How about those European beers!

Ok lack of imagination for titles on my post well you know me by now… I like to tackle a special subject that can be travel related too. I if reading my blog very much into wines , collector, drinker, and amateur lover of the grapes and my god Bacchus ! Certified connasseur by France and Spain. However, I do indulge in other drinks such as beers.

For a friendly chat or apéro as we call it in France, sort of a happy hour US or after work UK, we tend to dwell into beers for the better and quicker conversation lol! Over the years I have appreciated them more and more and by now in my home we tend to divide the subject depending on the type of food we are going to serve. A barbecue of course it is always beers!  Therefore, let me write something on my favorite beers, as have done in the past with those of Brittany and others in my blog. Other than Breton, like the Duchesse Anne triple as the French do not know beers , sorry!!! we drink Belgians, Irish, or German beers at home and at bars. Of course, while in Spain , we do drink the beers there but only our favorite from Madrid Mahou. Lately, we have been trying Czech beers too lol!!!

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Belgian beers are among the most varied and the most numerous beer collections in the world. They vary from the very popular “pils” to the exclusively Belgian appellations of lambic (spontaneous fermentation), old brunette, red beer or raw beer through the famous Trappists! and other Abbey or seasonal beers.  Since 2016, Belgian beer has been inscribed in the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO under the title: beer cultivation in Belgium.

The Guild of the Brewers of Bruges saw the day in 1308, that of Liège in 1357 and that of Brussels in 1365. In the 16C, the “Maison de l’Arbre d’Or” (house of the golden tree) on the Grand-Place in Brussels was bought by the Brewers from the upholsterers. Restored in 1638, the Brewers ‘ House was destroyed during the bombing of Brussels by Marshal Villeroy in 1695. Rebuilt between 1698 and 1707, it is embellished in 1749. After the abolition of the corporations, it was sold as a State property in 1793 under the French occupation. A bit of more recent history, in 1934: the monks of Westmalle brew the first triple, yes! In 1954, the House of Brewers on the Grand Place of Brussels becomes a corporatist house. In addition to the Brewers Guild and the Chevalerie du Fourquet, it houses a brewery museum in the basement (yes very nice). In  2007, was the creation of the Belgian family brewers label bringing together the family Breweries of more than 50 years of existence.  In 2008,  InBev merges with the American brewer Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch InBev is thus created and maintains its position as a world leader.

Authentic Trappist product at the moment, and six are located in Belgium: West-Vleteren, Westmalle (yes!) , Achel, Rochefort, Orval and Chimay (yes!). We know the doubles of the Trappist abbeys, but also the Sint Bernardus Pater, Maredsous (yes!)  and the Witkap Dubbel. The white beers, this type of beer, aged 400 years ago, had disappeared in the  1950’s, but was revived by Pierre Celis in his brewery in Hoegaarden.

Belgium beers webpage on tourism of beers

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Guinness  is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries, and available in over 120.  The acquisition in 1986 of Distillers company, a Scottish group, including the brands of Johnnie Walker, Ballantine’s or Chivas Regal whiskies. Guinness PLC disappeared in 1997, the date of the creation of the company Diageo PLC by merger-acquisition with Grand Metropolitan.

The Guinness is a stout, a black beer topped with white foam, known worldwide for its flavor and its special appearance. Guinness is strongly linked to the history of Ireland; it is one of the symbols at the international level. The brand uses a Celtic harp such as that of Brian Boru or Trinity College as part of its visual identity. This 14C harp model is one of the traditional symbols of Ireland since the reign of Henry VIII in the 16C. Guinness used the harp as a symbol in 1862 and then as a logo deposited in 1876. However, it is reversed compared to that of the national coats of arms.

This beer is a stout, a type of beer of high fermentation from the beers porter that became famous in the 18C in London. It’s almost black brown color (but which is actually deep red; to be seen in the light) comes from the use for its design of highly roasted malts and roasted barley grains. The cream-colored foam layer that caps the beer is the result of a nitrogen addition during the draught . This latter characteristic poses the difficulty of obtaining an identical flavor and texture between the Guinness pressure and those sold in bottles and cans. In 2016, under the pressure of vegans, Guinness modifies its ancestral recipe; it renounces to use the traditional fish-native bladders to filter and lighten its beer and now uses a new filtration process. their beers are now Vegan

The Guinness draught is the flagship variety of the Guinness range; it is also the best-selling beer in Ireland. The extra stout is a separate range within the Guinness range of beers. Stronger, more “corsed”, with more pronounced bitterness, the extra stout is also exported abroad under the name foreign extra stout.

Official Guinness and its beers

Diageo corporate owner of Guinness

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The German beer (we drink most) originates in the high Middle Ages. For centuries, beer has been part of German culture and gastronomy, and the country is studded of Bierpalast (“beer Palace”), Biergarten (“beer garden”), Bierstube (“Brasserie”), Bierkeller (“beer cellar”), Bierhaus (“house beer “) and Bierzelt (” beer tent “) found at the many beer festivals.  In Germany there are a large number of types of beers but the immense success of the pilsener  dominating 70% of the market eclipsing many regional varieties, apart from the export and the Weissbier which occupy about 10% of the internal market.

In 736 in Geisenfeld in Bavaria, there is a mention of a fermented beverage based on barley. In 766, mention was made of the oldest beer delivery from Geisingen to the Abbey of St. Gallen (Switzerland). In 974, the first brewing authorization was given by the Emperor Otto II of the Holy Roman Empire to the Church of Liège (Belgium).

The Thuringian have a document of 1434 (Wirtshausgesetz) written in Weißensee, which states the only ingredients allowed: water, barley, hops. Decrees in Regensburg in 1453 or Landshut in 1493 prohibit any aromatization except that of hops. In 1842 also arrives from Bohemia, the pilsener which was to be immediately successful.

During the recasting of the Biersteuergesetz in 1993, the rules of the former are maintained as a preliminary law of beer and the tax provisions transferred. Now the regulation on the eligible ingredients is no longer valid only for the production of beer in Germany for the German market. Imported beer is not subject to these regulations; and German Brewers can also escape if they produce for export, unless they receive exemptions for special beers. Now the beers still adhering to its principles are classified among the traditional Lebensmittel (“traditional foods”) and protected also by European decree. The Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law)  is in fact the longest existing law ensuring the food quality of a product for health.

The German beers are legally classified according to their densities: Einfachbiere (“simple beers”) , Schankbiere (“consumer beers” at pressure), Vollbiere (” “complete beers”) , representing more than 90% of the production, Starkbiere (‘ strong beers ‘) or Bockbiere .  To which are added two genres apart: Lückenbiere, all beers banned before 1993 under the classification of the time ; Biermischgetränke, variegated drinks or cocktails based on beer and fruit juice, aroma or energizing. The beers are also classified by type or style so very many!

Centrally and industrialized in the North, breweries are more artisanal and more localized in the South. Only Bavaria contains half of the 1 300 breweries in the country and 4 000 of the 5 000 beer brands produced. The largest concentration of breweries in the world is located next to Bamberg, in the upper Franconia region of Bavaria. The Weihenstephan Abbey founded in 725 holds the oldest brewery still in operation (since 1040).  In 2004 Oettinger dethrone Krombacher (my favorite!) from the top of the biggest breweries

Since 1810, the Oktoberfest has been the largest party in the world for two weeks in Munich. Beer consumption here reaches its peak; there are only doses of one liter. Almost as well known and famous in Germany, the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart is also a huge festival. The Deutschen Bieres Tag (“German beer day”) is celebrated on April 23rd since 1994 in honor of the famous Reinheitsgebot law.

Popular beers of Germany webpage

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Czech beer has a long and complex history. The first known brewery in the region dates back to 1118. The city of Brno had been recognized for brewing rights as early as the 12C, while the two cities traditionally associated with Czech beer namely Plzeň and České Budějovice, have had a brewery since the 13C. The history of modern beer in the Czech regions (Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia) dates back to the creation of the Pilsner Urquell in 1842 which revolutionized the brewing industry. Previously, Bohemia was famous for its wheat beers, known in Czech under the term “světlé pivo” (light beer), the equivalent of the German “weissbier” or the Belgian “witbier”. Most of the large and medium-sized cities owned at least one brewery. But the largest breweries were in České Budějovice , Plzeň , and Prague. Important breweries were also found in the towns of Rakovník, Žatec  and Třeboň.

The two most famous (and most exported) Czech beer brands are Pilsner Urquell, the first and archetype of Pilsner beers and Budweiser Budvar . Other major brands include Bernard, Gambrinus, Krušovice, Radegast, Starobrno, Staropramen, Velkopopovický Kozel and Svijany. Budweiser beer produced in the Czech Republic (founded in 1795 and having begun exporting to the United States in 1871); American Bud produced in the United States since 1876. A verdict of the European Court of Justice of July 2010 stipulates that Budweiser beer has the exclusive use of the Budweiser brand throughout the European Union. Its a case of the little country devasted by wars vs the big giant marketing and immigration power.

According to the Czech law, beers are divided into the following categories, regardless of their style and colour: Lehké, a light beer that stands at 8 ° Výčepní, a table beer that is between 8 ° and 10 °  Ležák, a classic Lager beer which is between 11 ° and 12.99 ° premium, for beers exceeding the threshold of 13 °. Originally, Pilsner just meant that the beer was breated in Plzeň. By extension, the term now refers to a pale and hoppy Lager beer. The Czech Beer Festival in Prague is the largest beer Festival in the Czech Republic and is held for 17 days each year in May!. It is possible to taste more than 70 different brands of Czech beers. The Pilsner festival is a two-day beer festival held each year in October by the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzeň.

Original Czech beers webpage

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And there you, actually the main beer producing and historical countries in the world. We just take a few of their beers for personal and family enjoyment, drink in moderation ,it is all for fun as well as keeping the traditions! However, the beers of Ireland, Germany, Belgium and the Czech Republic are all very good indeed!!! Hope you can enjoy them too.

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And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

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