Kerstbierfestival - part 3 - Gerard's trip to the south- the beer list
Posted by Gunter aka March on 01/06/2004 03:11:31 PM
On December 4, our chairman Gerard toured about 730 km through the south of Belgium that day, and that's quit a lot, if you consider that Belgium from Northwest to southeast is only 300km. First stop at around 8am in Jambes, just outside of Namur. Picking up "Le Jamboise de Bister de NoŽl" at the local mustard factory. Brasserie de Rulles, Les Trois Brasseurs in Athus and also Brasserie de Bouillon, were friendly stops on his way. A serious detour he had to make to Brasserie des Fagnes in Mariembourg (Hainaut province) The brewer had told him that his Brassin de NoŽl des Fagnes, would be available in the local supermarkets. Gerard stopped at at least 6 supermarkets, but he never saw a glimpse of anything from Br. des Fagnes. Nothing else to do but to drive 100km around to MariembourgÖbut to find a pleasant surprise. Waiting for his crates of the Christmas beer we ordered, he saw a poster announcing Triple de NoŽl ! "What's this?" He asked the brewer. "Oh", answered the brewer, "that's our new Christmas Triple, only available here in the microbrewery, but if you like, and you have a few moments, I can fill a keg for your festival" Our chairman sure had twenty minutes for thisÖ
His final stop before he went home was the village of Hennuyres to pick up a new batch of 200 O.B.E.R. tasting glasses.
The same evening we had a meeting at Gerard's place. He had just got back from his trip an hour earlier, and showed up with three possible new beers. Most important one I already mentioned above: Triple de NoŽl, by Br. des Fagnes. Other possibles were from Brasserie de Bouillon. La saison de Chasse/Het Jachtseizoen (the Hunting season) .Gerard had brought two bottles with him: Blonde and Ambrťe. We tasted them at the meeting, but no one of us thought they were really extraordinary, and it was more a fall seasonal than one to warm in the winter. So we decided that they would not make it to the list. Amen.
By the way: Gerard shared a Magnum bottle Bush Millennium with us on that meeting, and a 10 year old Westvleteren 12 (of which he still has several crates !) I slept well when I got home.
The Affligem de NoŽl was another beer we would have liked to have had. We heard from different sources about this special Affligem Christmas brew, only to be sold in France, as with the Leffe de NoŽl, we had to contact the brewery to get an address in France, where we would be able to pick it up.
Communication problems between De Smedt brewery and owner-distributor Heineken meant that we got the address to pick up the Affligem de NoŽl way too late. Jan had already driven to France to get the Leffe de NoŽl, and driving this 300 km twice would have been ridiculous. You might think so, but weíre not that crazy.
Dec 11 we had a final meeting at Beer shop Van Oevelen.
I spent most of the time behind a computer, shaving the final edges of the tasting notes booklet. Don't get me wrong: I'm not the one that does the tasting notes, Most of the work has been done over the years at prť-festival meetings by Jan Van Bragt. I just edited the booklet, with help of our PR-man-and-nitpick Herman Van der Ven. As I wrote earlier two new beers were brought in that day by Jan Van Bragt, who went to pick up beers in Hainaut: Bush de NoŽl Premium (75cl bottles, refermented in the bottle) and Blanche de NoŽl, from Abbaye des Rocs, a special brew for export to the US. Yes this happens two days before the festival!
Chairman Gerard also showed us the glass cleaners. Nice system, it would give us more time to serve beer, spending less time washing glasses, and a more 'waterproof' system for the use of the glasses. One minor detail was that that area of the hall became pretty wet from dripping glasses.
When I got home after the meeting I got back to my computer, reading and editing the English notes I got from English OBER member David Kernick, and putting the beer lists by brewery and by beer name ready to print, getting the website up-to-date and e-mail everyone that showed interest in our festival. I managed to crawl in bed around 2.15AM.
Early phone call the nest day at 7.45AM wakes me: it's Herman: He went over the list and noticed there was something wrong with the numbers of the beers. And yes he was right, La Moche de NoŽl was still in the list, and the "Special Oerbier Reserva" aged in oak casks, wasn't on its spot near the end of the list. Checking and getting everything in it's place, putting it on the internet, and sending my final "kerstbiernieuws" held my busy for more than one hour again Ė and I had to get to work!
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