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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Beer Appreciation Week#5

Five classes down, one to go before the end of the course. Week five looked promising on paper as it was Trappist/Belgium week and it lived up to that promise.
There is something about Belgian beers that make your mouth water before even having a taste, well at least it happens to me. It's probably because they are rated so highly throughout the world and are crafted with the up most quality standards.

Ron Keefe, owner and brew master of the Granite Brewery, also the instructor, started the class out with a small history lesson on Belgium and their brewing heritage. For a population of 10,318,000, the Belgians have over 150 breweries brewing every style imaginable and can boast about their more than 60,000 pubs, cafes, and taverns. I am already thinking about moving there, but my liver is begging me not to.

We watched two Beer Hunter videos which I have come to adore. I want to get my hands on some episodes. Jackson (beer hunter) visited some monasteries and spoke with Trappist monks brewing their excellent ales. During the video, Keefe poured some delicious Chimay Red for us to taste and it matched the video nicely. There is a beer for every occasion and when your watching Jackson talk to monks brewing Chimay, it just seems fitting to have one as well.

We talked about how beer is a social lubricant in Belgium, part of their everyday life. They use beer in cooking, they pair certain meals with a certain beer and they worship the gods of brewing. Here in Canada, some would judge us quickly for using a bottle of beer for soup and then drinking a different beer while eating that soup. In Belgium it is almost customary to have different beer with each different plate. They taught the world that the two go together so much better than food and wine and Jackson was their main spokesperson.

It was a interesting class learning about the history of this great brewing nation. I can only hope that I get there to visit one day. We tried some Duvel, Mort Subite Framboise Lambic, Leffe Brune, Rochefort 10, Chimay White, Affligem Blond, and Unibroue La Fin Du Monde. All exceptional beers, but my favourite was Rochefort 10. A beautiful beer with hints of prune, raisin and smell of alcohol. A great winter warmer. So who's ever reading this, if you don't know what to get me for Christmas; one plane ticket to Belgium.

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