KAERU BEER — an Anglo-Japanese Writing & Professional Services consultancy that focuses on international Craft Beer & Cider. A trading name of Matsuda Mulville

Reasons not to miss awesome BXLBeerFest

BXLBeerFest is an annual 2-day craft beer festival held in the city of Brussels at the end of August. It focuses only on independent breweries and it showcases the best of the city’s beer culture. It also welcomes some top international breweries. BXLBeerFest also demonstrates to many interested overseas visitors that Belgium is filled with talented craft beer breweries that are perhaps less well-known in other parts of the world.

It successfully achieves all these goals with ease.

The Location

1. It represents a world beer city

Belgium is the 79th most populous country in the world, and Brussels is the 85th most populous city.

If these statistics were based upon position in the world of beer, Belgium and Brussels would be in the top 5 — if not number 1! The most widespread and plentiful pubs on the planet may be Irish, but there is an abundance of Belgian beer bars throughout the world in every major urban area. Such is the global reputation of Belgium and its beer.

Beer travellers visiting Europe place Belgium high on their itinerary. Devotees living in Europe make frequent pilgrimages to the spiritual home of beer, Belgium. So, it’s surprising that prior to the first BXLBeerFest in 2017 (and subsequent success in 2018), Brussels had no major international craft beer festival of this kind.

There was no event that represented the very best of beer production in Brussels. No event that assembled the most distinguished independent breweries from across Belgium. And no event in the city that invited a wide variety of unique, interesting breweries from across the world.

Brussels now has in BXLBeerFest an annual world-class beer event of which it can be proud. An event that welcomes the very best independent breweries to the city. An event that focuses its attention not only locally and nationally, but also internationally and across vast oceans.

2. The location is bright, spacious and airy

Germany’s aristocratic Thurn und Taxis family had an important role in the early days of the European postal system. In the 19th century it constructed shipping warehouses, a large postal complex and a railway station next to the Brussels Canal. The site closed as a commercial venture many years ago, although the grand, imposing buildings are of significant historic importance. They are now revitalised as “Tour et Taxis”, one of the city’s main cultural centres.

The former goods handling and storage buildings at Tour et Taxis are known as the Sheds, and they are renowned for their industrial heritage, metallic framework and glazed sawtooth ceiling. The Sheds form a spacious events location that is perfect for BXLBeerFest.

The Sheds contribute to the relaxing atmosphere at BXLBeerFest, yet it is the glazed ceiling that makes this event space so special. Daylight pouring onto revellers is refreshing, and it gives BXLBeerFest a unique (and literal) clarity and sharpness.

3. It’s accessible

Within 20-minutes you can reach Bruxelles-Nord station by train from the many European and Intercontinental flights arriving daily at Brussels International Airport (Brussels-New York is one of the airport’s busiest routes). BXLBeerFest is only a 10-minute walk from Bruxelles-Nord.

If you arrive in Brussels by Eurostar, you can reach BXLBeerFest from Bruxelles-Midi station by taxi in 12-minutes.
You could even reach BXLBeerFest on foot from Grand Place within 25-minutes, although frequent public transport is quicker from wherever you are in the city.

BXLBeerFest at Tour et Taxis is accessible to all, wherever you call home.

The Event

4. It’s a champion of independent breweries

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is Belgian. Let’s not forget that. Because of its Budweiser brand it’s wrongly assumed that AB InBev is American, but it was InBev — the Belgian-Brazilian multinational — that acquired AB for $52 billion to create the world’s largest brewery.

But we’re not interested in this. We’re interested in the independent craft beer breweries from Belgium and the world that have taste, credibility and a preference for quality ahead of profit margins.

BXLBeerFest believes in ‘honest beer’. It values the personal connection between the brewer and the drinker. It has no place for industrial beer.

The list of participating breweries at BXLBeerFest contains only independents who are dedicated to their art. For high-quality beer production is an art practiced by dedicated artisans.

5. Cuisine is important

Good beer is often served best when accompanied by the perfect cuisine. Great cuisine is often complemented by a well-chosen beer.

Pairing beer and food correctly is a skill, but it’s not a precise science. It’s subjective and open to experimentation. A well-conceived beer festival recognises this and ensures there is a wide range of culinary options available to drinkers.

By choosing to emphasise the importance of great food and good beer, BXLBeerFest surpasses many of its peers. There is a great variety of culinary options. And there are beer and food pairing workshops. And many other opportunities to discover your own perfect combination.

The Beer

6. Its international ambitions are a success

Not only does BXLBeerFest appeal to a global audience, but it also attracts many enthusiastic beer lovers who travel great distances to be here. The international interest in BXLBeerFest is widespread. Each August the number of beer-tourists visiting Brussels increases as a consequence of BXLBeerFest gaining a reputation as a must-visit event.

And it’s not just the beer aficionados who travel far to be here. The organisers of BXLBeerFest skilfully curate an event that welcomes some rare visitors to Europe. Breweries from the USA and Canada that rarely visit Europe are regularly invited, for example. And sometimes a brewery is invited to make its debut European appearance at BXLBeerFest.

Wherever a brewery is from and however uncommon its appearance is in Europe, the common thread remains — it is independent, it produces excellent beer and its participation at BXLBeerFest is a talking point.

7. There is a mutual pride in Brussels

BXLBeerFest is proud of its role in the Brussels beer scene. And Brussels is proud of BXLBeerFest. It is therefore appropriate that the main bulk of participating breweries are local.

Visitors to BXLBeerFest who do not live in and around Brussels indulge in the opportunity to learn what makes this such a special city for beer. The city’s contemporary craft beer scene serenely complements its Lambic traditions without any fuss. And visitors appreciate that.

8. The brewers are here

Let’s not forget Lambic. To many beer-lovers in Brussels, Europe and beyond — especially beyond! — Lambic epitomises everything that is wonderful about Belgian beer. It represents the pinnacle of discerning brewery techniques.

Some Lambic brewers are as well-known as their beers. If not more so. They’re respected and admired. And they’re here in person at BXLBeerFest.

It’s not just local brewers who attend to serve their own beers. Each brewery at BXLBeerFest has a representative presenting its beers, whether it’s a brewer, a founder or another important cog in the brewing machine. Wherever in the world the brewery is based, somebody from the brewery is at BXLBeerFest to tell you about the beers, explain the stories and ensure you get maximum value and enjoyment from the experience.

http://www.bxlbeerfest.com/

Posted on Social Media, 25 August 2019

For two days only, Brussels witnesses the greatest show on earth (with an acknowledging nod to Europe’s other high-profile events happening this weekend). Thousands of Beer-lovers converge on a historic venue perfectly suited to this event.

BXLBeerFest Day One proved another raging success. Thousands felt like millions: forming queues, savouring many rare, exceptional beers. Everybody navigating the finely curated list containing participating breweries’ popular brews. Outside’s scorching heat and brilliant sunshine supplying visitors with a much-slaked thirst.

Thoughtfully positioned bar clusters and shared standing tables offer drinkers a unique taste experience at every turn. It’s a personal, friendly event.

The volunteers’ army soldier on throughout, enabling participants and adequately meeting visitors’ taste satiation demands. Breweries, helpers and drinkers work harmoniously, enjoying beer, experiencing the venue’s elegance and ensuring a successful Day One.

And it was a success.

BXLBeerFest’s stature continues growing. During a three-year history it’s become incredibly popular, attracting global visitors. Its world-class reputation secured. Unique and rare-in-Europe breweries abundantly participant, justifying the (minimal) entrance fee. Brussels: this weekend’s beer city.

BXLBeerFest and participating breweries evidently care about beer quality. Serving beer in clean glasses and continually washing used ones throughout the day is a unique element. One of many features placing the event in a league of its own.

What is better on a beautiful summer Sunday in central Brussels than BXLBeerFest Day Two at Tours & Taxis. The party continues, a wonderful finale to a genuine title contender for the summer’s best beer event.

See you there.


What can we expect at BXLBeerFest in 2019?

Austria

  • Bevog

Think of independent craft beer breweries from Austria and you may only recall a handful of names.  A couple of which are participating in BXLBeerFest.  Bevog Brewery from the spa town of Bad Radkersburg is certainly one of the most internationally visible.  With its primary focus on producing ales that combine the original English styles with its own uncompromising complexity and uniqueness, Bevog beer is always a welcome discovery.

Bevog has received many awards and and prizes for its beers.  Accolades that reflect the brewery’s ambition to present drinkers with a more refreshing and flavoursome alternative to homogenous and widespread industrialised beer.  And if you’re familiar with Bevog beers and their imagery, it will be no surprise that Bevog is also recognised for its design.

Bevog is much more than a simple (albeit pleasant) beer-drinking experience — it is a visual, sensory encounter.

Bevog beer is generally produced in one of its three Beer Series.  Many of its Year Round range of IPAs, Pale Ales, Porters, Stouts or Golden Ales are already modern classics.  Its Who Cares range contains its many special edition and collaboration beers.  And its Paperbag Barrel-Aged range of limited edition, heavy and complex beers are wax-sealed for home-cellaring purposes and are presented in their own highly designed paper bags.

The Bevog dedication to spreading the word about its beer is evident by its appearance at BXLBeerFest.  Especially considering BXLBeerFest coincides for one day with its own The Who Cares for Beer Festival, held at its Austrian brewery.

This loyalty to the promotion of great beer deserves a visit to Bevog at BXLBeerFest to sample some of its wonderful delights.

Bierol

Does Austrian municipality Schwoich’s coat of arms contain historic brewing machinery? No, it’s a cement kiln, referencing the Alpine region’s historic industry. Although Tyrolean brewery Bierol’s growing reputation highlights beer’s importance in the area.

The story begins with the area’s first brewery in 2004, on a farm that forms today’s Bierol Taproom & Restaurant. Fast-forward to Christoph, Max and Marko’s arrival in 2014, three friends who introduced the region to craft beer. What started only five years ago as their passionate beer experimentation has grown into an award-winning, independent craft beer brewery.

Scheffauer mountain watches over Bierol, an unconventional, non-traditional brewery operating in harmony with nature and its surroundings. The high-quality beer is contemporary and progressive too, classic styles freshly reimagined to align with modern tastes and styles.

Brussels’ BXLBeerFest visitors can taste five fine Alpine beers from Bierol’s. A Witbier, a Gruit, a Pale Ale and two Double IPAs — a taste of the Tyrol.

Belgium

  • Brasserie Atrium
  • Belgoo Beer
  • Bokke
  • Brasserie Cantillon
  • Brasserie de Blaugies

Many craft beer breweries across the world produce a ‘farmhouse ale’ that captures the rustic charm of the style. Bière de Garde and Saison are the two official beer styles most associated with ‘farmhouse’. Yet it is a broad category. Craft beer breweries produce many variants of a ‘farmhouse ale’ or saison, all of which are popular.

The common theme is that ‘farmhouse ales’ are indicative of a unique, localised product that is originally from Belgium and France. And there is an undeniable authenticity and history associated with beers produced in regions where theses styles originate.

Held in the highest esteem are these styles of beer produced in Belgium or France by small, traditional family breweries. Often in farmhouses. A good example is Brasserie de Blaugies, based in the Belgian province of Hainaut, near the border with France.

Situated in the “Les Hauts Pays” natural park, Brasserie de Blaugies and its ‘Le Fourquet‘ restaurant produce classic artisanal Belgian beer.

The beers of Brasserie de Blaugies are unfiltered, bottle-fermented and characteristic of ‘farmhouse ale’ and saisons. Its core range of beer contains La Moneuse, La Bière Darbyste, La Saison d’Epeautre, La Vermontoise and several others. There is even a Christmas version of La Moneuse.

Brasserie de Blaugies is an independent brewery and, therefore, is presenting its beer at BXLBeerFest in Brussels. Having brewed its first beer in 1988, it is one of the longest-established breweries attending. And that is a good thing. An unwavering loyalty to originality, authenticity and timeless beer can be refreshing in today’s fast-paced world of craft beer.

  • Brasserie de Cazeau
  • Brasserie De Jandrain-jandrenouille
  • Brasserie de la Sambre
  • Brasserie de la Senne

Even before they seduce you with their superior quality and moreish flavour, Brasserie de la Senne’s beers are instantly recognisable. The captivating design lures you towards a mouth-watering embrace. And you willingly succumb to these exemplars of the finest beer artwork to be found anywhere. The Art Deco-inspired pop-art of Brasserie de la Senne’s beer packaging is a modern tribute to Jazz Age design.

The Brasserie de la Senne portfolio is formed of core beers, seasonal beers, collaborations and a handful of interesting experimentals. All of which are skilfully produced by talented brewers who have extensive experience of creating exception beer. Not only are the beers natural, unfiltered, unpasteurized and free from additives, but the brewery is also sustainable and responsible.

Brussels has a richly deserved reputation for the quality of its independent breweries. It is therefore unsurprising that Brussels is home to Brasserie de la Senne. It even takes its name from Brussels — the city was founded on the Senne river.

The brewery is extremely proud of its place in the city’s beer culture. It emphasises the importance of its ability to adequately supply the local market before it focuses on Belgium and beyond. Brasserie de la Senne does have an international presence — notably the USA and Japan — but it remains loyal to Brussels. That makes its appearance at BXLBeerFest even more special.

Yvan and Bernard are passionate about brewing and passionate about Brussels. They formed the Sint-Pieter Brouwerij just outside the city limits in 2003. The brewery rapidly outgrew its capacity, and after several years producing beer at other breweries they returned to the city. After a name change to honour its return home, Brasserie de la Senne brewed its first Brussels beer in 2010.

  • Brasserie de l’Ermitage
  • Brasserie du Borinage
  • Brasserie du Brabant
  • Brasserie H2O

It’s reassuring when brewers with many years’ experience hand-build their own brewery, repurposing and refabricating equipment to perfectly suit their needs. Artists instinctively know which paint colours combine on the palette to visualise a scene that becomes a masterpiece. And brewers create taste masterpieces by visualising the precise equipment, processes and methods. Brewers selecting their own paint colours — no more, no less than necessary — is indicative of skill, talent and exceptional beer.

Brussels’ Brasserie H2O is a brewery that fits this model. Despite its small-scale, Brasserie H2O’s beer range grows steadily at a pace suggesting precision and patience. It’s a one-man operation with brewer Olivier, an experienced Brussels’ beer scene artisan, handling almost every role. He designed and built the brewery, creates the recipes, experiments with flavours, brews, and handles general operations.

The puns are clever too. Ale Capone, a Belgian Pale Ale, commits no crime. White Spirit is a full-bodied Witbier, and Mielissa is a Honey Beer. Brasserie H2O is pouring all three delightful beers at BXLBeerFest. It’s a great opportunity to taste the beers and learn more about an interesting, flourishing brewery on the verge of something quite special.

  • Brasserie Minne
  • Brouwerij De Ranke
  • Brouwerij t’Verzet
  • Brussels Beer Project
  • Dochter VD Korenaar
  • Dok Brewing Co

Beer aficionados regularly mention the Belgium city of Ghent. Aside from it being a picturesque and ancient city popular with visitors (beer tourists too), it is the home of Dok Brewing Company.

The brewery recently celebrated its first birthday with the Dok Brewing Festival!, a spectacular event that has kept people talking about Ghent ever since. With many renowned and international breweries participating, it attracted a large local and international crowd. And it is likely to remain an annual highpoint beer festival if it continues each year.

But it is the host brewery, Dok Brewing Company, that is the main attraction.  In the northern part of the city at the Dok Noord complex, a regenerated and gentrified former dockside electromechanical factory, sits the brewery’s brewpub. Beer lovers who come here mingle with the workers, shoppers and local residents to sample some excellent beers.

Pouring from the 30 taps are many of Dok Brewing Company’s finest beers alongside popular guest beers. On tap at the time of writing is a gose, a NEIPA, several stouts, a blueberry Tonka Bean Berliner Weisse, and various IPA beers that include a white sour IPA. Among many others. All great examples of the high-quality beer brewed on site. All great examples of Dok Brewing Company’s brewing talent and skill.

Dok Brewing Company represents part of a upsurge in young, passionate Belgian breweries who want to introduce a lot more contemporary beer styles from around the world into Belgian beer culture. Without losing sight of the national beer traditions for which the country is universally acclaimed.

Dok Brewing Company will join many of its peers on this journey at the BXLBeerFest. When visitors will be charmed for 2 days with the brewery’s distinctive and unique beer.

  • d’Oude Maalderij
  • Dum’s Brew
  • En Stoemelings

The city is such a dynamic breeding ground for creativity that imagining it without today’s brewing talent is a challenge. Yet the Brussels’ craft beer culture has only started to reach its pinnacle during the past five years. En Stoemelings was an original brewing pioneer in the city, even though it officially opened only four years ago. At that time there were just a couple of breweries in Brussels that shared the common vision and mutual understanding.

A handful of the innovators who forged the city’s beer identity will be presenting their beers at BXLBeerFest. And En Stoemelings is proudly part of that original band of Brussels’ brewers.

The En Stoemelings story begins in 2014 when Denys and Samuel, who first met in school, decided to work together. Changing the perception of beer in Brussels was important to them, as was making a proud contribution to their city and culture.

Originally a modest brewery that produced small amount for friends and occasional events, the reputation of En Stoemelings quickly grew. It was time to step up to the next level. After going through the necessary formalities — and successful crowdfunding — the brewery officially opened in the summer of 2015.

Distinctive coloured tags in place of labels on its bottles was a feature of En Stoemelings, as is its curious name. Seeing the coloured tags is less common now, but the name remains. ‘En Stoemelings’ in the parochial language of Brussels is…well, it’s a secret. There is nothing furtive, underhand or sly about the name, but maybe the brewery should whisper the meaning to you at BXLBeerFest!

Producing the best craft beer possible within the city limits is firmly part of the En Stoemelings ethos. And having recently relocated from Marollen to the Greenbizz shared facility near Tours et Taxis, BXLBeerFest is on its doorstep. So why not visit Brussels and BXLBeerFest to sample some of Brussels’ finest beer?

  • Gueuzerie Tilquin
  • Hof ten Dormaal
  • Lambiek Fabriek

The founding of a new lambic blendery is a rare occurrence, especially in Pajottenland. One of the most recent is Lambiek Fabriek, which shares a production facility with Belgoo Brouwerij in Sint Pieters Leeuw. The blendery was founded in 2016, although its history of experimenting with blending goes back much further. Since the blendery was founded it has achieved success with its Brett-Elle Oude Geuze and Fontan-Elle Young & Wild beers.

The cooperation between the two entities and the terroir works well. The wort is brewed by Belgoo Brouwerij, using a traditional lambic recipe, and then transferred to the Lambiek Fabriek koelschip. As the wort cools, nature works its microfauna magic with spontaneous processes that make Pajottenland so special. From there it is to French oak barrels or Italian foeders for further fermentation and maturity before blending and bottling.

This world-famous process is unique to lambic production in the Pajottenland region west of Brussels. It’s why this area is so popular with beer tourists and why its lambic beers are so globally sought-after. Lambiek Fabriek will consequently be popular with both local and international visitors to BXLBeerFest.

  • Le Bierodrome
  • Nectar Bohème
  • No Science

No Science is proud of Belgian traditions. Yet at the same time it is keen to distance itself and brew unique, exceptional beer that is recognisable for its own merits.

With beer names such as Heavy Porter, Noisy Pale Ale, Psycho Table Beer, Stoner Witch, Fade to Grey and Da’Funk, it’s evident that No Science is bringing an alternative approach to the art of brewing.  It wants to stand out among the regular beers — and it does. It’s an approach that is successful.

Like many renowned craft beer breweries, music runs through its veins and beats at the heart of its beers. Music influences the styles of beer (and names) at No Science. And it’s the hint of discord and disharmony in beer production that drives an experimentation in flavour that creates highly drinkable modern classics.

No Science is located very close to Tour et Taxis, so it will certainly attract a lot of attention during BXLBeerFest.

  • Saké Passion

The world is a better place because people take their favourite pieces of international culture and introduce them locally. Sushi is modern international cuisine, for example.

Sake is gaining a global reputation too, as a premium international drink. And rightly so. This historic and complex drink presents Japanese culture and taste at its very best.

Southeast Belgium’s Saké Passion in Fouches is importer and distributor of the finest Japanese Sake. Curating the high-quality selection are ‘sake ambassadors’ Vincent and Florence, who founded the endeavour in 2010. Independent sommelier Vincent is one of Belgium’s few Certified Sake Professionals.

The pair travel in Japan annually, meeting producers and hand-selecting the best Sake. Some of which is presented at BXLBeerFest, which has a concept of pairing excellent cuisine with the perfect beverage. Sake and beer actually share more similarities than people expect — it’s brewed, not distilled, for example.

There is much more to learn, so give Sake a try at BXLBeerFest.

  • Siphon Brewing

Canada

  • Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company
  • Brasserie Dunham
  • Isle de Garde
  • Sutton Brouërie

Denmark

  • Det Lille Bryggeri

Det Lille Bryggeri is a small brewery bringing 12 of its beers from Denmark’s Zealand island to BXLBeerFest. The brewery is pouring two stouts, one of which is a double; a Belgian Tripel; a Belgian Brown Ale; a smoked beer; an English IPA; an English Pale Ale; a Berliner Weisse; a Witbier; a Spiced Ale; and a couple of American Pale Ales. BXLBeerFest looks like a great event.

Remarkably, Ringsted’s prolific Det Lille Bryggeri remains a small-batch brewery — also producing cider! Artisan René Hansen founded the brewery in 2005, and it moved to its current Bringstrup location in 2009. And with such an excellent beer range, the brewery unsurprisingly opened a shop in 2014. It’s the place to visit for rare and unusual Det Lille Bryggeri beers, and other drinks or confectionery.

Det Lille Bryggeri beer is unfiltered, unpasteurised and produced with fine ingredients and the best Danish skill and talent. Learning more about this brewery at BXLBeerFest is a must.

Estonia

  • Tanker

France

  • Brasserie de la Goutte d’Or
  • Piggy Brewing

Liverdun, a small commune in the Meurthe-et-Moselle department of the Lorraine region of north-eastern France, is home to The Piggy Brewing Company. An artisanal brewery with both interesting ideas and an impressive portfolio of traditional and craft beer. The brewery maintains the Pig Spirit and doesn’t take itself too seriously. “Drink Fresh or Die,” its philosophy recommends. Having the Pig Spirit is celebrating and sharing great beer, food and quality with friends.

The three cheerful, gastronomic foodies who describe themselves as ‘The Three Gros’ — ‘gros’ meaning fat in French — are Lorenzo, Pierrot and Romain. And they are not in any way fat. The ‘gros’ in this context represents the brewery’s professional standards, including a hefty desire to make a big impact.

The brewery also has a strong swine-based wit. ‘Ich Bin Ein Porciner’, for example, is a Berliner Weisse style. ‘Morning Piggy’ is a coffee stout, and ‘Piggy Driver’ is a Session Pale Ale. However, a strong wit does not mean its environment and social responsibility is overlooked. The Piggy Brewing Company recognises that considering an environmental impact produces quality.

The Meurthe-et-Moselle department of Lorraine has a border with Belgium. So, the Piggy Brewing Company’s participation in BXLBeerFest is inevitable. And with its great range of beers, the brewery will certainly be delighting the beer festival visitors.

  • La P’tite Maiz

Numerous vineyards around Tours, the Centre-Val de Loire city on the Loire river, are evidence of the area’s excellent terroir. Central France’s widely celebrated reputation for high-quality, natural beverages. And few drinks besides wine are more natural and revealing about the landscape in which they are produced than beer. Especially beer produced with the finest local ingredients and free from additives.

In Notre-Dame-d’Oé, north of Tours, friends Christophe and Quentin’s passion for brewing began as a hobby in 2011. By 2015 La P’tite Maiz was brewing professionally, and the new brewery building went into operation in 2017.

Christophe and Quentin enjoy frequently partnering with other breweries to produce various La P’tite Maiz collaborations. The creative learning experience of collaboration drives La P’tite Maiz to develop new flavours and experiment with styles. Besides brewing exception beer, the amusing beer-name puns indicates Christophe and Quentin have fun at La P’tite Maiz.

Consider the witticisms of a “Mi-ami Weisse”, for example. The Berliner Weisse style beer the brewery is pouring at BXLBeerFest alongside a “Goat Me A Stout”.

  • La Brasserie du Mont Salève

Germany

  • Flügge

Frankfurt may be known for Apfelwein (cider), but the city is also a leading light in the production of wild beer.

The Global trend in beer consumption continues to favour taste, originality and artisanal practices ahead of homogenous industrialised blandness. This has created a growing interest in breweries working with wild or farmhouse yeasts (and sometimes bacteria) to create today’s popular beer styles. And yet, using these ingredients in brewing is uncommon in Germany outside of cities such as Berlin and Leipzig. The influence of ‘Reinheitsgebot’ remains strong.

However, across Germany there are several pockets of resistance determined to forsake the Beer Purity Law to brew distinctive beer. Brauerei Flügge in Frankfurt is one of the fledgling breweries innovating with unusual and uncommon ingredients to produce wild beers. Its beers are produced with yeasts such as Brettanomyces and Kveik, both of which are popular with today’s consumers.

Brauerei Flügge was founded in 2017 by three like-minded individuals, each of whom brings a unique talent and specialist input.

Another important element in the success of a brewery and its beers is thoughtful packaging and clever design. The colourful, bright artwork on Brauerei Flügge’s beers is provided by artist Pia Zölzer. And the vibrant colours used for the birds in the paintings cleverly reflect the beer styles.

Much like birds leaving the nest and learning to fly, catching Brauerei Flügge on its ascent is a delight. The brewery is participating in BXLBeerFest, so take flight and be there to see it spread its wings.

  • Brauerei Kemker

From its farm in Alverskirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brauerei Kemker is handcrafting very special beer — specialties from the Münsterland.  Its passion and creativity ensure Brauerei Kemker is one of the most recognisable and well-known breweries at beer festivals and events that specialise in the resurgence of beer styles in which it excels.

It uses the highest-quality, natural local ingredients to create unique and distinctive products. Many of its raw ingredients are home-grown too. Whether it’s an Historic Sour Ale, a Spelt Ale, an Historic Gruit, a Berliner Weisse Style, a fruit beer, a porter, a Saison or a Bock. Its beer is authentic and enjoyable.

Brauerei Kemker even produces an historic Münstersch Alt. And for true aficionados of high-quality, natural products, there is also the quite stunning Appelwien Farmhouse Cider.

Its return to BXLBeerFest is not only a highlight of the event, but it is also a great opportunity for drinkers unfamiliar with its styles to experience the best flavours that Brauerei Kemker has to offer. Beers that are lovingly produced with Brauerei Kemker’s house-cultures, blends of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces. Heavenly.

Hungary

  • FIRST The Craft Beer Co.

FIRST The Craft Beer Co. represents first-class craft beer. Producing first-class Hungarian craft beer to the highest standard without compromise. It’s the FIRST philosophy. A passion and talent brews high-quality beer from superior raw ingredients, and the skill is keeping consumers involved.

FIRST educates drinkers to savour quality and flavour in its craft beer, and then compare it with inferior, bland homogeny. It gains added value from meeting consumers and interacting about its philosophy, mission, processes and progress. And it’s these two simple actions that separates the independent, passionate craft brewery from the indifferent, industrialized mass-producer.

The FIRST word is spreading thanks to the Brewery, Taproom and downtown Budapest Craft Beer Bar & BBQ. The FIRST word is spreading outside Hungary thanks to a growing international presence and participation in events like BXLBeerFest.

The passionate Kurucz brothers founded FIRST after many years visiting and learning from the world’s leading independent breweries and events. The FIRST values and objectives were developed during this time. And the brewery opened in the summer of 2017 to successfully introduce people to the wonderful world of Hungarian craft beer.

The FIRST Headliners series contains a range of modern classic beers. Its Small Batch series contains many limited editions and specials. The brewery also collaborates and produces a handful of other beers of various flavour and style.

As the Hungarian craft beer culture continues to grow, its reputation for quality and great beer spreads internationally. FIRST The Craft Beer Co. is therefore an anticipated highlight of BXLBeerFest.

Italy

  • Yblon

You may think the Italian island of Sicily does not have a big craft beer scene. But you’d be wrong. Microbirrifici.org is an online resource for up-to-date information about the size and distribution of the craft beer industry in Italy. It reports there are 80 or more breweries, brewpubs and other outlets on the island. Although not all of them are currently producing beer.

Italy has always been at the forefront of the artisanal beer movement.

One of the most well-known and visible Sicilian breweries outside of Italy is Yblon. And its participation in BXLBeerFest indicates its reputation is on the rise. Sicilian craft beer is on the map.

Yblon is now 5-years old and well established in its UNESCO World Heritage Site home of Ragusa in the south-east of the island. With the addition of its Taproom a couple of years ago, its core, seasonal and collaboration beers have gained a lot more local exposure.

Its range of beers is impressive. There is a lot to be excited about. BXLBeerFest is going to be a special event.

  • Sagrin

Italy is verging on an international beer revolution. For a decade or more the country is producing many of the world’s finest beers. High quality artisanal beer production is the norm, another feature of a country brimming with delicious tastes and exception cuisine. It is no surprise that many beer enthusiasts first heard the term ‘craft beer’ in Italy, all those years ago.

The revolution is bittersweet to international beer-lovers for whom Italy remain a relatively undiscovered paradise for beer. Italian craft beer is no longer a secret. The world is focusing its attention on an exceptional flavour explosion at the heart of Italian beer culture. Italy: the next important destination for discerning beer tourists.

One brewery to discover is Calamandrana’s Birrificio Sagrin in northwest Italy’s Piedmont region. Its beers attract much attention internationally. For example, the brewery is participating in Brussels’ BXLBeerFest. Beer festival visitors can enjoy the brewery’s renowned Italian Grape Ale, an Amber, an IPA, Blonde, Saison and DIPA.

Birrificio Sagrin is not to be missed.

Luxembourg

  • Bare Brewing

Netherlands

  • Brouwerij Frontaal

Maybe we’re biased. Or maybe it’s pride in the high calibre independent breweries producing stunning craft beer in the country we call home. Either way, beer from the likes of Brouwerij Frontaal in Breda, North Brabant, deserves to be discovered and savoured. But don’t take our word for it, try the beers yourself and let them tell you everything you need to know about great beer.

Frontaal is one of two innovative breweries from the Netherlands participating at BXLBeerFest, both of which operate at the highest level. They’re in a class of their own. Frontaal is one of the young, pioneering breweries that spearheaded the Dutch craft beer revolution of the past five years. Quality and a balance of flavour is what matters to the production of distinct beer bursting with character.

Frontaal’s philosophy is “Beer for Thought”. Drinkers are invited to think about the experience and sensation, the flavour journey and where it takes them. The brewery thinks about the destination. Where is its beers taking consumers and what sights, sounds, tastes and cuisine can be experienced during the travels?

But don’t think for too long, or risk being left behind by the buzz and excitement building around Frontaal.

  • Walhalla

Do you desire Walhalla’s divine nectar of gods at BXLBeerFest?

Poland

  • Browar Artezan

Spain

  • Vic Brewery
  • Masia Agullons

United Kingdom

  • Burning Sky
  • Mills Brewing

United States

  • Alewife

Making a welcome return to Brussels this year is one of BXLBeerFest’s most fascinating transatlantic visitors. Once again bringing its refreshing beers from New York City is Alewife Brewing Company. Known for its passionate brewing that combines unusual ingredients with an attention to detail to create some unique beers, it’s perfectly suited to this event.

Alewife Brewing Company has a vision. Not only does its core beer range have a reputation for quality, but it also demonstrates uniqueness with its ‘Scullery’ range. These small-batch beers, experimental brews and collaborations are produced in its Long Island City brewpub.

Having a one-barrel brewhouse in this popular neighbourhood of Queens allows Alewife Brewing Company to practice its art and realise its crazy passion. And with a new Sunnyside production facility and taproom it increases the capacity for producing fine beer in the area.

Meeting Alewife Brewing Company at BXLBeerFest to learn more and try some of its characteristic beer is an opportunity not to be missed.

  • de Garde Brewing
  • Garden Path Fermentation

Travelling 5,000 miles to participate at Brussels’ BXLBeerFest is a remarkable commitment to the thrill of enlightening beer-lovers. And relishing an occasion to better acquaint themselves with the Pacific Northwest’s native yeast cultures are Europe’s natural fermentation aficionados.

The Evergreen State of Washington is renowned for lush greenery, a temperate climate and perfect agricultural conditions. Skagit Valley’s fertile environment, fine natural ingredients and unique airborne yeast cultures create distinctive, high-quality beer. Garden Path Fermentation specialises in small-batch beer, wine, cider and mead production. Some of which the brewery will pour to the delight of drinkers at BXLBeerFest.

Eight beers are expected at the event — American Wild Ales, Belgian Blondes, Saison and Grisette, something of a rarity. Grisette originated in mining communities along the French-Belgian border, but domestic versions have all but disappeared. Garden Path Fermentation will be a highlight at BXLBeerFest and Grisette will be a rediscovery for many local visitors.