Useful Belgian Links

 Famous Belgians - forget Poirot and TinTin, these are the IMPORTANT people!

One of the greatest ambassadors for Belgian beer is Filip Geerts (aka Trappist), a man who has apparently discovered several crucial secrets:

  • how to be in more than one place at once, so that he can attend every major festival and tasting in Belgium

  • how to juggle a beer glass in one hand and a camera in the other, so that he can record these events

  • how to find more than 24 hours in every day, so that he can find time to produce extensive reports and participate in web discussion groups

If you think I'm exaggerating check out the following pages which he maintains:

Belgian Beer Board - it's in English, so register (free) as a member, then bookmark it as the starting point for all your Belgian beer research.

While you're there be sure to check out all the sub-sections, especially the brilliant Belgian Beer Pub Map, and the Brewery List, the Picture Reports,  the Calendar of Events (so that you can time your next trip appropriately), and of course check out all the Forum pages to find out what's happening right now in the land of the world's greatest beers.

Find out more about Filip on his Home Page.  He is also behind the Belgian Beer Card, a scheme for promoting Belgian Speciality Beers in a most delightful way.  Just visit the website, print out the card, then when you visit the participating bars you get special treatment, such as a free beer.

Join (free) the Belgian Beer Discussion Group - the digests of messages are a useful way to get the latest news delivered to your mailbox.

We managed to catch up with Filip at the Poperinge Beer Festival at the Palace Hotel in October 2006.  Click here for Filip's photo-report on the Festival.

ZYTHOS is the Belgian equivalent of CAMRA in the UK.  It is an umbrella body which concerns itself with national campaigns and policy.  The main day-to-day activities are conducted by its regional groups.  So you don't join Zythos - you become a member of a regional group, and as such are automatically a member of Zythos.

Our first contact with organised Belgian beer enthusiasts was the group from Wevelgem, near Kortrijk, whose inspired motto of  Heerlijk Objektief Proeven (splendidly objective tasting) gives the group its apposite acronym H.O.P.  It's possible to be an overseas member of this group, and thereby a member of Zythos.  As such you get copies of the magazine, De Zytholoog, which gives extensive information about the Belgian brewing scene.  It's written in Dutch, but not too difficult to follow, and is always well illustrated.

Through HOP we were privileged to meet William Roelens, the enthusiastic and energetic producer of the
HOP website.  This contains a wealth of useful information and is always attractively presented with lots of illustrations.  William also produces the frequent e-newsletter for HOP, which was established in 1994.  The website contains a database of new Belgian beers from 1999 to date - have a look, you'll be astonished!




The picture on the left shows William in the centre, with Jan Vandenberghe and Veerle Bal, also very important people in the world of Belgian beer.  As well as being active members of HOP, they also run a small brewery Lupiline, clearly believing in practising what they preach.






They are pictured at the beginning of HOP's 2005 Karakterbierweekend.  This Festival, held in June each year, is one of the nicest local festivals you can attend. 



We were made very welcome and thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  The picture on the right shows William with Jeannette and her mother Wynne, who has acquired a taste for Belgian beers and incidentally managed to win some of the best prizes in the tombola!


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