This thought comes to mind when over Labor Day I shared with my brothers-in-law at a family gathering a nice assortment of Belgian beers.
We started out with some Bavik Pils
, a Belgian Family Brewer. This is what a pils should be. It can make a great session beer. We had a guest in at Westland who was drinking Bud Light in the bottle. Jeff encouraged him to try a Bavik. He did a double-take as a smile lept across his face. He turned the bottle in his hand to scrutinize the label and said "Wow!". He didn't know what he didn't know and that the macro brewers like InBev, owner of Budweiser, don't want you to find out if they can help it. The guest proceeded to go through all the Bavik we had in (its now in on draft so we're less likely to run out.)
We then went on to some of the abbey beers from Van Eecke brewery
, located in the heart of Belgium's hops growing region. This included their Blonde
. This worked through single malt to two types of triples (i.e., three times the quantity of malt is used in the brewing process.) Bières d'Abbaye
designation indicate beers brewed under license to an existing or abandoned abbey and are exclusive to Belgium.
We finished up quite comfortably with some of the best beers from Van Steenberge Piraat
(Belgian for pirate - a strong golden ale with twice the amount of hops used in regular Belgian beer) and Gulden Drak
(literally "golden dragon" named for the gold sculpture atop their home town of Ghent 's belfry.) We were in good spirits in more ways than one (and boy was I popular that weekend!)
One of my brothers pointed out what a really great value these great beers are. With the doubles and triples you often only have one or two as they are meant to be savored and give you that warm feeling in heart and mind without having to be 'Joe six-pack'. (The macro brewers are more interested in having you consume quantity as that's how they make the most money - regardless of what it does to your waist line.)
I pointed out that many of the Belgian beers are refermented in the bottle and keg. What that means is that the beers are still alive and will maintain their freshness for a long time. These beers don't have to worry about becoming 'skunk' as Budweiser warned about their beers.
One brother who I had previously gifted with a Van Steenberge variety pack told me when he had friends coming in from Canada that he hid the VS beer. He knew they'd want it. He wanted to save it for himself. I understand the sentiment. The real solution though is to have an extra pack or two around.
Great beers make great friends! Go make some great friends today.