Famous Belgians -
forget Poirot and TinTin, these are the IMPORTANT people!
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
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,
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
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.
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
is the Belgian equivalent of
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
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
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
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
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!