Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Raise a Glass to the Classics

1 month, six races, and 1 cheater later

Let’s raise a glass as April slips away and the Classics are now a memory. Ah but not just any glass, a glass of Belgium’s finest. So on your next trip to the “store” search out the best. There are only seven breweries in the world officially entitled to call themselves “Authentic Trappiste Breweries”. Six are located in Belgium and one is in the Netherlands, (la biere trappiste) they are :

Achel, Westmalle, Rochefort, Chimay, Westvleteren, Orval, and Koningshoeven (La Trappe)

It is time to learn to order a beer:
  • Flemish Belgium (Dutch north): to order a standard working class Belgian beer ask for een pintje (a pint, pronounced "ayn pinch ya"). An pintje is beer like jupiler, stella, maes, and other Beers in this category. The better Belgian beers - Rodenbach, kriek, gauze…. are always called by the name of the beer. This is also true for the trapist beers above. To order these it is best to order them by name.
  • French-speaking Belgium (French south): ask for une bière (pronounced "oon bee-yair").
Other things you need to know:
How to say “one more beer please”:
In Dutch: Nog een pintje a.u.b.
In French: Encore une biérre s’il vous plait
In German: Noch ein bier bitte

In Flemish Belgium (Dutch north), a stamcafe is where the locals hang out.

“Cheers” is proost or gezondheid in Flemish (north), and santé (sahn-tay) in French (south). They also say ‘Santé’ in the North but this is more dialect. Obviously it is very important to know where you are at all times in Belgium, so a map is always handy.

What you should eat with your Beer:
Specialties like mussels, the world's best fries (frites!), wild hare, hop sprouts, leeks, smoked ham from the Ardennes region, soups, eels, a variety of tarts and of course waffles.

Read more about Belgian Trappist Beer and more history about Beer and the Monks

Next stop – ITALY! and the Giro d'Italia beginning May 9th!

No comments: