My next day in Brussels, Tuesday 3 October, I took advantage of our friends’ lovely backyard by installing myself with two grocery store bought beers. The cats then did their part by installing themselves on wall and lawn respectively.
If you read my British Beer Bottles post, you would know that I have been cleaning out my room. While in that post I disposed of several bottles that I had never even sampled, this time around I have managed to get rid of several bottles that I did personally consume, some of them even for this blog.
Happy New Year to all my readers! Normally WordPress offers up a pre-made annual report, but this year they either didn’t do that, or I failed to encounter the pertinent notification of offer. No matter the truth, this has given me the opportunity to craft my very own 2016 in Review!
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.”
I might have missed the boat on posting this review, since I don’t think this beer can be found for sale anymore, but on the off chance that someone has a hidden stash and they’re curious what it tasted like in August 2015, read on!
Ever since I returned from Belgium, we have periodically hosted Belgian beer drinking events at our home, each one known as a Stamhuis. I came up with the name by taking the Belgian term “Stamcafe,” which is a way of referring to one’s local pub, and then replacing “cafe” with “huis,” the Dutch word for house. We originally hosted several “tasting Stamhuizen” with friends who were interested in expanding their knowledge of Belgian beer. A typical tasting session involves 4 people each trying 1/4 of 8 different Belgian beers from 7 or 8 different styles. After several of these tasting events, we were able to invite people over for a”drinking Stamhuis,” where instead of having people taste specific beers, we would simply hang out and drink any Belgian beer we felt like. At every Stamhuis we use my extensive collection of glasses, serving trays, coasters etc. to create a temporary Belgian beer cafe inside the house. Stamhuis 20 was a combination of a tasting and a drinking event, with several certified tasters and 4 new recruits in attendance. Other than a bottle of Westvleteren 12 being shared between 10 people (silly I know!) the highlight of the night for me was trying the Fantôme Saison for the first time!