On November 25-26 (yep, that’s Thanksgiving weekend for us stateside beer lovers) De Lambikstoempers, Belgium’s premier lambic beer appreciation and promotion club, will host the “Weekend van Oude Geuze” in the market town of Halle, ten miles south of Brussels. The “Weekend of Old Geuze” will take place at the Streekproducten Centrum, in Halle, which is a store that stocks many of the great products crafted in the Province of Flemish Brabant. Known as “Vlaamse Brabant” in Flemish, this province is home to most of Belgium’s lambic producers, as well as many other great breweries.
“Streekproducten Centrum” means “Regional Products Center.” There are several of these centers in Flemish Brabant, a province which surrounds the city of Brussels on several sides. The Streekproducten Centrum, located at Poststraat 3A in Halle, attempts to stock most of the regularly available lambic beers, as well as other beers from Vlaamse Brabant, and prices are very reasonable. There are also wines, jenevers, chocolates (even some filled with beer or liquor inside!) as well as jams and preserves. Of special interest are the delicious jams and preserves from Wildiers in Tildonk, near Haacht. Wildiers produces wonderful jams made with 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek. You really can taste the geuze and kriek in these preserves! They are available at the Streekproducten Centrum, at 3 Fonteinen’s lambik-o-droom, and other retailers in Belgium, and on-line at Belgiuminabox, which will ship internationally. BIAB, as it is often known, usually has a big selection of lambics and many other Belgian beers, as well as other gourmet products, on offer. This includes glassware, brewery memorabilia, chocolate, cheese & patés. Also, you can buy beer at 3 Fonteinen’s lambik-o-droom shop and leave it there, and have Belgiuminabox package and ship the beers home for you. Also, if you are in Belgium and have beers that you have obtained during your trip (from any brewery) and want to have the beers shipped home for you, you can take your brews to the BIAB shop in Antwerp, and they can take care of all the packaging and shipping. The shop is open from 9 am to 6 pm, seven days a week. The address is: Clara Snellingsstraat 76, in Deurne, postal code 2100. This is east of the city and outside of its ring road, about a ten minute drive from Antwerp’s Central train station. You can take a taxi to the shop if you do not have a car. BIAB owner Kurt Verbiest has even been known to pick up customers at Central Station and drive them to the shop and back, if time permits. The shop’s telephone number is 32 479 419 679. If you are calling from a Belgian phone, make that 0479 419 679.
The Weekend of Oude Geuze will take place in an event hall above the Streekproducten Centrum, from 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday 25th November, and from 2 pm to 6 pm on Sunday the 26th. As to the beer list, Kristof Verhasselt, who is the social media manager of De Lambikstoempers, and also the editor of its newsletter, told me recently: “We try to serve at least all of the normal range of Oude Geuze and Oude Kriek beers from all of the lambic blenders and brewers. That’s our minimum. That means we plan to have these beers from Boon, Cantillon, De Cam, 3 Fonteinen, Girardin, Hanssens, Lindemans, Mort Subite, Oud Beersel, Tilquin, Timmermans, and De Troch. Also, here are some additional special beers for our 2017 event: Cuvée Lambikstoemper 2014; Boon Black Label batch 1, 2, and 3; Boon Oude Geuze VAT 91, 92, 108, 109 and 110; Oude Geuzestekerij De Cam Wilde Bosbessen, Tros-Bessen and Nectarine Lambiek; HORAL Megablend 2013, 2015 and 2017; Lindemans SpontanBasil, BlossomGueuze, and GingerGueuze; Oud Beersel Green Walnut 2016, Oude Geuze Vandervelde 135, and Schaarbeekse Oude Kriek; Tilquin Oude Quetsche; and the new Brett-Elle Oude Geuze.”
What a great beer list! Also, you read the last beer name correctly. There is a new lambic producer in Belgium! It’s called Lambiek Fabriek and it is based in Ruisbroek, not far from the Brussels Ring Road, and St-Pieters-Leeuw. “Lambic Factory” was founded by Jozef Van Bosstraeten, Jo Panneels, and Stijn Ecker. The wort is brewed at Brouwerij Belgoo in St-Pieters-Leeuw, and the barrel aging takes place in Ruisbroek. For full details, see here
About the Weekend of Oude Geuze, Verhasselt added: “At 3 pm on Sunday the 26th, we will make the award of ‘De Gouden Lambikstoemper’ which we do every year. The ‘Golden Lambikstoemper’ is an award made annually to what we feel has been the top lambic beer cafe or restaurant for the year.”
Here is more on the selection process, from the leadership team of De Lambikstoempers: “Based on an impressive list of cafés, and using various criteria that were drawn up after many hours of negotiations, and after anonymous visits to the cafes and restaurants that are the candidates for the award, we annually reach out to present our Golden Lambikstoemper award to a business that promotes the many lambic beers (Oude Geuze, Oude Kriek, faro, lambic and so on) and that puts them in the spotlight in a positive way.”
In 2016, the excellent ‘t Parlement cafe in Halle won the award. “The Parliament” has a solid selection of lambic beers, and 100 different Belgian beers overall, as well as a big range of single malt whiskey. ‘t Parlement is run by beer and whisky lovers Frank and Mina.
Access to the event: several trains an hour run from Brussels three main train stations (North/Nord; Central; and Midi/Zuid/South) directly to Halle Station, about ten miles south. It is a ten minute walk from the train station to the Streekproducten Centrum. See the map below for details.
The Weekend of Oude Geuze in Halle is sure to be a superb event. Get there!
*****Please continue to the next page to read about The Day of the Lambic!*****