I’m just returned from Belgium and not one, but two beer festivals, plus a tasting at a great cafe in the countryside surrounding Brussels. My health lasted just long enough to get me through the lot, breaking down utterly moments before my flight yesterday. Now I have 24 hours to get healthy again so as to present a seminar on crafting a beer menu with my friedn and colleague Lew Bryson at the Nightclub and Bar Show in Las Vegas. Yep, this beer writing stuff is non-stop glamour.
In the meantime, however, I’ve something to get off my chest, and it’s about all this “Belgian style” stuff going on in the United States these days. Simply, it don’t exist! Period. “Belgian style,” or even “Belgo-American style” is a complete fallacy. I tasted a great number of Belgian beers over the past few days, from lambics to session ales to Trappists to over-spiced disasters, and you know what? They had pretty much nothing in common save for the word “Belgium” on the label.
Tomme Arthur from Port Brewing/Lost Abbey wrote a column in the latest Ale Street News about his refusal to say “Belgian style” and preference for “Belgian inspired,” which pretty much echoes my feelings of the past several years. He’s right. It’s time to consign “Belgian style” to the dustbin of misused and abused beer terms. The Belgian brewers who are producing gorgeous beers with massive amounts of character and unique appeal deserve as much.