Belgium "New: try a coffee beer"

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Dennoman, Oct 28, 2012.

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  1. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    This article, which appeared in the Thursday online edition of one of Belgium's most well-read newspapers, is a great example on what I call the steep decline in Belgian beer culture. Though I know that Belgium still houses some of the best beers in the world and I won't deny that fact, you'll be hard pressed to go beyond traditional geuzes, lambics and trappist ales and see some beer innovation find its way into mainstream media.

    For those of you who don't speak Dutch, the article basically tells of two brothers - one a brewer and one a coffee roaster - that have collaborated to bring us "Belgium's first coffee beer". This as in: the first beer brewed with actual coffee rather than just using roasted malts for the coffee aroma. That's your first fictional statement right there, as most of us have probably tasted Struise's Mocha Bomb, which for me still holds up as arguably the best coffee stout in the world.

    Adding to the lie of this being a first for Belgium, it also states that only America has a tradition in coffee beers, with roughly "a dozen" supposedly released in the US. This is mind-bogglingly inaccurate, as there are obviously hundreds upon thousands of coffee-infused beers available in both the States and all over Europe, primarily the Netherlands and Scandinavia.

    Reader replies on the article clearly consist of people that have never touched a beer beyond Stella and Jupiler, including such poetic words as "ew" and "yeah, I'll just pour a shot of espresso in my beer". One reader came a bit closer to the truth, but was still hilariously far off by writing "what about Guinness then?!"

    This seems to be the general problem with Belgians and our approach to beer. We have been indoctrinated from a very young age that our country has the best beer in the world, and most people that don't go beyond the call of duty simply agree without question. They only drink Stella and Jupiler or maybe the occasional Leffe (!!!) and refuse to believe there's anything out there in foreign territory, or even refuse to try some innovative beer styles from their own country. Because yeah, Heaven forbid that your beer would actually have some flavor to it.

    After tasting some of the gems our beer culture has to offer, I have significantly mellowed down in my rants regarding the decline of Belgian beer culture, but I do wish people would look beyond what they were taught as children. I've officially given up on letting people try exciting new stuff, just so they can enjoy their umpteenth blond triple by their regional small brewery. I do hope that some day there will be room for more innovation in Belgium (and yes, Struise and Dolle have been doing a good job, so it has been steadily improving), but until that day I wish that journalists would grow some work ethic and do at least the tiniest bit of research before making bold claims in newspaper headlines.

    tl;dr: This article is shit.
  2. JorisP

    JorisP Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2002 Belgium

    Yours isn't anyway. And in all truth: it's what I've been writing since the beginning of OBP, the forerunner of Zythos (though I admit that you're expressing it more concise, congrats). Until the last 2 years, I've been laughed at...
  3. Morningstorm

    Morningstorm Initiate (0) Jun 29, 2011 Netherlands

    I was laughing so hard when I read the article. The statement of "around 10 coffee beers are released in the US" is what got me, simply mindboggling. If the reporter just did 5 minute google search, he would come across so many beers that used the same method, including beers from Holland and Scandinavia.
  4. tendermorsel

    tendermorsel Initiate (0) Oct 22, 2006 Massachusetts

    That article does suck don't get me wrong but ignorance about craft beer is not happening only in Belgium. There are plenty of dumbed down articles here in the states that cater to the Bud/Coors/Miller drinkers here stateside. The complete lack of research and innacuracy is bothersome though.
  5. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    I have to say I'm rather honored, that coming from you JP :grinning: I can see from your ratings that our tastes tend to differ, but our philosophy towards foreign beer is very similar. There's a lot of blind chauvinism here, which is a shame.
  6. SStein

    SStein Zealot (509) Dec 26, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    As an American currently living in Belgium it amazes me to see so many Belgiums pick up Juliper ro Stella blindly. I am used to people just buying status quo beers in America, but I think I had some romaticized view that it would be different here. I have tried to make it a point to try as many different styles from as many different breweries as possible during the time I will spend here in Belgium.
  7. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,743) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    I'd give my left arm for a bottle of Mocha Bomb, I <3 Struise
  8. Brabander

    Brabander Initiate (0) Oct 10, 2009 Netherlands

    Send me your arm!

    CStrife187 and beerpirates like this.
  9. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,743) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    I'd need your address mate, and something to lop it off with! Think i've got a chopping maul in the shed...
    Brabander likes this.
  10. RendoMike

    RendoMike Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    Great post Dennoman! Didn't read the article, but I think I got it. See the same type of thing everywhere. I'm dumbfounded when I'm in a pub with multiple cask ales and most people are asking for a Coors Light or Stella.

    With regards to journalists, with the advance of the internet, they are a dime a dozen. Every day, it takes little effort to find multiple articles on one thing or another written by writers who know nothing about the subject with the willing sheep reading away without question. Beer-related, you can find a ton of these when it comes to the release of Westvleteren in the states recently.
  11. RendoMike

    RendoMike Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    Not meaning to thread hijack, but is Mocha Bomb still easily obtainable?
  12. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,743) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    That's very true about the uninformed beer writers. We had it in the UK on BBC1 no less, (the main tv channel). A seemingly feminist "beer historian" claiming beer was invented in England in the middle ages by groups of women brewers. Though I have also noticed prominent beer writers not exactly getting stuff wrong, but twisting facts to suit the point they're making. It's almost as if there are no professional historians who write about beer and no beer lovers who know how examine history to a professional standard, meaning the only thing available is amateurish "histories".
  13. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    Nope. Sold out many moons ago and I'm clinging to my last bottles like shit to velcro, hope it'll make it back to shelves.
  14. andrejes

    andrejes Initiate (186) Jun 10, 2011 Netherlands
    Beer Trader

    You must also have a big reserve Struise Beers in the cellar!!! OH Yes!!!!
    I'am lucky to have a few left!!!
  15. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,743) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    Where do you live again...?
  16. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    Down in "beg me like the dog you are and I might hand some to Colin when we meet in March, providing he doesn't drink it before it gets to you". Very nice this time of year.
  17. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,743) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    Does it has street level access? I'm not that great with climbing
  18. MattSweatshirt

    MattSweatshirt Initiate (0) Jun 29, 2011 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Mocha Bomb is the shit.

    I felt the same man. When I was in Antwerp last year the German dudes I was staying with at a hostel were telling me how Jupiler was a really great beer.
  19. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    You'll have to climb the rainpipe, but give me an FYI when you're coming, so I can put the chip oil on the stove in advance.
  20. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    Belgian people are mostly indoctrinated like mindless drones with the dogma that our beer is the best in the world. And yet, most of them grow old and die without every drinking any of the really good shit. Read another article in a magazine we get in the post about Christmas beers. It was a fucking joke. I'll do a different thread for that, it's hilarious to the point of being actually quite sad.
  21. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Poo-Bah (1,743) Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    I have ninja skills, i'd be out of there with all your Struise before you can say Woesten-Vleteren.

    p.s. i'll get some Brains Black to Ruds (plus anything else from Wales you want) for him to give you
  22. SStein

    SStein Zealot (509) Dec 26, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    I think that the phrase Ignorance is bliss is very true. However as someone who enjoy beers I do enjoy being in this great country. I have been able to pick up some wonderful beers and have only lived here for 2 months. I already have began planning to visit many different breweries and pick up some great beers.
  23. Wowcoolman

    Wowcoolman Crusader (799) Sep 25, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Wow. Next thing you know some crazy Belgian will start putting coffee in his chocolate.
  24. CaptainPiret

    CaptainPiret Initiate (157) Oct 5, 2009 Luxembourg
    Beer Trader

    I have three left from the two years I lived in Belgium. It will take three special events to motivate me to open them. I treasure these beers!

    As for the original post, while living in Belgium I wrote a story for an English-language magazine in Brussels about how Belgians don't understand the quality of beer at their disposal. Here's the link. Carlo at De Struise was a very valuable resource for the story.
  25. CStrife187

    CStrife187 Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2011 North Carolina

    As an American currently living in Germany I have to say this really hits home. While I wasn't expecting the enthusiasm for innovation and new things I see in America, I also wasn't expecting almost every bar to only have 1-4 beers on tap and people in grocery stores buying stuff like Beck's. Didn't they see the Schneider Eisbock right there? Did they just pick up the Bitburger that was sitting next to the Weihenstephaner and was almost the same price?

    The only people I've met here so far with a taste for good beer have also been American. At least I have somebody to carpool with to Belgium!
  26. LBIsurf

    LBIsurf Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2009 New Jersey

    I felt the same way when I went to Germany. I don't remember how it was when I went to Aachen and Cologne, but in Berlin I was really surprised by the amount of shitty beer. Hell, in Berlin you couldn't even get anything as good as Schneider Eisbock in any stores (besides the one, awesome, craft beer store I was able to find). I really couldn't believe that all of the stores, even the huge grocery stores, only had the really really bad, cheap shit. Beer in a plastic bottle? Come on. I lived in Brussels for a while, and I guess I was expecting stores in Germany to be more like those in Belgium. Most corner stores and night shops didn't had great selections, but at least I could get a Chimay or at the very least a Leffe, at most of them. Which leads me to my reply to this next post:

    I'm right there with you. When I moved to Belgium (sadly, I'm back in the states now) I expected there to just be incredible beer everywhere. And there was. But so many people drank Jupiler (my favorite crap beer was Cara Pils :wink:)! It makes no sense. Good beers are so readily available, and for cheap! I just don't get why so many people get locked in to the same one or two beers, and never try anything new. Is this just what they assume the good Belgian beer is?
    After I came back to New Jersey, a Belgian friend moved over here for a year. My buddies and I were out for drinks with him one night, getting all kinds of great beers. We decided he should try a Nugget Nectar. He had some of it, and said, "this is okay, but let's get some Belgian beers now!" And then he ordered a Leffe Blonde. And the next time he came over, he brought a 12-pack of Leffe Blonde. It was all he drank! And it probably still is. It's a shame that so many Belgians don't take advantage of the great beer selection they have available to them. But I guess most Americans don't, either. Is it the majority of Belgians that over look the better beers? I don't know, I certainly met a lot that appreciated the great variety. But it always surprised me that so many Belgians would order Stella and Jupiler at bars.
  27. Ruds

    Ruds Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2008 United Kingdom (England)

    It's the majority of people in EVERY country who overlook the beers we perceive as better !

    Remember craft beer is a niche market - why would people from Belgium be any different in this respect?
  28. LBIsurf

    LBIsurf Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2009 New Jersey

    Yeah, good point. But I guess the point was that it was just kind of surprising. But you're right, I guess it shouldn't be haha
  29. Dennoman

    Dennoman Initiate (0) Aug 20, 2011 Belgium

    Of couse it shouldn't. We're not beer paradise as much as the next country. We have a budding craft culture and simply have the luxury of some solid traditional beers.
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