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Towering inferno

The beer community pulled together in support of Hof Ten Dormaal after a fire gutted much of the brewery’s infrastructure. Breandán Kearney reports on the salvage operation almost a year on, including a festival dedicated to innovation in beer   On 6 January this year, fire destroyed the roof of the Hof Ten Dormaal brewery in Tildonk, Flemish Brabant. The entire bottling line, conditioning rooms and most of the stock were burnt to the ground. “My brother-in-law was getting up early to go to work in Brussels and he noticed it,” says brewer Jef Janssens. I heard some rubble falling…

Not in the yeast

Focusing on the yeast misses the point of Belgian-style beers, says Pete Brown Ask a craft brewerin America or Britain what the defining characteristic of Belgian beer is, and they’ll likely tell you that it’s all about the yeast. When brewers tire of creating hop bombs, they invariably turn to ‘Belgian-style’ beers, and start to explore the flavour potential of yeast. “When I think about my yeast,” says Yvan de Baets, brewer at Brasserie de la Senne and authority on the role of yeast in Belgian brewing, “I don’t regard it as an ingredient, I regard her as one of the…

Whiteout

Belgian wheat beers are awaiting their renaissance, but as Joe Stange discovers, they’re not dead yet Whatever happened to witbier, anyway? Oh, don’t get me wrong, your typical blanche is still there if you need it. It’s in most Belgian cafes, served in that thick tumbler, useful on a warm terrace, glowing pale yellow when lit by the sun. It’s on supermarket shelves, reliably spiced by a couple of corporate behemoths and imitated by those successful family enterprises that brew the classics. It’s even there when you travel abroad, on bodega shelves in Brazil or upmarket bars in China. But in…

Yes we kanji

Anyone for lambic flavoured with Japanese plum? Aaron Goldfarbdiscovers the Brussels brewery bringing striking new flavours to a traditional brew   AtDélices& Caprices, Pierre Zuber’s beer shop in the centre of Brussels, something stands out among the familiar saisons and trappist ales: three bottles, their necks covered in delicate tissue, with washi-paper labels depicting Japanese artwork and kanjicharacters. Délices& Caprices, of course, doesn’t sell sake; these are beers. But who makes them? As is often the case, Pierre has the answer. Leo Imai is the man behind these beers and he’s from Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city after Tokyo and…

Hot to trot

Feeling like a little horse? Alan Hope knows just the place   In 2014, a scandal erupted when it was found that certain supermarket ready-meals like lasagne had been “adulterated” with horsemeat instead of the beef everyone was expecting. The scandal assumed Europe-wide proportions. While the problem, it seemed, was one of labelling rather than of noxious content, some of us were reminded that there’s a place in Vilvoorde, near Brussels, where people actually queue down the street to be allowed to come in and eat horsemeat. It’s called Restaurant De Kuiper, and you should, if you get the chance,…