Saturday, 24 November 2007

New research tools

While I was doing permanent damage to my spine, wrist and ankles at the ice rink with our eldest, Fiona and our youngest went downtown and bought me a fantastic book for my birthday: Michael Jackson’s Great Beers of Belgium. Combined with the book my Trappist and Regional Brewery Analyst lent me yesterday, 52 brasseries coups de cœur en Belgique, I am now settling down to some serious research here.

This week’s Corsendonk crisis really got me thinking: 40 is just too small a number to do justice to the incredible variety of Belgian beer. Our solution of using “brewery days” is some help, but still, there will be so many tastes and experiences I will be missing. Even just a quick flip through these books is enlightening and humbling at the same time. I mean, I knew there were a lot of different Belgian beers, but whoa...

There’s one beer called “Deus” which seems more champagne than beer. It even comes in a champagne bottle and is shipped over to Reims for bottling and maturation. When you learn that, its full name, “Deus Brut des Flandres”, seems wholly appropriate. It is brewed by the same outfit that makes Kwak and Tripel karmeliet, the Bosteels brewery So, that’s going to one serious “brewery day”, for sure.

In other news, we had a successful test of the emergency brewcasting system on Thursday, linking me up with the Generalissimo of the American Small Brewers Liberation Front at an undisclosed location in New England. This communications system will allow simultaneous, video-linked beer tasting at various points during the 40-day period. I’ve already made arrangements to link up with fellow drinkers in the U.S., the Netherlands and New Zealand. Working on others, too. Let me know if you’d like to join in on any particular day with any particular beer, and we’ll work you into the schedule.

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