For anyone visiting Oud Beersel during Toer de Geuze on May 4 and 5, 2019, you are in for a treat. There will be a lot to see and do at the venerable lambic brewery/blendery, and a lot of new beers to taste. Brews on offer will include Oude Geuze Mega Blend 2019, a blend which is only released on the occasion of Toer de Geuze. Oude Geuze Mega Blend is a cooperative effort between most of the lambic producers who are participating in the Toer this year.
Toer de Geuze is an open house held at most of Belgium’s lambic producers during either late April or early May on odd-numbered years. For 2019, these include: Brouwerij Boon: Fonteinstraat 65, 1502 Lembeek; De Oude Geuzestekerij De Cam: Dorpsstraat 67, 1755 Gooik; Brouwerij De Troch: Langestraat 20, 1741 Wambeek; Geuzestekerij Hanssens: Vroenenbosstraat 15/1, 1653 Dworp; Brouwerij Lindemans: Lennikse Baan 1479, 1602 Vlezenbeek; Brouwerij Mort Subite: Lierput 1, 1730 Asse; Oud Beersel: Laarheidestraat 230, 1650 Beersel; Gueuzerie Tilquin: Chaussée Maïeur Habils 110, 1430 Bierghes (Rebecq); Brouwerij Timmermans: Kerkstraat 11, 1701 Itterbeek; and also the visitor center De Lambiek, Gemeenveldstraat 1, 1652 Alsemberg (Beersel). ***Note that De Cam, Hanssens, and Mort Subite will only be open on Sunday 5 May 2019.***
Oude Geuze Mega Blend was first released during Toer de Geuze 2009, so 2019 will mark the 6th vintage of the brew, and all of the blends have been different. I have tasted every vintage when new and also as aged geuzes, and this brew ages very well, as most Oude Geuze blends do. The cost is only 9.5 euros (about $11 US) for a 75 cl bottle. Also available at Oud Beersel will be nearly their entire range of beers, including harder to find brews such as Oude Geuze Vandervelden 135; Oude Geuze Barrel Selection Oude Pijpen; Green Walnut 2017 and 2018; Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek, and the Bzart range of fruit beers and lambics. Also, 3.1 liter bag in box lambics, such as Oude Lambiek, Kriekenlambiek, and Faro, will be available.
“We will release some special beers for Toer de Geuze,” Gert Christiaens, Oud Beersel owner and master blender, told me recently. “One is Oude Geuze Vandervelden 137. It is a unique blend that consists only of three year old Lambics from three foeders formerly used for the maturation of Brunello di Montalcino, one of Italy’s best wines. The complexity of the obtained lambics resulted in a very refined Oude Geuze.”
“We also have Oude Geuze Barrel Selection Foeder 21. During a prolonged maturation of almost four years, the Lambic in Foeder 21 went through a madeirazation process. This Lambic is blended with Lambics of two other foeders, of the same origin, which were all used for maturing white wine in the past. This creates a unique tasting experience.”
In addition to these two brews, there is much more. Gert added: “Visitors will be able to taste our Lambics infused with rose petals, with Earl Grey and with Lapsang Souchong Black Tea, as well as a 3 year old Lambic and 5 collaboration beers with breweries such as Lervig, New Belgium, Pinta, De Leite, Yakka & Cierzo and a beer cocktail from Dorst.be.”
For a detailed look at Oud Beersel and their recent past and future plans, see this article.
I have good news for anyone traveling to Belgium for Toer de Geuze this year, and that may want to buy and ship special lambic beers to your home: Belgium in a Box, Belgium’s highly regarded on-line web shop and packaging and shipping service, will be present at Brouwerij Oud Beersel in Beersel. So you can purchase beers on site and leave them with Oud Beersel for packaging and shipping to your home.
Oud Beersel also has glassware, clothing, and many other items on offer, and Belgium in a Box can ship any of your purchases to your home.
About the goings on set to happen at Oud Beersel that weekend, Gert Christiaens had more to say: “We will also offer some special tasting sessions with lambics that are not available at the main bar.” More specifically, he added: “We will offer a unique tasting of exclusive lambics that are not commercially available. These sessions will be organized for the first time during Toer de Geuze 2019.
SESSIONS IN ENGLISH
Saturday 4 May: MIDDAY; 2PM; 4PM
Sunday 5 May: 11AM; 1PM; 3PM
EXCLUSIVE LAMBICS SESSIONS
Every hour a guided blending tasting session will be given in the Brouwershuis (Brewer’s house at the entrance of Oud Beersel). Participants will receive 5 cl of 6 exclusive Lambics that are not commercially available, among others Lambic that maturated of Port, Madeira and Port Wood Whisky barrels. The sessions last 30 to 40 minutes and are limited to 20 participants per session.
You will acquire a deeper understanding of the influence of the selected wooden barrel on Lambic and taste Lambics with a unique touch. Are you looking for a unique Lambic experience during Toer de Geuze? Don’t hesitate and make sure to reserve your spot now. These Lambics will not be available at the bar during Toer de Geuze.”
Gert has had valuable help since early 2007 from a group called “De Geuzen van Oud Beersel” a non-profit organization of beer lovers that seek to help educate consumers of lambic, as well as to help promote and protect Oud Beersel’s heritage and lambic itself. This group has been giving guided tours of the brewery for many years, and also organizes lambic blending workshops. They will be helping organize and run the special tastings listed above during Toer de Geuze.
Visits of the Oud Beersel facility, including its barrel rooms, old brewery, and garden of Schaerbeekse cherry trees will be possible during both Saturday, May 4, and Sunday May 5th. There will be food on offer as well.
Gert added: “The music group TRAM 58 will do a special performance at Oud Beersel on Saturday 4 May between 2PM and 5PM, including 2 songs specially written for Oud Beersel.” See the Tram 58 website here.
As far as buying beers to have shipped home, Belgium in a Box has a solid reputation as an honest and reliable seller and shipper in the beer world.
When you purchase bottles from places such as Oud Beersel and have Belgium in a Box package and ship your beers to your home, BIAB charges the following packaging fees: For a 10 kg box: 20 euros; 15 kg : 27.5 euros; 20 kg : 30 euros; 25 kg : 37.5 euros; and for a 30 kg : 50 euros. BIAB does not charge any sort of “proxy fee” just for picking up your bottles, only for packaging and shipping. The most cost effective way (per bottle) to ship is to fill a full 30 kilogram box. That equals about 18 bottles in the 75 cl size, or around 33 in the 37.5 cl size, or some combination thereof. Shipping costs vary depending on destination. See the Belgium in a Box website for details or send a mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is more from Belgiuminabox and Kurt about their shipping services: “Together with the customer, BIAB is always trying to optimize the weight of the shipment to maximize capacity so that the available space and weight is used optimally. This lowers the overall costs of the items shipped to customer’s homes. Also, the package tracking information is mailed as soon as the customer has paid for their purchase, and the bottles are then packed and made ready for shipment. Belgiuminabox provides all necessary communication and feedback to the customer during the process. Communicating with the customer is something that Belgiuminabox finds very important.”
Toer de Geuze 2019 is sure to be a festive, lambic-tasting filled weekend. It should be on every lambic lover’s bucket list. Get there!