Saturday, December 31, 2005


Hoppy New Year!

It is the big night again! It is time to celebrate the coming of a new year with the best drinks and the best guests available.

For this New Year's Eve I have teamed up with Bush Prestige. No, it is not Republicans Abroad that are my guests- 2005 may have seen much of the Prestige disappearing from the presidential team, anyway.

And the Bush part is not supposed to be associated with anything American at all. To the extent that Bush is renamed Scaldis (the name is derived from the river Schelde, which flows from Northern France into Belgium passing by the cities of Tournai (where it is called Escaut), Gent and Antwerpen on its way to the North Sea) for the American market. One giant adjunct-lager producer with a similar-sounding name seems to be afraid that people would confuse their mass-produced beer with the craft brews from the Belgian brewer Dubuisson, based in Pipaix near Tournai. Or maybe it is the comparison they fear?

Supposedly only available at the brewery's tasting café and its two brew-pubs in Mons and Louvain-la-Neuve, but in all honesty I picked up my two bottles at a well-stocked Delhaize supermarket branch in Antwerpen for the price of 14 Euro each.

The Prestige is "the ordinary" Bush Ambrée aged in oak-barrels (an old method turned the latest fad in Belgian brewing) for 5 months, and it is stronger than your ordinary New Year's Eve champagne with its 13% alcohol, warming nicely on a cold night. With its complex vanilla, nutty and port flavours and a decent hoppiness it might be rather more inspiring as well.

My wish for the coming year is also to develop complexity and depth, but without spending time inside a wooden container. Santé!

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