Photo: Todd and Jason Alström with Duvel Brewmaster Hedwig Neven
Over the past weekend, I attended the Beeradvocate Belgian Beer Fest for the third year in a row, and I'm happy to say this one was another very successful event for the Alström Brothers, Jason & Todd. "All three sessions sold out several days in advance" Todd told me happily, as we spoke during the "Night of the Funk" on Friday, September 26.
About 500 tickets were sold to the "Night of the Funk" which featured standout brews like Cambridge Brewing Delilah, a blend of barrel aged strong golden ale with Brettanomyces Anomalous and Bruxellensis, and an herbed blonde gruit beer.
I had lunch at Cambridge the same day, and brewmaster Will Meyers was doing some experimental blending while I was there. The food and beers at Cambridge are very good, and it's a must stop while in the Boston area.
Other brews such as Deschutes The Dissident (sort of in the style of Rodenbach Grand Cru); Ithaca Beer Co. Vitus and Champagne Grissette; New Belgium Love; The Bruery Saison Rue; and Lost Abbey's entire lineup of Cable Car 08, Cuvee de Tomme, Saint's Devotion 08 and Sinners 08 were superb.
There was a speaker panel Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Duvel/Moortgat brewmaster Hedwig Neven spoke about the new Duvel draft during the Saturday evening session. Hedwig said the Duvel draft is a new beer, with a reformulated recipe. It weighs in at 6.8% abv and is deceptively drinkable, with a light body. A side by side tasting of Duvel Draft and bottle-conditioned Duvel was lead by Hedwig for an interested crowd. Note that the Duvel Draft is not the same beer as the "Red" labeled bottle-conditioned Duvel: "You'd never go from 6.8% abv to 8.5% abv with just bottle-conditioning" Hedwig told me. "You might get half a percent abv at the most. The new Duvel Draft is a different beer from the bottle-conditioned Duvel" he continued.
There was a plethora of great brews during both Saturday sessions. With about 1,000 tickets sold per session, the fest remained comfortable and not packed to the gills as other beer fests sometimes are. There was good food available, such as waffles, Flemish Beef stew, mussels, bratwursts and more. A chocolatier was on hand, and the free samples were very well received. I know, as I went back for seconds and thirds. Fourths, even!
See http://beeradvocate.com for info on future Beeradvocate beer fests at the Cyclorama in Boston. The next BA fest is the Extreme Beer Fest February 20-21, 2009.
Patrick and Rachel Rue, of the Bruery. Their beers were very well enjoyed at the fest!