Today is the 60th birthday of Carl Kins, who lives in Belgium, but judges all over the world. I’ve judged beer competitions with Carl in Japan, his native Belgium and the United States, too. Carl’s an active member of the ECBU, the European Consumers Beer Union, and Zythos. And most importantly, he has a great palate, and is a terrific person to spend time with talking about beer, or anything else. Join me in wishing Carl a very happy birthday.
Today is the traditional birthday of Gambrinus, sometimes called King Gambrinus, considered to be a patron saint of beer, brewing and/or Belgian beer. Not an “official” saint, at least not in the catholic church, but a legendary figure. Regardless, join me in drinking a toast to King Gambrinus today.
Here’s the overview at Wikipedia:
Gambrinus is a legendary king of Flanders, and an unofficial patron saint of beer or beer brewing. Gambrinus is variously depicted as a European king, as an English knight of the Middle Ages, or (less commonly) as a plump old man. Gambrinus’ birthday is purported to be April 11.
The origin of the character is most widely believed to be John the Fearless (1371–1419), who some also believe to be the inventor of hopped malt beer. However, other sources report that one of the cup-bearers in the court of Charlemagne (742–814) was also called Gambrinus. In 1543, the German poet Burkart Waldis wrote of Gambrinus, explaining that Gambrinus learned the art of brewing from Isis, the ancient Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility.
It is also possible that the original Gambrinus was Duke John I of Brabant (1254-1298), who was called Jan Primus.
Other possible Latin etymologies of the name include cambarus (cellarer) and ganeae birrinus (one who drinks in a tavern). Plzeňský Prazdroj, brewer of the Gambrinus lager, endorses the explanation that the name is a corruption of Jan Primus (John the First), referring to John I, Duke of Brabant. Alternatively, Gambrinus may be a corruption of the name Gambrivius. Although less likely, Gambrinus might also derive from camba, a word from the Celtic language family that refers to a brewer’s pan.
King Gambrinus, known as “the patron saint of beer,” has long been a universal symbol of beer and brewing. Particularly during the late nineteenth century, the image of Gambrinus was used by countless brewers to promote their products and remind consumers of the rich heritage of beer-making. Many breweries were even adorned with life-size statues of the King.
But who was Gambrinus? It is Gambrinus who brought beer to earth, and here is the legend of how this came to pass, and how he came to be King: Gambrinus was a poor apprentice in glass-making, hailing from a little town in the Flandres called Fresne sur l’Escaut. With his wonderful pink cheeks, blonde hair and blonde beard, he was the most beautiful boy in the town and had great romantic success with the town girls.
But Gambrinus had secretly fallen in love with the beautiful daughter of his master, Flandrine. In those times, glass makers were noble from birth, and taught their art only to their sons. Flandrine, as proud as she was pretty, wanted to marry a master glass maker like her father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Gambrinus, as an apprentice, would only prepare the glass for his master, who then skillfully puffed it into decorative sheets.
At last, Gambrinus gathered the courage to reveal his feelings to Flandrine. But Flandrine, offended that such a lowly apprentice sought her affection, refused so strongly that Gambrinus left Fresne, and vowed never to return to glass-working again so that he might forget about Flandrine forever.
So Gambrinus wandered from town to town playing his violin and writing poetry to sing along while he played. Gambrinus, who was very clever and a quick-learner, soon gained a reputation as one of the best violinists in the region. He was constantly called on in towns far and wide to liven up weddings, birthdays, and other parties.
When the people of Fresne heard of the fame Gambrinus had achieved, they could barely believe it. They were so proud of their Gambrinus that they invited him back to Fresne and threw a town-wide celebration in his honor. Gambrinus, flattered by the thought of a celebration in his honor, accepted the towns invitation and returned to Fresne. When he arrived in Fresne and began playing his violin, the delighted townspeople began to sing and dance and cheer.
But soon after Gambrinus had started playing, he noticed Flandrine in the crowd. Overcome by nervousness, Gambrinus began to tremble. He trembled so much and played his violin so horribly that the townspeople began to kick him and shout at him.
The townspeople all blamed Gambrinus for the commotion, since it was his poor playing that upset everyone. Gambrinus soon found himself arrested by the town officials and spent a full month in jail for the trouble he caused in the street and the noisy disturbance he had caused in the night. When Gambrinus was released from jail, he decided the only way he could ever make himself forget about Flandrine was to kill himself. He decided to hang himself, and headed out into the forest to set up a noose and platform. Gambrinus slid the noose over his neck, but just when he was about to step off the platform, he saw before him the devil himself. As is his custom, the devil proposed a deal to Gambrinus: if his power was not strong enough to make Flandrine love Gambrinus, the devil would oblige Gambrinus to forget Flandrine forever. This in exchange for Gambrinus’ soul in 30 years time. Gambrinus accepted the deal, and agreed to the devil’s terms.
As soon as Gambrinus returned to town, he noticed an intense desire to gamble on games. Indeed, the devil meant to turn Gambrinus’ love for Flandrine into a passion for betting. Gambrinus bet on everything he could, not caring whether he won or not. But win he did, and soon Gambrinus found himself the owner of a small fortune. Although gambling had nearly eclipsed any thought of Flandrine, Gambrinus suddenly had an idea. Because he was as rich as a prince, perhaps Flandrine would agree to marry him as a noble. Gambrinus approached Flandrine for the second time and expressed his feelings to her. But Flandrine’s rejection was as swift and as ruthless as the first time: Gambrinus wasn’t a noble; he was born a boy, and would remain a boy for life.
King on a Barrel Gambrinus, returned to the forest to see the devil and ask him what went wrong; after all, Gambrinus still had not forgotten Flandrine, nor had Flandrine been made to fall in love with Gambrinus. Suddenly, before Gambrinus’ eyes appeared a large field with long lines of poles on which green plants began to grow. Soon the poles were covered by these green, perfumed plants. “These,” explained the devil, “are hops.” Just as quickly, two buildings burst forth from the ground. “The first building is a hophouse,” said the devil, “and the second one is a brewery. Come, and I will teach you how to make beer, Flandres’ wine. Beer will help you to forget Flandrine.”
Gambrinus learned how to make beer (not without tasting it every now and again) and found it delicious. Gambrinus soon felt like singing and dancing and playing his violin. But he remembered that the last time he had played violin he had been arrested, and his violin destroyed. Gambrinus asked the devil how he might seek revenge against the townspeople of Fresne who kicked him, sent him to jail, and broke his violin. The devil gave Gambrinus a new instrument that no one could resist, and taught Gambrinus how to play it. The devil explained that this instrument was called the chimes. The devil gave Gambrinus some seeds and the chimes and sent Gambrinus back to Fresne.
Once he arrived home, Gambrinus planted the precious seeds given to him by Belzebuth, and practiced making beer and playing chimes. One morning, Gambrinus set up tables, chairs, barrels, and chimes on the main town square and invited all the townspeople to join him to sample his new drink called beer. The townspeople tasted the beer, which was a brown lager. At first the people complained: “It is too bitter,” “It is too strong.” The people soon began laughing at Gambrinus and his stupid drink. Then Gambrinus began to play the irresistible chimes. The people all began dancing and could not stop. All the dancing made the people thirsty, which encouraged them to drink more beer. After an hour or so, the tired and woozy townspeople pleaded with Gambrinus to stop playing chimes. But Gambrinus kept playing for hours and hours. Gambrinus was satisfied that he had gotten his revenge on those who had wronged him.
But after time the townspeople began to appreciate the beer. They begged Gambrinus to make more and called beer the best drink they ever had. Word of Gambrinus’ drink spread far and wide and crossed over all frontiers. People from other towns soon begged Gambrinus to bring beer to their towns. Everywhere Gambrinus went, he brewed beer and played the chimes. So impressed were the nobles of the region that the Dukes, Counts, and Lords offered Gambrinus the title “King of Flandres.” Gambrinus accepted the position of king, but said he preferred the title “King of the Beer.” From thence on, Gambrinus was known as “The Brewer King.”
When Flandrine realized that Gambrinus would never come to her again, she came to talk to him. Gambrinus, however, more than a little inebriated, couldn’t recognize Flandrine, and just offered her something to drink; indeed, Gambrinus had forgotten about Flandrine.
Gambrinus lived happily with his subjects for many years, until finally the devil returned. “Thirty years have passed since we made our deal,” said the devil. “Now you must follow me.” But when the devil turned around, Gambrinus began playing the chimes, and the devil began to dance. The devil begged Gambrinus to stop playing, but Gambrinus continued, and the devil could not stop dancing. Finally, the devil agreed to break his deal with Gambrinus, releasing Gambrinus from his end of the deal.
King Gambrinus lived happily for another half century playing chimes and making beer. When Gambrinus finally died, his body disappeared, and in its place appeared a barrel of beer. This is why Gambrinus has no tombstone, and why no one knows of the resting place of The Brewer King.
Another website lists some tall tales that have made Gambrinus famous:
- He received the gift of beer directly from the Egyptian fertility goddess Isis
- In medieval times he loaned his soul to the devil for 30 years to learn the art and process of brewing
- He outwitted his opponent in a challenge to lift an impossibly heavy beer cask by first drinking the beer then triumphantly lifted the empty cask
- During a three-day banquet he drank mug after mug of foamy beer and he was known forever after as the King of Beer
Below is a Symphonion No. 25 GS: “Gambrinus,” a “spectacular original coin-operated disc musical box by ‘Symphonion Musikwerke, Leipzig,’ for 11 3/4 in. discs, 84 teeth in duplex comb (complete), with a wonderful wood-carved figure of the mythical Flemish King “Gambrinus”. 43 1/2 in. high. With 10 discs.”
The German Beer Brewers Museum in Munich owns a portrait from 1526 of King Gambrinus, and it includes the following verse:
Im Leben ward ich Gambrinus gennant,
König zu Flandern und Brabant,
Ich hab aus Gersten Malz gemacht
Und Bierbrauen zuerst erdacht.
Drum können die Brauer mit Wahrheit sagen,
Daß sie einen König zum Meister haben.
Which translates roughly to:
In life I was known as Gambrinus,
King of Flanders and Brabant,
From barley I made malt
And was first at brewing beer.
Thus the brewers can truthfully say,
They have a king as master brewer.
Merchant du Vin, which was started by Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, is an importer of beer. But not just another importer, but one of the earliest in America to begin bringing in some of the world’s best beers. Like many people, one my first introductions to Belgian beer was Orval, which they started importing in 1978, along with others like Lindemans, Rochefort, Westmalle and others. This year, they’ve decided to promote Orval by creating “Orval Day” to celebrate the beer. It’s certainly one of my favorites. So it may be a marketing ploy, but so are many other holidays, and I think the beer is so good that it deserves its own day.
Here’s the info about Orval Day from Merchant du Vin’s website:
On March 26th, devotees of Orval Trappist Ale – and even some folks who haven’t tried it yet – will convene upon their favorite bar to celebrate one of the world’s most unique beers. Orval was the first Brett beer to land on US shores, and has become the favorite beer for many star American brewers. Orval sells one beer, brewed to exquisite perfection within the walls of Notre Dame d’Orval Monastery in Belgium. It’s delicious when it leaves the brewery, but also evolves in the bottle for five years or more. A portion of the proceeds from Orval Day will be donated to MAP International.
2016 will be the first year of Orval Day: visit our events page to find a great beer.
I last visited Orval in early 2014, so I thought I’d share a few of the photos I took of the brewery and abbey during that trip. Enjoy. And happy Orval Day.
A true brewing legend, who was treated like a rock star in Belgium where they care about their national beers, Pierre Celis would have been 91 today. Celis single-handedly revived the style witbier in the 1960s when he was a brewer at Hoegaarden. He later moved to Texas to start a microbrewery with his daughter Christine, which was sold to Miller in 1995. More recently, he was making three cave-aged beers under the label Grottenbier at St. Bernardus in Belgium. Unfortunately, Pierre passed away almost five years ago in April. Pierre was a terrific person and his absence is still deeply felt. The last I heard, his daughter Christine was working on a great-sounding project that will honor her father’s memory and also produce some terrific beers, too. That project is now closer to opening. Join me in drinking a toast to the memory of Pierre Celis.
Today is Wendy Littlefield’s 60th birthday. Wendy, along with her husband, ran the Belgian export company Vanberg & DeWulf, until quite recently, when the business was sold, although they continued for the next year with the company before starting the next chapter. Their portfolio included such great beer lines as Dupont, Castelain and Dubuisson (Bush). They were also the original founders of Brewery Ommegang. Four years ago was their 30th anniversary of being involved in the beer industry and bringing great beer to America. Plus, they’re great fun to hang out and drink with, especially in Belgium. Join me in wishing Wendy a very happy birthday.
NOTE: Photos purloined from Vanberg & DeWulf’s website and Facebook.
Today is the birthday of Mary of Burgundy (February 13, 1457-March 27, 1482), She was also known as the “Duchess of Burgundy, [and] reigned over the Low Countries from 1477 until her death. As the only child of Charles the Bold and his wife Isabella of Bourbon, she was the heiress to the vast, and vastly wealthy, Burgundian domains in France and the Low Countries upon her father’s death in the Battle of Nancy on January 5, 1477.”
Portrait of Mary of Burgundy, painted in 1490 by Austrian artist, Michael Pacher.
Here’s more about Mary, most of it from her Wikipedia page:
Mary of Burgundy was born in Brussels, at the ducal castle of Coudenberg, to Charles the Bold, Count of Charolais, and his wife, Isabella of Bourbon. Her birth, according to the court chronicler, Georges Chastellain, was attended by a clap of thunder ringing from the otherwise clear twilight sky. Her godfather was Louis, Dauphin of France, in exile in Burgundy at that time; he named her for his mother, Marie of Anjou. Reactions to the child were mixed: the baby’s grandfather, Duke Philip the Good, was unimpressed, and “chose not to attend the [Baptism] as it was only for a girl;” the grandmother, Isabella of Portugal, was simply delighted at the birth of a granddaughter.
Philip the Good died in 1467, making his son Duke of Burgundy and his 10-year-old granddaughter heiress presumptive. As the only child of Charles the Bold, Mary was heiress presumptive to a vast and wealthy domain, made up of the Duchy of Burgundy, the Free County of Burgundy, and the majority of the Low Countries, and her hand was eagerly sought by a number of princes. The first proposal was received by her father when she was only five years old, to marry the future King Ferdinand II of Aragon. Later the younger brother of Louis XI, Charles, Duke of Berry, made an approach, to the intense annoyance of his brother the King, who attempted to prevent the necessary papal dispensation for consanguinity.
As soon as Louis produced a male heir who survived infancy, the future King Charles VIII of France, Louis wanted his son to be the one to marry Mary, despite his son being thirteen years younger than Mary. Nicholas I, Duke of Lorraine, was a few years older than Mary, and his duchy lay alongside Burgundian territory, but his plan to combine his territory with hers was ended by his death in battle in 1473.
Mary ascended upon her father’s death in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. King Louis XI of France seized the opportunity afforded by his rival’s defeat and death to attempt to take possession of the Duchy of Burgundy proper, and also of Franche-Comté, Picardy and Artois.
A portrait believed to have been painted by Niklas Reiser.
The King was anxious that Mary should marry his son Charles and thus secure the inheritance of the Low Countries for his heirs, by force of arms if necessary. Burgundy, fearing the French military power, sent an embassy to France to negotiate a marriage between Mary and six-year-old Charles VIII, but returned home without a betrothal, finding the French king’s demands of cession of territories to the French crown unacceptable.
On February 10, 1477 at Ghent on the occasion of her formal recognition, known as the Joyous Entry, as Charles’ heir, she was compelled to sign a charter of rights, called the Great Privilege. Under this agreement, the provinces and towns of Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and Holland recovered all the local and communal rights which had been abolished by the decrees of the dukes of Burgundy in their efforts to create a centralized state on the French model out of their separate holdings in the Low Countries. In particular, the Parliament of Mechelen (established formally by Charles the Bold in 1470) was abolished and replaced with the pre-existing authority of the Parliament of Paris, which was considered an amenable counterweight to the encroaching, if informal, centralization undertaken by both Charles the Bold and Philip the Good. The Duchess also had to undertake not to declare war, make peace, or raise taxes without the consent of the States, and to employ only native residents in official posts.
Such was the hatred of the people for the old regime that two of her father’s influential councilors, the Chancellor Hugonet and the Sire d’Humbercourt, having been discovered in correspondence with the King of France, were executed at Ghent despite the tears and entreaties of the Duchess.
Another, later portrait by an unknown Flemish artist.
Mary now made her choice among the many suitors for her hand, selecting Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who became her co-ruler. The marriage took place at Ghent on the evening of 16 August 1477. The event initiated two centuries of contention between France and the Habsburgs (later of Spain, then of Austria) for their possession, which climaxed in the War of the Spanish Succession, 1701–1714.
In the Netherlands, affairs now went more smoothly, the French aggression was temporarily checked, and internal peace was in large measure restored.
Five years later, the 25-year-old Duchess died due to a fall from her horse on March 27, 1482 near Wijnendale Castle. She loved riding, and was falconing with Maximilian when her horse tripped, threw her, and then landed on top of her, breaking her back. She died several days later, having made a detailed will. She is buried in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges.
Louis was swift to re-engage, and forced Maximilian to agree to the Treaty of Arras (1482) by which Franche-Comté and Artois passed for a time to French rule, only to be regained by the Treaty of Senlis (1493), which established peace in the Low Countries. Mary’s marriage to the House of Habsburg would prove to be a disaster for France, for the Burgundian inheritance would later bring it into conflict with Spain and the Empire.
But, of course, she was also the inspiration for a Belgian beer, brewed by the Brouwerij Verhaeghe, located in Vichte, which is a ancient castle and farm in West Flanders. The beer is called Duchesse de Bourgogne, and it’s a personal favorite of mine. I know some people think it’s uneven, or not a classic Flanders Red Ale, but I love it.
I also wrote about Duchesse de Bourgogne a few years ago, and at the time I did my own short overview of her life.
Beer aside, the history of the Duchesse is fascinating. Her anglicized name was Mary of Burgundy, though she was born in Brussels on February 13, 1457, the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon. Needless to say she was quite a catch, especially after her father died in battle (at the siege of Nancy, not a particularly awful sounding name) in 1477, when she was nineteen. Louis XI of France tried to take Burgundy and the Low Countries for himself but was frustrated when Mary signed the “Great Privilege,” by which she gave Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and all of Holland autonomous rule (leaving for herself the remainder of the Low Countries, Artois, Luxembourg, and Franche-Comté). She then married Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who was later the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and part of the Hapsburg Austrian dynasty. This sparked a long-standing dispute over the Low Countries between France and the Hapsburg family.
One of Mary’s favorite hobbies was falconing, which was popular among royals in the day. Falconry is basically training and hunting using a falcon. While engaged in this pursuit, in 1482, Mary’s horse tripped, tossing her onto the ground where the horse then landed on top of her, breaking her back. A few days later she died. Mary was only 25. The beer label’s portrait pays homage to her love of falconry and her ultimate death because of it.
Her young son Philip became heir after her death, though Maximilian was in charge until he reached adulthood. King Louis forced Maximilian to sign the Treaty of Arras the same year, and it gave Franche Comté and Artois to France. But Philip was a virtual prisoner until 1485, and then it took Max another eight years to take back control of their lands in the Low Countries. The Treaty of Senlis, in 1493, finally established peace in the area, but Burgundy and Picardy remained French.
So during her short life, Mary had such great impact on European politics that they can be felt even now in the present. So it’s quite appropriate that she have so wonderful a beer that bears her name and her portrait. It’s a fitting legacy.
The Duchesse de Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe is the traditional Flemish red ale. This refreshing ale is matured in oak casks; smooth with a rich texture and interplay of passion fruit, and chocolate, and a long, dry and acidic finish. After the first and secondary fermentation, the beer goes for maturation into the oak barrels for 18 months. The final product is a blend of younger 8 months old beer with 18 months old beer. The average age of the Duchesse de Bourgogne before being bottled is 12 months.
Coat of arms of Mary of Burgundy.
Today is the 48th birthday Jean Van Roy, who took over the Cantillon Brewery in Brussels from his father several years ago, though he’d been working there all of his life. Considered a working brewery museum, they make some amazing lambics, and the tour is one everyone should take at least once in their life. Down an unassuming alley in Brussels, and not one you’d feel safe meandering along at night, Cantillon has been located there since 1900, when it was founded. I’ve met Jean a number of times, and he always strikes me as a man with beer in his blood, and a passion for what he’s doing, which makes him a kindred spirit as far as I’m concerned. Join me in wishing Jean a very happy birthday.
Jean (on right), Yvan De Baets (center, who plans to open Brasserie De La Senne by the end of the year) and I believe Bernard (on left, also from De La Senne) at Deep Ellum in Boston during CBC in 2009.
I first made Johann, the founder of Seef Bier, in San Francisco, when he was here to do a presentation with his importer and the Belgian Trade Delegation as he was beginning to import his beer to the U.S. And I quite like Seef, and have since I first tried it. I saw him most recently last month in Belgium, when he was on hand to pick up the gold medal for Seef he received at the Brussels Beer Challenge. At any rate, this morning he sent me this fun video of Christmas Wishes from Seefbier, a spoof of the popular Christmas carol recorded by Andy Williams, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It really is the most wonderful time to drink beer. Enjoy.
Last Saturday, the winners of the 4th annual Brussels Beer Challenge were announced. A little over 1,100 beers were judged in 66 categories by 75 judges, of which I was again privileged to be one. This year the competition was held in Antwerp, and there was a 36% increase in the number of beers this year over last year’s competition, which also required an additional 15 judges. After two days of judging, the awards were announced at De Koninck.
For the second straight year, the United States came out on top, winning the most medals. Here are the top medal winners, by country.
Medals Won by Country:
- United States = 60
- Belgium = 46
- Italy = 26
- Netherlands = 23
- TIE: Germany / Spain = 9
- France = 6
- TIE: Brazil / United Kingdom = 5
- Denmark = 4
- TIE: Czech Republic / Malta / Poland = 3
- TIE: China / Ireland / Japan = 2
The 2015 Brussels Beer Challenge Winners
Category 1: Dark Ale: Abbey / Trappist Style Dubbel
Gold: Nucis, Kamun srl (Italy)
Silver: Diôle Brune, La Brasserie des Carrières (Belgium)
Bronze: Texels Dubbel, Texelse Bierbrouwerij BV (Netherlands)
Bronze: Moreneta Bruna-Brune, Barna Brew (Brouwerij Anders!) (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Terenez Brune, La brasserie du bout du monde (France)
Certificate of Excellence: Bon Secours Brune, Brasserie Caulier SPRL (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Paljas Bruin, Brouwerij Henricus (Belgium)
Category 2: Dark Ale: Brown Ale
Gold: Davy Brown Ale, Figueroa Mountain Brewing (US)
Silver: UnderCover – Brown Ale, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Bronze: Jopen 4Granen Bokbier, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Bonfire Brown, Saugatuck Brewing (US)
Category 3: Dark Ale: Dark/Black IPA
Gold: Ebers Hopsfall 2015, Land Food & Beverage Soc. Coop. Agricola (Italy)
Silver: Turmoil, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)
Bronze: Bosuil – Tawny Owl, Brouwerij het Uiltje (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Black, Lucky Bastard (Czech Republic)
Category 4: Dark Ale: Oud Bruin (Flanders Brown Ale)
Silver: Liefmans Goudenband, Brouwerij Liefmans (Belgium)
Category 5: Dark Ale: Strong Dark Ale
Gold: Inglorious Quad, Inglorious Brew Stars (Belgium)
Gold: Edelhert Donker, De Heidebrouwerij 1 (Netherlands)
Bronze: Jopen Ongelovige Thomas – Doubting Thomas, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Eden Quadrupel, De Lustige Brouwers (Belgium)
Category 6: Flavoured Beer: Chocolate
Gold: Zeven Zonden Invidia, Hugel (Belgium)
Silver: Global Mutt Baltic Porter, Wander Brewing (US)
Silver: Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, Epic Brewing (US)
Bronze: 7 Fjell Morgenstemning Coffee Stout, 7 Fjell Bryggeri (Norway)
Certificate of Excellence: Midnight Ritual, Moylan’s Brewing (US)
Category 7: Flavoured Beer: Coffee
Gold: Breakfast Stout, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)
Category 8: Flavoured Beer: Fruit Beer
Gold: Malagrika, Birrificio B94 SRL (Italy)
Silver: Boysenberry Fruit Puncheon, Wander Brewing (US)
Bronze: Red & White, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Mort Subite Oude Kriek Lambic, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)
Category 9: Flavoured Beer: Fruit Lambic
Gold: Kriek Boon Mariage Parfait, Brouwerij Boon N.V. (Belgium)
Silver: Oude Kriek Cuvée René, Brouwerij Lindemans (Belgium)
Bronze: Oude Kriek Oud Beersel, Oud Beersel BVBA (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Timmermans Oude Kriek, Timmermans (Belgium)
Category 10: Flavoured Beer: Herb & Spice
Gold: Fleur Sofronia, MC77 – Birrificio Artigianale (Italy)
Silver: Zinnbach Kung Fu Beer, Shandong ZinnBach Biotechnology Co., LTD (China)
Bronze: Glezia, Glezia Beer (Belgium)
Category 11: Flavoured Beer: Honey Beer
Gold: Humdinger, Joseph Holt Ltd (UK)
Silver: Barbãr Blonde, Brasserie Lefebvre (Belgium)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Honey Queen, Boston Beer Company (US)
Category 12: Flavoured Beer: Pumpkin ale
Silver: Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Fat Jack, Boston Beer Company (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Saranac Pumpkin Ale, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Category 13: Flavoured Beer: Smoked Beer
Gold: Bax Bier Koud Vuur, Bax Bier Groningen (Netherlands)
Silver: Arsa, Birrificio Birranova (Italy)
Bronze: Roulv, Bryggeriet Frejdahl (Denmark)
Certificate of Excellence: Stray Bird Smoked Porter, Stray Bird Brewery (China)
Certificate of Excellence: Smoked Revolution, Birrificio Birranova (Italy)
Category 14: Flavoured Beer: Sweet/Milk Stout
Gold: Nocturna, Kamun SRL (Italy)
Silver: Steel Toe Stout, Ska Brewing (US)
Bronze: Milk Stout, Left Hand Brewing (US)
Category 15: Flavoured Beer: Wood/Barrel Aged
Gold: Black Butte ^ 3, Deschutes Brewing (US)
Silver: Keyte Jubileum, Brouwerij Strubbe (Belgium)
Bronze: Ska Face, Ska Brewing (US)
Category 16: Lager: American-Style Pilsner
Silver: Salamander Hoppy Violet Potato Lager, Browar Stu Mostów (Poland)
Category 17: Lager: Bohemian-Style Pilsner
Silver: Bohemian Pilsner, Brauerei Lemke Berlin (Germany)
Bronze: Maes Pils, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)
Category 18: Lager: Dark/Dunkel (including Schwarzbier)
Gold: Bamberg Schwarzbier, Cervejaria Bamberg (Brazil)
Silver: Vadia Preta, Cerveja Vadia (Portugal)
Bronze: Premium Dark, Primátor a.s. (Czech Republic)
Category 19: Lager: German-Style Dunkel Bock/Doppelbock
Gold: Ezelenbok, SNAB Bierbrouwers (Netherlands)
Silver: Bokkepruik, Brouwerij Hommeles (Netherlands)
Bronze: Cerveza Apóstol Premium Tipo Bock, Indsutria de Cervezas y Bebidas SAS (Colombia)
Certificate of Excellence: St. Christoffel Bock, Christoffel Bieren B.V. (Netherlands)
Category 20: Lager: German-Style Helles-/MaiBock/Doppelbock
Silver: San Miguel Selecta XV, Mahou San Miguel (Spain)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Double Bock, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Alfa Super Dort, Alfa brouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence:
Category 21: Lager: German-Style Märzen
Gold: Oachkatzlschwoaf, Urban Chestnut Brewing (US)
Silver: Octoberfest, Wormtown Brewery (US)
Bronze: Saranac Adirondack Lager, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence:
Category 22: Lager: German-Style Pilsner
Gold: Bavik Pils, Brouwerij de Brabandere (Belgium)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Stolz der Bayern Pilsener, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Cisk Export, Simonds Farsons Cisk (Malta)
Certificate of Excellence: ViaEmilia, Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)
Category 23: Lager: Helles
Gold: Birra Ichnusa Cruda, Heineken Italia (Italy)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Bayerisch Hell, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Exquisit, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Brixia Lager, La Curtense (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence: Estaminet, Brouwerij Palm (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Birra Ichnusa, Heineken Italia (Italy)
Category 24: Lager: Ice
Bronze: Corsaire, Brasserie Lorraine (France)
Category 25: Lager: International Style Pilsner
Gold: Asahi Super Dry, Asahi Breweries, Ltd (Japan)
Silver: Schwarzbräu Schweden Pils, Schwarzbräu GmbH (Germany)
Bronze: Bierland Pilsen, Cervejaria Bierland (Brazil)
Certificate of Excellence: De Leckere Pilsener, De Leckere BV (Netherlands)
Category 26: Lager: Light Lager
Gold: McGargles Fancy Frank’s Lager, Rye River Brewing (Ireland)
Silver: Heineken Light, Heineken International (Netherlands)
Bronze: San Miguel Fresca, Mahou San Miguel (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Utica Club Pilsener, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Category 27: Pale & Amber Ale: (Belgian style) Tripel
Gold: Hoegaarden Grand Cru, AB Inbev (Belgium)
Silver: Bersalis Tripel, Oud Beersel BVBA (Belgium)
Bronze: Rangsken, Den Houten Molen (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Gouden Carolus Tripel, Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)
Category 28: Pale & Amber Ale: Abbey / Trappist Style Blond
Gold: Maredsous Blond, Duvel Moortgat (Belgium)
Silver: Affligem Blond, Brouwerij Alken-Maes NV (Belgium)
Bronze: 7PK, Vzw De Winning Maatwerk / PK (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: ABT Fundum Blond, Columbus Management / Zonderik Beer Company (Belgium)
Category 29: Pale & Amber Ale: Altbier
Gold: Bamberg Altbier, Cervejaria Bamberg (Brazil)
Silver: Samuel Adams Boston Ale, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Flying Bison Rusty Chain, FX Matt Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence:
Category 30: Pale & Amber Ale: Amber
Gold: Brevis Furor, Birrificio dei Castelli (Italy)
Silver: Palm, Brouwerij Palm (Belgium)
Bronze: Doom Bar, Sharp’s Brewery (UK)
Certificate of Excellence: Blue Label Ale, Simonds Farsons Cisk (Malta)
Category 31: Pale & Amber Ale: American IPA (Greater than 6.5 ABV)
Gold: Capivara Little IPA, Cerveja Blumenau (Brazil)
Silver: Odell IPA, Odell Brewing (US)
Bronze: Sculpin, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Pallet Jack IPA, Barley Brown’s Beer (US)
Category 32: Pale & Amber Ale: American IPA (Less than 6.5 ABV)
Gold: Hopvine IPA, Schooner Exact Brewing (US)
Silver: Be Hoppy, Wormtown Brewery (US)
Bronze: Long White Cloud Pale Ale, Long White Cloud Brewing (New Zealand)
Category 33: Pale & Amber Ale: Best Bitter
Gold: Cutthroat Pale Ale, Uinta Brewing (US)
Silver: 942, Dougall’s (Spain)
Bronze: Punks Do It Bitter, Birrificio Indipendente Elav (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence: Calico, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Category 34: Pale & Amber Ale: Bières de Garde ambrée
Gold: Brassin d’hiver, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc (France)
Silver: Terenez Blonde, La brasserie du bout du monde (France)
Bronze: La Rousse, Brasserie du Mont-Blanc (France)
Certificate of Excellence: Rare Vos, Brewery Ommegang (US)
Category 35: Pale & Amber Ale: Bitter
Gold: Jopen Jacobus RPA, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Silver: Patagonia Küne Pale Ale, Cerveza Patagonia (Argentina)
Bronze: ROCK Ale Cut, Schlossbrauerei Friedenfels GmbH (Germany)
Category 36: Pale & Amber Ale: Bitter Blond / Golden Ale
Gold: Seef Bier, Antwerpse Brouw Compagnie NV (Belgium)
Silver: Steenbrugge Blond, Brouwerij de Gouden Boom (Belgium)
Bronze: Maneblusser, Brouwerij Het Anker (Belgium)
Category 37: Pale & Amber Ale: English IPA
Gold: San Blas – English IPA, Lord Chambray (Malta)
Silver: Dales Pale Ale, Oskar Blues Brewery (US)
Bronze: Butcombe Atlantic IPA, Butcombe Brewery (UK)
Certificate of Excellence: BBP Aupa Pale Ale, Basqueland Brewing Company S.L. (Spain)
Category 38: Pale & Amber Ale: Imperial IPA
Silver: The Calling IPA, Boulevard Brewing (US)
Bronze: Dreamcrusher, Deep Ellum Brewing (US)
Category 39: Pale & Amber Ale: Kölsch
Gold: BBP Captain Norbert Kolsch, Basqueland Brewing Company S.L. (Spain)
Category 40: Pale & Amber Ale: Light Bitter Blond / Golden Ale
Gold: Atlantic, Sharp’s Brewery (UK)
Silver: Bax Bier Kon Minder, Bax Bier Groningen (Netherlands)
Bronze: Wild Jo, Brouwerij de Koninck (Belgium)
Category 41: Pale & Amber Ale: Saison
Gold: Saison Dupont Biologique, Brasserie Dupont (Belgium)
Silver: Biir – Country Belgian Farmhouse Ale, Brouwerij Montaigu – BIIR Brewer Assoc. (Belgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Saison, Brouwerij Maximus B.V. (Netherlands)
Category 42: Pale & Amber Ale: Strong Blonde / Golden Ale
Gold: Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, Boulevard Brewing (US)
Silver: St-Feuillien Grand Cru, Brasserie St-Feuillien (Belgium)
Bronze: Hopruiter, Scheldebrouwerij bvba (BElgium)
Certificate of Excellence: Caulier Triple / Gluten Free, Caulier Developpement SA / NV (Belgium)
Category 43: Pale & Amber Ale: Strong / Extra Special Bitter
Gold: ESB/Amber, Saugatuck Brewing (US)
Silver: Leyenda, Dougall’s (Spain)
Category 44: Red Ale: American Red Ale
Gold: Daylight, Track 7 Brewing (US)
Silver: Route 77, Birrificio il Mastio (Italy)
Bronze: Pastorale, Van Moll (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence: Ebers American Pale Ale 2015, Land Food & Beverage Soc. Coop. Agricola (Italy)
Category 45: Red Ale: Irish Red Ale
Gold: McGargles Granny Mary’s Red Ale, Rye River Brewing (Ireland)
Silver: Red Cap Irish Style Red Ale, Kulshan Brewing (US)
Bronze: Barbarossa, Birrificio Svevo di Cisco Vito (Italy)
Certificate of Excellence:
Category 46: Red Ale: Oud Rood (Flanders Red Ale)
Gold: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Brouwerij Rodenbach (Belgium)
Silver: Samuel Adams Kosmic Mother Funk Grand Cru, Boston Beer Company (US)
Bronze: Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, Boston Beer Company (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Rodenbach, Brouwerij Rodenbach (Belgium)
Category 47: Speciality Beer: Barley Wine
Gold: Olde School Barley Wine, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (US)
Silver: Fathead Barley Wine, Nebraska Brewing (US)
Bronze: Bohemia Reserva, Ambev S.A. (Brazil)
Certificate of Excellence: SEVEN, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Category 48: Speciality Beer: Brut Beer
Bronze: Broeder Jacob Brut Rosé, Brouwerij Broeder Jacob (Belgium)
Category 49: Speciality Beer: Hybrid
Gold: Sun Barley Bio Blonde, Micro Birrificio Castel del Monte (Italy)
Silver: Karibu, Piccolo Birrificio Indipendente Decimoprimo (Italy)
Bronze: Brutus, Brouwerij Maximus B.V. (Netherlands)
Category 50: Speciality Beer: Lambic & Gueuze
Gold: Timmermans Oude Gueuze, Timmermans (Belgium)
Silver: Coolship Resurgam, Allagash Brewing (US)
Bronze: Sour Opal, Firestone Walker Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Gueuze Boon VAT 77, Brouwerij Boon N.V. (Belgium)
Category 51: Speciality Beer: Speciality Beer
Gold: Nonniversaire, HopSaSam (Belgium)
Silver: Petrus Aged Pale, Brouwerij de Brabandere (Belgium)
Bronze: Gulpener Ur-Hop, Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Certificate of Excellence:
Category 52: Speciality Beer: Winter Ales
Gold: Gulpener Wintervrund, Gulpener Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Silver: UnderCover – Christmas Ale, Coisbo Beer ApS (Denmark)
Certificate of Excellence:
Category 53: Stout/Porter: American Stout
Gold: Calix Niger, Birrificio dei Castelli (Italy)
Silver: Obsidian Stout, Deschutes Brewing (US)
Bronze: Darker than your Soul, Saugatuck Brewing (US)
Category 54: Stout/Porter: Baltic Porter
Gold: Ballast Point Baltic Porter, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (US)
Bronze: Cornelius Porter, Sulimar Sp z o.o. (Poland)
Category 55: Stout/Porter: Dry Stout
Gold: Stringers Dry Stout, Stringers Beer (UK)
Silver: Dry Stout, Reuben’s Brews (US)
Silver: Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout, Moylan’s Brewing (US)
Category 56: Stout/Porter: Oatmeal Stout
Gold: De Poet, New Holland Brewing (US)
Silver: Dragonstooth Stout, Elysian Brewing (US)
Certificate of Excellence: Oatmeal Stout, Blue Point Brewing (US)
Category 57: Stout/Porter: Porter
Gold: Magarìa, ‘a Magara (Italy)
Silver: Coconut Porter, Maui Brewing (US)
Bronze: Transporter, Kulshan Brewing (US)
Bronze: Arriaca Imperial Porter, Cervezas Arriaca SL (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Malvados Porter, Malvados Beer by Crevezart (Spain)
Certificate of Excellence: Turkunara, P3 Brewing (Italy)
Category 58: Stout/Porter: Russian Imperial Stout
Gold: Ten Fidy, Oskar Blues Brewery (US)
Silver: Mìerula, ‘a Magara (Italy)
Bronze: Ukrainian Imperial Stout, Pravda Beer Theatre (Ukraine)
Certificate of Excellence: Nautilus, Birrificio Mezzavia (Italy)
Category 59: Stout/Porter: Stout Export
Gold: Tsunami Stout, Pelican Pub & Brewery (US)
Silver: Duits & Lauret Stout, Duits & Lauret (Netherlands)
Bronze: Voreia Stout, SIRIS Microbrewery (Greece)
Certificate of Excellence: Asahi Stout, Asahi Breweries, Ltd (Japan)
Category 60: Wheat: Dubbel Wit / Imperial White
Gold: IJwit, Brouwerij ‘t IJ (Netherlands)
Category 61: Wheat: Dunkel Weizen
Bronze: Friedenfelser Dunkles Weizen, Schlossbrauerei Friedenfels GmbH (Germany)
Category 62: Wheat: Dunkel Weizen(doppel)bock
Gold: Texels Bock, Texelse Bierbrouwerij BV (Netherlands)
Bronze: TAP6 Unser Aventinus, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Germany)
Certificate of Excellence: Jopen Johannieter, Jopenkerk Bierbrouwerij (Netherlands)
Category 63: Wheat: Gose
Gold: Gose, pFriem Family Brewers (US)
Silver: Sun Barley Bio Blanche, Micro Birrificio Castel del Monte (Italy)
Category 64: Wheat: Weizen
Gold: Weizenbier, Primátor a.s. (Czech Republic)
Bronze: Cornelius Pszeniczny, Sulimar Sp z o.o. (Poland)
Bronze: TAP1 Meine Blonde Weisse, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH (Germany)
Category 65: Wheat: White IPA / Hoppy Weizen
Gold: Weiss Weiss Baby, Figueroa Mountain Brewing (US)
Silver: Lunette, Brasserie de la Pleine Lune (France)
Bronze: Les 4 Surfeurs de l’Apocalypso, Le Trou du diable (Canada)
Certificate of Excellence: Sirena, Birrificio Della Granda (Italy)
Category 66: Wheat: Witbier
Gold: Alkali Wit, Track 7 Brewing (US)
Gold: Montelago Litha, Birrificio il Mastio (Italy)
Silver: Blanche de Namur, Brasserie du Bocq (Belgium)
Bronze: St. Paul White, Brouwerij Sterkens Bierparadijs (Belgium)
Best Belgian Beer
The Comac Trophy: Best in Show
Today is the 64th birthday of Armand Debelder, master blender and owner of Proef 3 Fonteinen — a.k.a. Drie Fonteinen — a lambic brewery and blendery making traditional geuze and kriek in Beersal, Belgium. According to their U.S. importer, Shelton Brothers:
Drie Fonteinen is the only remaining traditional geuze blender in Belgium, using only 100% spontaneously fermented lambik beer, aged in oak casks, with no artificial sweeteners or other additives. The blendery is connected to the very popular Drie Fonteinen Restaurant in Beersel, on the outskirts of Brussels. The proprietor, Armand Debelder, buys pure lambik from three breweries in Belgium, ages them in oak, and blends them, employing the skill, knowledge, and supreme passion for real geuze that his father handed down to him.
I had a chance to meet and talk with Armand a couple of times during Philly Beer Week a few years ago. And, of course, his beer is amazingly good. Join me in wishing Armand a very happy birthday.