People often ask me, “what’s your favourite beer?” My response is usually along the lines of, “that’s hard to say, because it really depends on the situation, the time of year, the occasion etc. But I can tell you that the best beer I’ve ever had is the Westvleteren 12, a Belgian beer brewed by monks, but it’s so rare and complex that it’s not something I drink very often.”
About a month after I had put the airlock on my jug of rhubarb wine, what was once a furious bubble had become less than one bubble per 3 minutes. I took that as a sign that the bottling stage was not far away.
One week ago, the Belgian football club KAA Gent, or La Gantoise, became Belgian league champions for the first time in their history after 115 years of trying! Having lived in Gent for eleven months, I became a supporter of the team and have followed them ever since. I freely admit to experiencing one or two tears of joy as I watched the jubilant scenes unfold before me when I snuck away from work to stream the game online, and that night I persuaded (not that it was difficult) my parents to join me in some celebratory Belgian beers.
Corsendonk is one of the many defunct abbeys in Belgium that licenses out their name to a local brewery. My first experience with Corsendonk ended rather badly, when I consumed eight plastic cups of their blonde ale at a party somewhere in Antwerp province, Belgium, and then gave it all away to the toilet in my friend Simon’s grandmother’s house in ‘s-Gravenwezel. At the time, I thought it an odd place for a serious weasel, but upon reflection, I realize that I was very drunk the only time I ever visited ‘s-Gravenwezel… Oh well, on to the next Corsendonk beer!
After two months of tree planting I am once again in the position to post somewhat regular blog updates. Like many people, I have been watching as much of the FIFA World Cup as I possibly can, and along with my blood allegiance to England, I took a fancy to Belgium’s team this year. Alas neither team is still with us, but for one brief afternoon Belgium helped me to a wonderful level of intoxicated bliss. That’s right; during Belgium’s Round of 16 battle with the United States I decided to drink Belgian beer until they lost, or if they won, until it was no longer a good idea. At the beginning of the match I poured myself a Rochefort 8. This delicious beer is one of the finest ales on earth, brewed by Trappist monks and extremely complex. I really ought to write a post about Trappist ales sometime, but suffice it to say for now that every Trappist is worth tasting. As they say in Belgium, “a Trappist a day keeps the doctor away!”