BXLBeerFest returns to Brussels for a second time this weekend
Belgium. A country synonymous with unique beer and beer-styles. One of the few countries placed at the pinnacle of beer culture by drinkers throughout the world; few can deny Belgium is a byword for authenticity and quality. It is unsurprising, therefore, that Belgian beer festivals are gaining a reputation to match—and it’s not just Belgian beer festivals that only celebrate local brews. The last couple of years has seen a rise in the number of world-class international Craft Beer festivals held in Belgium that attract participants and visitors from across the globe.
One of the benchmark Craft Beer Festivals spearheading the current propensity to offering visitors an extra-special, value-added experience is BXLBeerFest. Following its ambitious success last year, BXLBeerFest returns to Brussels for a second time this weekend.
BXLBeerFest is once again being held in the former Tour & Taxis railway station-cum-impressively renovated industrial landmark located a few minutes’ walk from the city centre in the northwest port area. For the sake of English-speaking visitors wondering about the tour and looking for the taxis, Tour & Taxis was a railway station built in the early 20th century for cargo arriving in the city and it was actually named after the “Thurn und Tassis” family who were instrumental in founding European postal services. BXLBeerFest is held in the Sheds, the former warehouses at the rear of the complex.
Organisers Jean Hummler, Olivier Desmet, Kevin Desmet and Vincent Callut are once again dedicated to making BXLBeerFest “The Crossroads of Beers & Friends”, an event that welcomes everybody—beer enthusiasts, casual drinkers and the fortuitous passers-by who will have perchanced upon a highlight of the 2018 European Beer Festival calendar.
Industrial beer giants are not welcome at BXLBeerFest; there will be no pink elephants, no gnomes and no monks—just honest Craft Beer (and cider) from 60 artisanal brewers. Each brewery will be serving four beers at any one time, with over 300 beers (18,000 litres) expected across the weekend.
Being that BXL Beer Fest is held in Brussels—a city associated with a certain beer style that attracts beer lovers from all over the world—it is to be expected that the number of Belgian lambic beers on offer over the weekend is high. Over 40% of participating breweries at BXL Beer Fest are from Belgium, with the USA claiming the second highest number of breweries with 5. Canada, the UK and Italy are represented by 4 breweries each, and France and the Netherlands follow closely behind with 3 each. There are 2 breweries each from Denmark, Germany, Poland, Spain and Sweden, and 1 brewery coming from Switzerland.
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of any beer festival for a connoisseur is the opportunity to speak with representatives of the breweries. Although many beers have travelled great distances to be at BXL Beer Fest, all brewery stands will be operated by the brewery owners or brewers themselves—ably assisted by the BXL Beer Fest army of loyal volunteers, all of whom are at the core of BXL Beer Fest’s success.
It’s not just about beer. BXL Beer Fest adds value by offering beer workshops to its visitors across the weekend, or culinary workshops with some of Brussels’ most respected chefs. Visitors have ample opportunity to learn about beer, try some food-beer pairings, and hear breweries’ stories.
For visitors wishing to try their own food-beer pairings, there will be several outdoor food-trucks on the spacious terrace, where there is also plenty of seats for sun-worshipers to relax.
Holding BXL Beer Fest in the Sheds also has the added advantage of space, meaning there is plenty of quiet seating or standing areas for conversation or silent contemplation in the company of a wonderful beer. The Sheds’ skylights allow vast amounts of natural light to enter, creating a welcoming bright and airy atmosphere that many other indoor beer festivals lack.
One of BXL Beer Fest’s most popular and unique practices is providing its visitors with a clean glass for every beer, optimising the beer’s taste and removing the need for visitors to carry, safeguard and clean their own individual glass throughout the day. This is a simple, yet ground-breaking innovation that excels BXL Beer Fest into the category of impressive. Again, thanks ought to be given to the volunteers for tirelessly collecting, washing and refurnishing the supply of clean glasses across the weekend.
The beers of participating breweries are also for sale over the weekend in the BXL Beer Fest Bottle Shop, so any visitor finding a particularly interesting, tasty beer can purchase a take-away bottle(s) to drink at home or share with friends.
If all the positives aren’t enough, there is also the value-for-money element to consider. Pre-purchased entrance tickets via the website cost only €5 per day or €9 for both days (€10 and €15 respectively on the day). Discounted packages are also available that include beer tokens, both for daily entry and weekend entry. Once inside, beer tokens are only €1 each—each beer costs 1 or more tokens.
BXL Beer Fest is held on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August, from 12:00 to 21:00, at Tour & Taxis, Havenlaan 86C, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.