Belgian Family Brewers Press Trip, Day One

I was honored to be invited to attend the first ever Belgian Family Brewers Press trip, held from 6 to 10 November. We visited eight breweries, and had presentations and tastings about all 21 brouwerijen and brasseries. Among the 21 are some of the best breweries in Belgium, including several of my favorites.

Xavier Vanneste, President, Belgian Family
Xavier Vanneste, President, Belgian Family Brewers

The Belgian Family Brewers (BFB) was formed in 2007 to help support, protect, and promote the beers and objectives of family brewers in Belgium.

This from the BFB website: “The association’s objective is to promote historic, independent family breweries which bring genuine added value to the identity and authenticity of Belgian brewing methods. This is a worthy cause, since beer brewing is a skilled craft which has been passed down from generation to generation in Belgian families over the centuries. Authentic Belgian beers therefore deserve to be recognised in a way which distinguishes them from other beers.”

For more information about the BFB, see here

Krishan Maudgal, Maudgal INT.
Krishan Maudgal, Maudgal INT.

I was one of 12 journalists from the USA and four beer importers on the whirlwind trip, which was largely developed, organized and expertly led my Krishan Maudgal of Maudgal INT. I first met Krishan when he was working at Brouwerij Affligem in May 2008, and he is an enthusiastic, very knowledgeable beer connoisseur. As well, his sales and marketing experience, people skills, and personal contacts in the Belgian Beer world made him an ideal choice for the BFB to organize and lead their first press tour.

Yes, I did say first. The BFB is considering having journalists over from other countries in the future as well.

Here is a look at day one of the very busy trip, Wednesday, 6 November.

We met at Brouwerij Het Anker and had a briefing and opening remarks from BFB President Xavier Vanneste and Krishan Maudgal, followed by a short meet and greet with members of the Belgian press. From there, we headed off to Brouwerij Bosteels in Buggenhot, where we were greeted by father and son Antoine and Ivo Bosteels. We had lunch in their family manor house, which dates to 1843. Antoine is the seventh generation owner.

Ivo Bosteels pouring a DEUS Brut beer.
Ivo Bosteels pouring a DEUS Brut beer.

The “light” lunch consisted of a fine buffet and dessert. We were first presented with the DEUS Brut beer, made in the “Méthode Champenoise.” We also tasted the Kwak and Tripel Karmeliet. Ivo regaled us with stories of the brewery while we enjoyed the fine, meal, which wasn’t light by any means. I mean that as compliment.

Antoine Bosteels (center) and Ivo Bosteels (right) giving a toast.
Antoine Bosteels (center) and Ivo Bosteels (right) giving a toast.
Nicholas Soenen, Beer Ambassador and Sommelier, begins presentations at Duvel.
Nicolas Soenen, Duvel-Moortgat Beer Ambassador and Sommelier, begins presentations at Duvel.

The bus then took us to Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat in Breendonk, where we experienced presentations about several of the BFB breweries. We then were treated to a beer and cheese tasting which was hosted by Nicolas Soenen, Duvel-Moortgat’s Beer Ambassador, who is a trained Beer Sommelier in Belgium. It was covered by VRT television, with a viewership of one million, as well as Radio 2, with the same listenership. You can see the TV clip here

and the radio clip:

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