Post updated; see below.
We are quickly approaching the tenth edition of Cheers to Belgian Beers, which comes on May 13-14. The original idea behind this fest was educational, to “help introduce Oregonians to the breadth of style and flavors of beers brewed in Belgium.” (That comes from the press release.) Initially, brewers just agreed to use the same yeast strain and brew whatever they liked. As it evolved, the Oregon Brewers Guild, which organizes it, tweaked the structure so breweries didn’t all brew the same type of beer; they’re now sorted by color and strength.
All good so far, right? Well, I wonder. Does it still serve its mission? Are people learning anything about Belgian beer? As a way of getting ready for the fest, I wondered if it might not be useful to consider some of the hallmarks of Belgian brewing and then see how well the fest reveals these to people.
We think of “Belgian” as a pretty good description for a school of beers … until we think about them very much. In fa …
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