Drank 30 Beers in an Afternoon

Billie’s Craft Beer Fest

Ginger Tipple

Before you jump to conclusions, I did not drink 30 full glasses of beer. It was 30 tasters and  quite a lot of them I sipped and then about half of them I poured away.

It is not often one has the opportunity to drink quality craft beers – unlimited – and Antwerp’ first craft beer festival two weeks ago was a wonderful occasion to imbibe. In fact, it was absolutely amazing, not just because of the wonderful beers, but I now truly believe that Ginger Tipple is a tremendous brew.

Selection of Breweries

There were 50 breweries from all around Europe and North America, most of which had eight beers on tap, two at a time. As I was there for two hours on Sunday afternoon, this meant that there were about 100 beers available. Which is tremendous.

IPAs

As to be expected, there were a lot of IPAs. To be honest, some of them were average ales with a lot of hops, very few had that magic word, body. For the first time I experienced a range of different IPAs, West Coast IPAs which are very hoppy, often with very fresh hops from Yakima, Washington. Then there were the black IPAs which are made with toasted malt, the skill here is not to either the hops or the toasted malt to overpower the other. The German IPA used German hops etc.

Quads & Stouts

Ginger Tipple
Milk Stout

There was a varied selection of quads and stouts, matured with all sorts of flavours, although the bourbon barrels were the most common. Coffee, vanilla and cocoa were the popular tastes. Particularly enjoyed the Fantastic Voyage, a milk stout from Penrenial Artisan Ales which was infused with coconut flakes while whirpooling.

I missed the Kentucky Breakfast Stout, from Founders Brewing, which is one of the best on the market, and which commands a premium price of $20 per bottle. I had tasted a bottle six months ago, and it is very good.

Voodoo Brewery had a special brew for the show, which was a refreshing old style ale matured in bourbon barrels.

Estonia’a Pohjala brewery delivered an Imperial Coffee Stout called Cocobänger which uses high quality Costa Rican coffee, coconut and Magnum hops. At 12.5% ABV it was seductive.

Different Beers

Tempel from Sweden had a great sour beer with mango called Manu. With an ABV of only 3.5% it must be great to drink on a hot day, although I am not sure how often that happens in Sweden.

My favourite was Norway’s Nogne O‘s Tripel X Farmhouse Ale which is not boiled before fermentation which occurs at a temperature of 39 celsius.

The meads were not my cup of tea.

Sour Beers

You can travel the world and find sour beers with or without fruit. At this event there were quite a few, but the best were from Belgium. For me, the stars in this category were the Rodenbach Grand Cru Flemish and Caractere Rouge red-brown ales.  Nor can you omit Alvinne‘s Gentleman Sour Ale.

Summation

Stéfan Cauwenbergs and his colleagues deserve full praise for arranging the craft beer festival and by setting the entry price quite high it meant that you did not have to by tokens all the time to taste different beers.

Looking forward to next year’s festival.

Golden Hops Writes About Ginger Tipple

New Beer Magazine

BelgiBeer recently launched its new beer magazine, Golden Hops. Available in English, French and Dutch, it takes a closer look at some of Belgium’s top breweries and other stories about beer, hops etc.

BelgiBeer also  has a blog which has some interesting articles, especially those written by this blogger 🙂 My review of Duvel’s recently launched bourbon barrel aged beer can be read here.

Ginger Tipple

Of course, they had to write an article about Belgium’s newest take on the definition of beer, Ginger Tipple. While I am not crazy about the picture they took of me outside the micro-brewery, it was a good article. It can be read here.

Ginger Beer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westvleteren

One of the other perks of writing for a beer magazine is that I get to drink some absolutely wonderful beers, so when the editor asked me to write an article about the world’s best beer, Westvleteren, I impressed upon him that it would take at least 2 bottles of each type, 6, 8 and 12, in order to compose anything worthy of publishing.

Look out for the next issue.

We’re Not The Only Ones

I thought that Ginger Tipple was the only gluten-free, alcoholic dry ginger beer on the market. There are a few sweet or semi-dry alcoholic ginger beers such as Crabbies, Stones or Hollows and Fentimans, which I am familiar with.

Gingers Revenge

Until yesterday that is, when I came across Gingers Revenge from Ashville North Carolina. I had a long chat with the owner, David Ackley, and we both felt a bit like the scientists at NASA finally discovering that there others like us out there.

In fact, while I was talking to Dave, I came up with the idea of a ginger beer brewers association. This is quite important for us brewers because we cannot enter most beer competitions as we do not use any grains or malt, perhaps if there are enough of us, they might create a new beer category.

Ginger Beer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Ideas

Gingers Revenge is only available on draft for the time being, and is brewed in a variety of flavours such as Orange Mint, Lemon Thyme, Thai/Basil, Dry-Hopped and Lime Agave. Inspiration for future Ginger Tipple products.

Passover

They are not Kosher for Passover, which keeps us unique.