I recently spent an evening at the Devil’s Advocate in Edinburgh, chatting over a few of my favourite Belgian beers with a small group of food and drink writers. Heverlee is obviously my favourite – but it would be foolish to stick to one pint in Belgium, the beer capital of the world!

Whatever the occasion, Belgium has a beer for it. An introduction to all 2,000 of Belgium’s beer varieties would be impossible in just one night, but there was just enough time to sample a selection of the best (over some food, of course – the Devil’s Advocate’s cheeseboard was very welcome to the table). The group’s response to a taste test was resoundingly positive, but also varied, with some people preferring sweet, fruit infused beers and others being pleasantly surprised by unexpected flavours, a hint of coriander here…a touch of cardamom there.

So what were my top beer tasting recommendations? Alongside Heverlee, if you want to tap into Belgium’s beer heritage it’s important to try a range of different varieties - from the past, present and future of Belgian brewing. A hard job, but someone’s got to do it!

I happily took the group through everything from a summery Lambic beer to lesser known Belgian IPAs, ending with a refreshing pint of Heverlee. A night of Belgian perfection and brilliant company, summed up in some of the online summaries which followed:

Scrumptious Scran: "Chatting with Joris, it became clear how emphatic he is that beers should not pose as being authentically Belgian when they are in fact brewed elsewhere. That is why, even though available on draft in Scotland, his beer will continue to brewed in Leuven, using a malt and maize mash and Saaz – the world’s most expensive variety of hop."

The Herald: "Heverlee is a proper lager, cold fermented for three weeks by a Belgian brewery, and inspired by the local Augustinian abbey which once produced such a beer. So popular was it, the brewers' guild in nearby Leuven forced the monks to stop in the 16th century, and they haven't brewed since. In its reincarnated form, it was launched in Scotland last September."

5pm Blog: "Heverlee is Joris’ baby through and through and his beer is derived from a recipe that was originally used by medieval monks at the Abbey of the order of Premontre, just outside Joris’ hometown of Leuven."

JORIS

Posted by Joris