Sunday, March 19, 2006


Seen at Zythos

Two weeks have passed since the the beeriest weekend in the Belgian calendar. Friday 3 March 2006 saw the geuze festival at the Pajottenland village of Eizeringen, followed by the Open Brew Day at the Cantillon brewery on Saturday and, of course, the main event, the two-day Zythos Bierfestival.

The latter is an annual event, organised by Belgium's beer consumer organisation Zythos, and definitely not one to be missed by any craft beer lover. 62 breweries managed to present 206 beers, available for tasting in 15 cl tasting glasses for 1 euro. As at the Essen Christmas Beer Festival you may well be too late for some novelties if you go for the Sunday session only, but you will probably still have at least 180 (my own very unofficial estimate) quality beers to choose from.

It all takes place in the Stadsfeestzal of the Oostvlaanderen town of Sint-Niklaas, just across from its train station. There are good connections to all major Belgian cities- the city named after Santa Claus is situated midway between Antwerpen and Gent. It certainly feels like Christmas Eve for a beer enthusiast to be there!

Beer enthusiastiasts from all over the world now make their annual pilgrimage to Sint Niklaas. Even legendary beer writer Michael Jackson, who have been sharing his writing gifts like a Santa Claus of the Beer World before fermentation started of this beer tourist, was there. He has just released a new edition of his great Great Beers of Belgium book, which he signed at the festival (as you can see he did not mind signing the festival leaflet either- some of us had already bought the book).

This festival certainly proved that there is plenty of writing material on the Belgian beer scene- and you will find it in its best condition in Michael Jackson's books.

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