Sunday, 6 January 2008

Back to Belgium: The First Week

Finally back from holiday and ready to get going on 40b40. Only two more days before I start, and there’s an air of nervous energy throughout the house. Actually, we’re all just exhausted after a final two or three days of almost constant travel to get back home from Senegal.

Beer-wise, Senegal is the anti-Belgium. That is, it’s not a place for variety. If you don’t like Flag, a thin lager, then you can go for Gazelle, an even thinner lager. In the heat, however, both do quite nicely for me: cool and refreshing is about all you need in Senegal. Of the two, I prefer Gazelle, which is something of a national institution. The bottle’s an odd 63 cl, and at 4.2 per cent alcohol, it’s easy to relax with on the beach, more physically replenishing than demanding.

But enough of West African lagers. Here now the plan for the first week of the 40b40 Belgian beer challenge:

8 January: “Chimay Day”
9 January: “Leffe Day” (live from New Zealand)
10 January: “Abbaye de Floreffe Day”
11 January: “Corsendonk Day”
12 January: “Affligem Day”
13 January: Augustijn (live from Connecticut, USA)
14 January: “Bosteels Brewery Day”

I decided to go with Bosteels on my birthday itself, because I’ve got the champagne-like bottle of Deus already at home and waiting. I realise some will prefer Kwak or Tripel karmeliet for that day. So be it.

By the way, some of you noticed an error in the beer list we announced before the holiday. We had listed De verboden vrucht and “Hoegaarden Day” separately, which is of course inappropriate, as De verboden vrucht is made by Hoegaarden. Well done to those who caught the incongruity, which was, of course, entirely intentional. Just wanted to see who was paying attention. We’ve since combined the two and added a “Brewery De Rullés Day” to the full list of 40 here.

And that, dear reader, is about as much as I can concentrate on at the moment. Still a bit stressed out by the travel and getting ready to return to the daily routine. We’ve a mountain of laundry to get through. A bottle of cough syrup leaked all over our other medicines in our bag, and I’ve been cleaning that up. I also sliced my thumb deep under the nail when opening a plastic bottle of cleaner. Nasty. I’ll need serious physiotherapy if I’m going to be ready to open my first beer on Tuesday.

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