Like Lew Bryson, with whom I toured some of Montréal’s better beer destinations last Thursday, I’m a bit overrun with actual paying work right now, and so will get to my notes on the wonderful and wonderfully successful Mondial de la Bière later on. But here’s a quick taste in advance:
The cask-conditioned Post-Colonial IPA from Hopfenstark is a wonderful ale, one of the top two or three IPAs in the country, by my reckoning, and so something to definitely watch out for. I understand that as the day and a half the cask survived wore on, the beer got a little too warm and so generated some less than completely enthusiastic reviews, but when I had the pleasure, it was tasting pretty damn good!
Now, about that book. I’m hardly impartial in my approach to it, since I both like Tim Webb as a friend and colleague and have an essay contribution on pages 8 and 9 of the book, but the new Good Beer Guide to Belgium is something everyone who ever intends to set foot in Belgium should have. Period.
Tim has improved the guide over previous editions by bulking up the substance without skimping a bit on the content. How he did this by adding a mere 13 extra pages is anyone’s guess, but there you have it: More interesting opinion up front; all the useful travel tidbits of volumes past; an impressive attempt to explain the unexplainable, which is to say Belgian beer styles; an exhaustive catalogue of breweries and their beers; and what you buy the book for, namely a great listing of the best of Belgium’s many, many cafés. Oh yes, and for the uninitiated, there’s even a section that explains in brief the typical Belgian menu.
Tim still doesn’t fully understand the beauty of the Bosteels beer, DeuS, but at least now he admits it “may yet become a classic.” And anyway, that’s one of his rare missteps.