Dienstag, 15. November 2016

Limburgse bierweekend 2016 - a very different beer festival

Limburgse bierweekend 2016

Today a summary of the strangest beer even I have been – “Limburgse bierweekend 2016”. Until the last moment I am perplexed what to write about it, because I have a lot of mixed feelings. Let’s start with the facts – Beer weekend is organized by the local Beer Friends (Limburgse Biervrienden), once per year, since 22 years. This year’s edition (23) is the last one. As one of the helpers told me - “Our leaders are getting older and are tired of all the work that is put in the event. They also think 23 is the great number to finish”.
Please, do not blame me, that’s exactly what I have heard.
This years’ event was planned for 3 days and there were proud 120+ beers to try (12 from the tap). For the full list of the beers lease check here (http://www.limburgse-biervrienden.be/bierlijst-2016.html). Because of the circumstances, I have visited it on the last day.
Beer weekend was held in the Cultuurcentrum Hasselt, located close to the centre of the town of Hasselt*.
Immediately after seeing, I loved the indoor location, because it prevents direct smoking. At the entrance we were welcome by very nice gentleman, who has briefly explained us the rules. Very simple one – introduction price of 10 euro will cover for a festival glass, a booklet and a few tokens to get a beer. Each beer from the tap is 1 euro. Fair price. Prices of the bottled beer will vary.

The Booklet itself is something that is worth mentioning. Especially, since it’s the best one I have ever seen. It contains names of the beer and their short, but very informative description. Beers are sorted by style, but there is also a list sorted by name. Having all this info – I was missing a bit a list sorted by a numb. Still a great help.

Welcome view was a very attractive presentation of many beer bottles. Almost as good as in my basement. 

Behind, there was a great hall filled with tables. Beer ambiente was provided by flags of different breweries. 

12 taps on the left and a row of fridges on next to it. Nothing more, not a single stand of the brewery. WTF I thought. The explanation is simple – it seems that the local organization is organizing a kind of re-selling party. Really a strange way to run a festival. On the other thing – it seems that locals were accepting it for 23 years…

But, this was not the worst part – the worst part started when I have notices that they have flags with numbers for each beer hanging below the ceiling. Bloody hell, at the beginning of the third day already 60% of beers were missing.

Shit, and double shit. Why would you like to run a festival and be that way not prepared? Seriously – I could understand that 1-2 beers were missing. OK. I could even handle 10%, but 60%. This is not my first festival, but the first time I see the situation like that. With all respect – it is a joke!

This was the last event in the series, so enough for this – for me the diseaster of the year on the local beer scene.

Just to be exact, a small stage with a presenter opening the day and doing the tombolas every hour.

Just to be honest out of my list of 12 beers to test, only 3 were left. And here is what I think:

Jack’s Precious IPA
De Proefbrij vr The Musketeers

A positive side of the festival. I have never had this one before, but if you want to try nice, modern world-type IPA made in Belgium this one is good. Clear hops in aroma. Fresh grass and citrus in both aroma and taste. Really close to the taste of Lagunitas. May still lack a bit to the top beers in a style, but it is still a very good one.

Spencer Trappist IPA
Brewery Spencer

As it seems breweries from USA can also get Trappist certification. And they are trying to connect Trappist tradition with American brewing art. Therefore, a Trappist IPA. Definitely more Trappist than IPA. Very strong, heavily yeasty. For a good side – there is a solid addition of bittering hops (Perle). Sadly aroma hops were either not present in the brewing process, or they were killed by the yeast. OK, but far from being great.   

BTW. The photo was edited by my daughter. I love her work.

Full of Hops White IPA
Het Nest

IPA? Where? It’s a beer flavored water for me. Poor aroma and taste. Its not even a beginners beer. Dissolve Jacks Precious IPA 10 times in water and you get that one. Bad.

*under circumstances, this could be a day saver. Hasselt is a capital of the Limburg province and could be a nice place to visit, if not the freezing cold and a pouring rain.

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