BXLBeerFest: Why I’m So Excited To Go!

The Top Things About BXLBeerFest

Good honest beers. Independent breweries. A relaxed atmosphere that also focuses on food.

Umm…say no more. Mama’s coming.

I haven’t been this excited to check out a beer festival in a long time. On August 25-26th, I’m heading to Brussels (with Hubs and Wee Man in tow) to attend the second (only!) year of the BXLBeerFest. Organized by a dream team of Brussels beer greatness, the festival aims to keep Brussel’s place amongst the top on the list of best beer cities in the world. I’m not sure that the city needs much help in that regard, but they apparently do so I’ll go along with it. I’ll go drink beer from some of the most exciting artisanal breweries from around the world for a weekend if it helps.

I’ve been stalking the fest’s Facebook page for awhile now to keep up with what they’ve got in store and to see what they’ve been adding to the ever-growing list of attending breweries. Now that it’s all mostly coming together, here’s what I’m looking forward to the most:

The Breweries

Breweries at a beer festival!? Ya don’t say…

Of course there are loads of exciting breweries that have accepted the invitation to pour at this year’s sour-ale-heavy BXLBeerFest: from Cantillon to Jester King to Beerbliotek,–I mean, just typing those words makes me want to get all Wayne and Garth (yep, I’m old-ish). But I’m actually more excited to meet and try some of the up-and-coming or lesser-known brewers doing amazing things. I’m looking at you:

Brauerei Kemker 

These guys popped up on my radar because they’re located relatively close to me in Germany. They are doing things with farmhouse ales and using local ingredients that few are doing in Germany. I’m looking forward to meeting them, trying their beer and–hopefully–shouting from the rooftops about them.

Tommie Sjef Wild Ales

Another small brewer doing big flavorful things with locally-grown, organic ingredients. It’s obvious by the name that this Netherlands-based brewer has some sour, wild flavors coming out of his wooden barrels.

Popihn 

According to the beer list it looks like this French brewery will be bringing on more hops than the funk. I’ve heard good things so far but haven’t had a chance to try them yet. I’m excited to hopefully add another brewery to my rather small list of “French breweries that I like.” Them and Hoppy Road.

The Events

This isn’t just your sit-around-and-drink beer festival. Those are fun and all, but the organizers have gone to great lengths to have this festival really put Brussels on the map. There’s a pre-party on Friday night as well several Beer Talks from some of the esteemed brewers in attendance.

The Cantillon Beer Talk sold out extremely fast, apparently. I’m more excited to go and listen to the Tommie Sjef talk about his beers.

The organizers are also keen to incorporate gastronomy and beer pairing into the festival. They’ve organized culinary workshops and food-pairing events with some of the finest local chefs. I don’t have any specifics on those as of yet but, best believe, I’ll be there with a fork. And then head over to the food trucks after.

The Vibe

With some 60 breweries from all over the world, more than 100 volunteers and thousands of patrons expected it sounds like this could be a crowded affair. However, the organizers–Jean Hummler, Olivier Desmet, Kevin Desmet and Vincent Callut–are determined to make this an experience that everyone from the beer-geek to the beer-geek-with-toddler (umm..me) to the curious tourist will love.

The relaxed, convivial vibe is what will make this beer festival stand out from others. In order to achieve that, they hired a rather large event space to accommodate all of us (and the over 300 beers!) so there will be enough breathing room to talk to each other, talk to your friends and talk to the brewers. That’s what we go to beer festivals for, right?

Can you tell that I’m excited now?

This festival is designed to be all that is great about beer culture: relaxing and enjoying the company of others, learning about and drinking great beer, appreciating high-quality, hand-made products. If this doesn’t make you put Brussels into your GPS, I’m not sure what will.

Beer, food and cool people. So, I’ll see you at BXLBeerFest 2018?

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