Posts

belgian beer week

WESTLAND, Mich. – The seventh annual North American Belgian Beer Festival (NABBF), the largest exclusively Belgian-made beer festival in the US, leads off a new national Belgian Beer Week. The event, sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade and major importers, will be held near Westland Shopping Center. This year there will be two sessions; one on Friday July 14 and a second session Saturday July 15.

This year’s event will have its largest contingent of brewers in from Belgium to the US at one place and time. “One would have to go to Belgium to meet this many Belgian brewers and even then it would be hard to talk with so many,” said the Festival’s Michigan-based organizer Roy More. Belgian beer experts will be on hand representing over forty Belgian craft breweries to discuss the 160 beers being offered. “This event is for those who care about what they drink and want to learn or to learn more about some of the best beers in the world,” said More.

Belgium is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s top beer nations, with Belgian brewers creating more recognized styles of beer per capita than any other country. The Michigan festival is the start of a national Belgian Beer Week. After Michigan’s group gathering, brewers individually will fan out across the country for other showcase events from California to New York, from Texas to Vermont. “The U.S. Belgian Beer Week aims to garner appreciation for arguably the best brewers in the world. These are the original, authentic craft brewers who started brewing beer generations ago for their village, and today export their brews to countries all over the world. One week of recognition for these pioneers in brewing is a long time coming here in the U.S.” – Steve Villani President, Global Beer Network

Tickets and more Festival information are available online.

About Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade

Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) promotes international enterprise in Flanders in a sustainable way as a key factor in the social and economic development of the region. FIT does so by supporting the international activities of Flemish companies and by attracting foreign investors to Flanders.

 

Ashley's

For the past six years, Ashley’s of Westland has hosted it’s Belgian Beer Week, serving only beer brewed in Belgium over an eleven day period. In 2015, they added the North American Belgian Beer Festival and this year are adding a second ‘festival within a festival’ by hosting the Ultimate Funk Beer Fest.

Friday February 12 is the inaugural Ultimate Funk Beer Fest. This event will feature more than 120 beers from 60 breweries in 8 countries. The featured styles will include lambics, gueuzes, Berliner weisses, goses, Flemish red ales, oud bruins, wood-aged ales, rauchbiers, and more. Beers aged in bourbon barrels will be well represented as well, with stouts, quadrupels, Scotch ales, barleywines, and other styles making an appearance.

“As we evolve to ‘Craft Beer 2.0,’ brew enthusiasts are seeking the next big thing,” said Roy More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “American consumers are just now really beginning to discover sour and other funky ales that are in reality based on centuries-old styles. Many are blended and aged for years in oaken barrels, called foeders, before being ready for release like fine wines. The resulting beers are often delicately complex and a rewarding experience for those who have cultivated a taste for them.”

“Since 1983, Ashley’s has existed to help people have a good time and discover new tastes,” said More. “This inaugural Funk Beer Fest is in line with our mission of expanding our guests’ experiences in new ways.”

Saturday February 13 sees the return on the North American Belgian Beer Festival, the country’s largest Belgian-only beer event. The event is sponsored by the Consulate General of Belgium/Flanders Investment and Trade, a partnership that blossomed at last year’s inaugural event.

As many as one thousand attendees will be able to sample more than 220 beers from the more than 80 Belgian breweries represented.

“You would have to go to Belgium to find this many Belgian beers in one place,” said Xavier Van Honsebrouck, fifth generation owner of Van Honsebrouck brewery in Ingelmunster, Belgium — who attended the 2015 festival and plans to attend again this year.

Belgium is recognized by many experts as one of the world’s top beer nations, with Belgian brewers creating more recognized styles of beer per capita than any other country.

“This event showcases exclusively craft beers brewed in Belgium,” said Luc Strybol, head of the economic mission of Flanders. “There will be breweries that trace their roots back a thousand years, breweries that have been owned by the same family for over a hundred years, and others that just formed in the past few years.”

Festival attendees will also have the chance to pair the many unique specialty and boutique brews with a menu of Belgian-inspired “cuisine à la bière.” Brewers and other Belgian beer experts will be on hand to help educate and guide guests through the amazing diversity and complexity of the Belgian beer world.

Due to the success of the last year’s festival, the 2016 event will take place in an expanded, heated tent next to Ashley’s. It will include several educational sampling sessions that cover the history of Belgian brewing, the Trappist monasteries that make beers, and beer blending. New this year is a VIP suite within the festival that will include a private Belgian-inspired buffet as well as exclusive samples.

“To address the growing interest among beer drinkers, many American craft brewers are making their interpretation of Belgian beers,” said Roy More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “This festival offers guests the opportunity to try the originals.” More, along with co-owner and brother Jeff, are frequent visitors to Belgium, where they were both knighted last fall by the Belgian Brewer’s Guild in recognition of their support of the Belgian beer industry.

Tickets for both events are available online at the following links-

Ultimate Funk Fest- www.ashleys.com/events.xhtml

North American Belgian Beer Festival- www.nabbf.org/registration.

WESTLAND — “I can’t believe the difference between the two!”

The woman speaking was not alone in her surprise. She was just one of the attendees at an educational seminar demonstrating the more delicate and complex flavors of beer served out of a firkin versus beer served from a conventional draft system. The seminar, led by Certified Cicerone® Annette May, offered a side-by-side comparison of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and was a part of the Michigan Cask Ale Festival held on Saturday.

For the past eight years Ashley’s Beer & Grill has hosted the festival, which annually attracts hundreds of beer enthusiasts from around the region. This year’s edition marked the largest yet, with more than 40 cask-conditioned ales pouring from several dozen Michigan and out-of-state breweries for the nearly 500 attendees.

“We created this festival to showcase what some aficionados call ‘the craft beer of craft beer,’” said Jeff More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “What makes cask ale so special is it’s not served with extraneous gas like in a conventional tap, but poured right from the vessel it’s fermented in. The result is surprisingly different from what most beer drinkers may be used to.”

More explained large-scale cask events such as this are unusual due to the difficulty inherent in handling the ales, which have a short shelf life, typically lasting no longer than a couple days before they begin to grow stale and undesirable.

“Cask ale is ‘alive’ in the sense that it is unfiltered, with active yeast present naturally carbonating and maturing the beer,” he said. “It requires special handling and has to be served promptly, which is why you see it in relatively fewer places.”

Ashley’s spends months planning for the festival, sending their own firkins to participating breweries, which fill and condition them — usually with specialty or “one-off” beers — before sending them back in time for the event, which is held each year in early May in the enclosed beer garden adjacent to Ashley’s.

Among the featured Michigan breweries and beers were Arbor Brewing (Demetrius Sour Ale and Ryeclops Imperial Rye IPA), Arcadia Ales (Hopmouth Double IPA), Atwater Brewery (Decadent Chocolate Stout), Boatyard Brewing (Rear Admiral Rye Stout), Brewery Vivant (Psychopomp Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Chelsea Alehouse (Hillwalker Scotch Ale), New Holland (Dragon’s Milk Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) and Rochester Mills (Milkshake Stout with Vanilla).

Unique to the festival were a special cask of Founders Mosaic Promise IPA conditioned with raspberries and Thai chilies, Frankenmuth’s Brick Haus Belgian IPA dry-hopped with Citra, Greenbush Retribution Belgian Strong Dark Ale with Honey and Pistachios and Short’s Soft Parade with Vanilla and Lactose.

This year’s festival also included several ciders (from Vander Mill, North Peak, Uncle John’s Cider Mill and the Northville Winery) as well as two homebrewed ales (a Peach Tea Wheat Ale and an Orange Creamsicle Ale). In addition to May’s seminar on the intricacies of cask ale, Vander Mill representative Alexa Seychel conducted an educational session on how cider is made.

For more information, find the Michigan Cask Ale Festival on Facebook or visit micaskale.ashleys.com.

WESTLAND — “I can’t believe the difference between the two!”
The woman speaking was not alone in her surprise. She was just one of the attendees at an educational seminar demonstrating the more delicate and complex flavors of beer served out of a firkin versus beer served from a conventional draft system. The seminar, led by Certified Cicerone® Annette May, offered a side-by-side comparison of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and was a part of the Michigan Cask Ale Festival held on Saturday.
For the past eight years Ashley’s Beer & Grill has hosted the festival, which annually attracts hundreds of beer enthusiasts from around the region. This year’s edition marked the largest yet, with more than 40 cask-conditioned ales pouring from several dozen Michigan and out-of-state breweries for the nearly 500 attendees.
“We created this festival to showcase what some aficionados call ‘the craft beer of craft beer,’” said Jeff More, co-owner of Ashley’s. “What makes cask ale so special is it’s not served with extraneous gas like in a conventional tap, but poured right from the vessel it’s fermented in. The result is surprisingly different from what most beer drinkers may be used to.”
More explained large-scale cask events such as this are unusual due to the difficulty inherent in handling the ales, which have a short shelf life, typically lasting no longer than a couple days before they begin to grow stale and undesirable.
“Cask ale is ‘alive’ in the sense that it is unfiltered, with active yeast present naturally carbonating and maturing the beer,” he said. “It requires special handling and has to be served promptly, which is why you see it in relatively fewer places.”
Ashley’s spends months planning for the festival, sending their own firkins to participating breweries, which fill and condition them — usually with specialty or “one-off” beers — before sending them back in time for the event, which is held each year in early May in the enclosed beer garden adjacent to Ashley’s.
Among the featured Michigan breweries and beers were Arbor Brewing (Demetrius Sour Ale and Ryeclops Imperial Rye IPA), Arcadia Ales (Hopmouth Double IPA), Atwater Brewery (Decadent Chocolate Stout), Boatyard Brewing (Rear Admiral Rye Stout), Brewery Vivant (Psychopomp Belgian Strong Dark Ale), Chelsea Alehouse (Hillwalker Scotch Ale), New Holland (Dragon’s Milk Barrel Aged Imperial Stout) and Rochester Mills (Milkshake Stout with Vanilla).
Unique to the festival were a special cask of Founders Mosaic Promise IPA conditioned with raspberries and Thai chilies, Frankenmuth’s Brick Haus Belgian IPA dry-hopped with Citra, Greenbush Retribution Belgian Strong Dark Ale with Honey and Pistachios and Short’s Soft Parade with Vanilla and Lactose.
This year’s festival also included several ciders (from Vander Mill, North Peak, Uncle John’s Cider Mill and the Northville Winery) as well as two homebrewed ales (a Peach Tea Wheat Ale and an Orange Creamsicle Ale). In addition to May’s seminar on the intricacies of cask ale, Vander Mill representative Alexa Seychel conducted an educational session on how cider is made.
For more information, find the Michigan Cask Ale Festival on Facebook or visit micaskale.ashleys.com.