those who are afraid of the dark beers. Cream and cocoa beans make for a sweet and soft palate. Romantic.

Gwatkin, Hereford, England, Golden Cider – 5% Cider in the best Anglo-Saxon tradition.

Cantina Bentivoglio
Via Mascarella 4/B
+39 051 265416

Rurale, Certosa di Pavia, Italy, Seta – 5% Blanche-style Belgian wheat beer. Clear and slightly veiled. Spiced with orange peel and coriander.

Menaresta, Felina – 7.5% Beer with a beautiful amber color, full and enveloping tones of cinnamon spice and ripe fruit.

Birrificio Italiano, Tipopils – 5.2% Classic German Pilsener. The founder of Italian pils, distinguished from its German sisters with a more slender body and more explosive aroma, herbal and peppery.

Bon Secours, Péruwelz, Belgium, Triple – 9% Golden. Dry and floral. Elegant final alcohol.

Bravo Caffe’
Via Mascarella 1
+39 051 266112

Revelation Cat/Mikkeller, Copenhagen, Denmark, Cream Ale – 5% Inspired by traditional pre-Prohibition American blonde, it breaks the boundaries of style, being more bitter and more fragrant.

Cremeria Mascarella
Via Mascarella 30
+39 051 263236

Granita of Craft Beer

Twenty-seven beers in total as part of the festival, and fourteen of them were from Italy, and none of them named Peroni!

Birrificio Del Ducato AFO

Birrificio Del Ducato AFO

I was very happy to see the high concentration of Italian craft beers as part of the festival, with more than half of the total selection coming from Italy.  And the styles of beers presented by Italian craft brewers showed a nice diversity.

Birrificio Del Ducato Via Emilia

Birrificio Del Ducato Via Emilia

Unfortunately, the Bravo Caffe’ was closed already when we arrived, so we did not get to try the Revelation Cat/Mikkeller Cream Ale.  We passed by Moustache and Cantina Bentivoglio but they were quiet and empty, and we wanted to be more in a crowd.  We found L’Ortica, where not only was there a nice mix of people, but we also managed to snag a table out on the patio where we settled in for the next few hours.

Hardknott Cool Fusion

Hardknott Cool Fusion

Over the course of the evening, I tried the Via Emilia, Cool Fusion, Old Chestnut, Flora Sambuco and Wake Up Dead.  I wanted to try a few of the other Italian beers, but two of the taps were on rotation, and neither Saison was available, the AFO available instead (which I had already tried), and the Vùdù and Forum Gallorum being off the tap in favor of the Cool Fusion.  AFO and Bad King John also found their way to the table, and I did take a small taste of the Bad King John when it arrived.

Bad King John and Old Chestnut

Bad King John and Old Chestnut

I loved the beers I did try, especially the Old Chestnut, Flora Sambuco and Cool Fusion.  The Wake Up Dead was good, but had a bit too much alcohol taste for me.  According to Bianca, this would be a great beer for marinating meat with.

Flora Sambuco and Wake Up Dead

Flora Sambuco and Wake Up Dead

Next door to L’Ortica is Modo and we discovered it was quite interesting as well — nice crowd and also a good beer selection – offering a one-two punch for a night out in Bologna. I would definitely suggest making 24 and 26 Via Mascarella your places to stop when you’re out for a beer.  And I would definitely suggest giving the Italian craft beer selections a chance, as they are quite good, and show that there is definitely a growing beer community in Italy.  Granted, not as strong as the wine community, but certainly not something to ignore for the future.

 

Preparing for Queen’s Day in Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Tonight and tomorrow will be perhaps the biggest party of the year in Eindhoven, even more crowded than Carnaval, and perhaps only rivaled by those days when the local football team wins the championship.  Last time I was in town for Queen’s Day I could hardly move, the crowds of orange so vast it took hours just to walk a few hundred meters.

The weather seems a little more threatening this year than it did that year, but the city is gearing up for quite a party nonetheless.

I took a walk through all the major squares in the center of town this afternoon to see what was being prepared for this year’s festivities.  All of the major local beers seemed to be well represented, with numerous stages and every variety of food truck to be found, representing all of the traditional options, from trucks offering selections of French Fries / Krokets / and Frikkendel, to hamburgers, bratwurst, mini egg rolls, pizza, and every other food that pairs well with the ever present beers.

I hope the rain holds off.

Stage set up in Stationsplein

Stage set up in Stationsplein

Stocked up on Red Bull

Preparing for a long night?

Bavaria Truck

Bavaria Truck

Cakes and other "baked" goods

Cakes and other "baked" goods

Grease Popcorn

Popcorn, Grease style!

Beck's stand

Beck's Beer not to be left out.

Grolsch Truck

Grolsch Truck with food stands in the background

Leompias and Tostis

Loempias and Tostis

Hamburgers and Bratwurst

From America? Hamburgers and Bradwurst

Pizza

Queen's Day Pizza - New York Style

Frituur Stand

Frituur - Frites, Kroket, Frikkendel. Yum!

Jupiler

Jupiler set up to represent Belgium

 

For more photos, check out my Google+ Album of Eindhoven Queen’s Day, 2012 Preparations

American Craft Beer Week May 16 – 22, 2011

American Craft Beer Week is May 16-22, 2011

Brett is more of the beer connoisseur in our travels, but I definitely enjoy a great craft beer — especially American microbrews.  I find the Belgian varieties Brett craves are often too high in alcohol content for me, so I can’t sample too many before wanting to curl up on the couch and take a nap.

For other American craft beer lovers like myself, there’s a whole week devoted to this hoppy red, white, and blue goodness — American Craft Beer Week!  This year’s event is May 16 – 22 and is organized by the Brewers Association / CraftBeer.com.

To help celebrate American Craft Beer Week, we will feature a number of posts this month dedicated to some of our favorite craft brews, brewery tours, and other American beer gems.  On my Culinary Travel column for Examiner.com, I will be listing some of the upcoming events for American Craft Beer Week.  There are a number of other Beer Weeks happening during American Craft Beer Week including:

  • Minnesota Craft Beer Week — May 13-22, 2011
  • Long Island Craft Beer Week — May 13-22, 2011
  • Nevada Beer Week — May 14-22, 2011
  • San Antonio Beer Week — May 15-22, 2011
  • Chicago Craft Beer Week — May 19-27, 2011
  • Seattle Beer Week — May 19-28, 2011

 

What are some of your favorite American Craft Beers?  Please share with us as we’re always looking for a few more good beers!

5 Helpful Tips For Visiting Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany

One of the top dream destinations for any beer lover is surely a visit to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  Held every year from the third weekend of September through the first weekend of October, this is the event to attend if you want to see what Oktoberfest is all about!

While you may think Oktoberfest is the perfect spur of the moment trip, I must warn you, this is not the case!  I truly suggest that you do all the proper preparations if you want to have a problem-free Oktoberfest memory!

Entrance to Oktoberfest

Here are a few tips to help you through your first visit to Oktoberfest:

1.  Ensure You Have a Hotel Reservation

Oktoberfest is not a weekend in Las Vegas.   The festivities do not run all night, in fact, the tents close at 10:30PM every night, so you will need to have something in line for the late-night hours and when the tents officially open at 9 (sat/sun) or 10 the next morning.  If you wait too long to find a hotel, you may find yourself out of your budget, or staying very far out of the city, with an hour+ train ride back to your hotel.   Some hotels fill up a year+ in advance of the event, so if you are thinking of attending Oktoberfest, book your hotel as soon in advance as you can.  If you can find a hotel in the center of town, you can more easily enjoy the post-fest activities in Munich itself, such as the original Hofbrauhaus in the city center.

2.  Book Your Seats

Especially if you have a large group you are traveling with, and even more so on the weekends, you will want to reserve seats in a tent a few months in advance, otherwise you will find yourself scrambling to find a seat in one of the hugely crowded tents at the festival.  Remember, if you’re not in a seat, you won’t be served!

3. Be Flexible!

So you’re not in a tent…so what?  It just so happens that the month of September tends to have some very nice weather, and both times I have attended, the weather has been perfect the entire time I was at the festival.  While seats within the beer tents may be very hard to come by, it is often much easier to find seats outside the tents in the beer gardens of each of the tents.  While you may miss out on some of the formal entertainment (brass bands), all of the other elements are available at the outside seating, including the large Maß of beer, served by an official “beer wench”, with the same food choices and most of the rest of the ambiance (i.e. loud mobs of drunken fellow celebrants).  On weekdays, you can often even manage to visit multiple tents in a single day if you make use of outside seating instead of waiting for seats inside each of the tents.  There are six official Oktoberfest beers, Spaten, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, and Löwenbräu, so this is the way to go if you want to try all six in a single short visit.

4.  Eat! Eat! Eat!

Remember, each Maß of beer is 1 litre in size, and if you go through a couple of these, you will feel it!  Be sure to eat and drink other fluids (i.e. water) throughout the day to ensure you can enjoy the full experience.  Oktoberfest is known for its food as well as its beer.  Be sure to try a half-chicken, giant soft pretzel, and/or weisswurst!

5.  Be Safe

Remember, Munich is a large city, and aside from the celebratory atmosphere within the festival grounds, you are within a major metropolis when outside the grounds.  Be aware of your surroundings, and know where you are, and where you are going.  While the increased tourism is accompanied by increased security, you should be sure to ensure your own safety and secure your belongings at all times.  Don’t let the party ruin your experience!

Be sure to start your planning now for Oktoberfest in the coming years.  Dates are:

  • 2013: September 21 – October 6
  • 2014: September 20 - October 5
  • 2015: September 19 - October  4
  • 2016: September 17 - October 3

Be sure to check out the official Oktoberfest website for detailed information: http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/

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