This project began over a year ago when international bar franchise, Belgian BeerCafé started to open cafés in the U.S. I brazenly suggested that they launch their own “in café” magazine and let me produce it. Initially they seemed interested, then less interested and then they told me that I should get back to them in six months.
So in a fit of “I’m going to show them” bravado I decided to go ahead with it myself, this time as an independent venture.
Here it is: what I hope is a luxurious, stylishly designed quarterly publication, like a fine food and wine magazine, except for Belgian beer. The primary aim: to convince people that Belgian beer is a high-end product by writing about its quality and heritage.
I have found inspiration in unlikely places. Visiting a few bars around the world I realized that drinking Belgian beer abroad can be a little surreal. In St. Petersburg I watched a guy drink six trappist beers in under an hour – impressive, yes, but not the best way to appreciate an artisanal product.
So why not raise awareness about the dedication that goes into brewing Belgian beer. Then people would be more likely to appreciate and enjoy it. And they wouldn’t drink as fast.
One of the nice things about living in Belgium – I’ve lived here for eight years – is that you’ll rarely see a native gulping down suds. Most Belgians know that beer needs to be presented and served with care; they also know that beer can be smelled, sipped, tasted and talked about.
It’s a refreshing attitude, so with a team of journalists, Rob our photographer and a few designers, we’re trying to convey it in a printed magazine. We’re then sending the magazine to bars around the world and placing it on all Brussels Airlines flights coming into Belgium.
We also shed light on Belgian breweries, their culture and their heritage. Here our policy is to listen to the brewers, put their words together, tone down the inevitable exaggerations and embellishments and hopefully produce good, honest stories.
Stories that are best told in print.
Not that I’ve got anything against the internet, which makes it easier than ever to discover new beers and beer styles.
But learning about beer isn’t just about keeping pace with the latest trends; knowing the brewing traditions of the past is important, too. And here print provides the perfect medium, allowing people to sit down and give a worthy subject its due.
As the name suggests Belgian Beer & Food is about food, about Belgium, but mainly about beer. There are articles on beer and chocolate, beer and travel, beer and Brussels, even beer and politics.
It’s taken us a year to get the magazine off the ground, so it’s young by the standards of some Belgian beers. But thanks to knowledgeable Belgians who have shared their expertise with us, it offers a window into a small country’s beer culture.
Publisher and Editor in Chief