Event night: Wednesday, 20 November 2019, starting at 20.00
We’ve set up a trading arrangement with Belgian to get some great beers in. We don’t need Brexit or Remain or Conservative or Labour to tell us how to run a pub.
The Retreat has a history of selling Belgian beer. To celebrate this, we’ve ordered a great selection of bottles for you to enjoy. Our list will include the following, all subject to availability of course:
Chimay Blue abv 9.%
Daas Blond abv 6.5% (gluten-free)
Duvel abv 9%
Hoegaarden Witbier abv 4.9%
Leffe Blonde abv 6%
St. Bernardus Pater 6 abv 6.7%
Trappistes Rochefort abv 9.2%
Vedett Extra Blond abv 5.2%
+ a very special British beer, Tynt Meadow
The history of Belgian beer
Beer in Belgium varies from pale lager to amber ales, lambic beers, Flemish red ales, sour brown ales, strong ales and stouts. In 2016, there were approximately 224 active breweries in Belgium, including international companies, such as AB InBev, and traditional breweries including Trappist monasteries.
On average, Belgians drink 84 litres of beer each year, down from around 200 each year in 1900. Most beers are bought or served in bottles, rather than cans, and almost every beer has its own branded, sometimes uniquely shaped, glass.
In 2016, UNESCO inscribed Belgian beer culture on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Brewing in Belgium dates back to at least the 12th century. Under the Catholic Church’s permission, local French and Flemish abbeys brewed and distributed beer as a fundraising method. The relatively low-alcohol beer of that time was preferred as a sanitary option to available drinking water. What are now traditional, artisanal brewing methods evolved, under abbey supervision, over the next seven centuries.
The Trappist monasteries that now brew beer in Belgium were occupied in the late 18th century primarily by monks fleeing the French Revolution. However, the first Trappist brewery in Belgium (Westmalle) did not start operation until 10 December 1836, almost fifty years after the Revolution. That beer was exclusively for the monks and is described as “dark and sweet.” The first recorded sale of beer (a brown beer) was on 1 June 1861.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, a beer termed crabbelaer was the most popular beer in Ghent; at the peak of its popularity, more than 50 different breweries produced more than 6 million litres a year. Other kinds of beer brewed in Ghent were klein bier, dubbel bier, clauwaert, dubbele clauwaert and dusselaer.