Food and Wine’s Belgium Booth Misses the Target
Leffe Blonde, Leffe Brune, Hoegaarden, and Stella Artois. Seemingly a varied selection of beers for the 2012 Epcot Food and Wine Festival’s Belgium booth. While they all are Belgian beers, they are also all owned by AB-InBev. While I have nothing against these particular beers, I also feel like Disney didn’t really try; they just called up the AB-InBev distributor and said “Give us some Belgian beers.”
Belgium has a long and storied brewing history; it is home of six of the seven Trappist breweries and many other abbey breweries. Many breweries outside of Belgium take inspiration from Belgian beers for their own. Unibroue’s brewing process is inspired by the Trappist monks in Belgium, while beers such as North Coast Brewing’s Pranqster are Belgian-style ales. Why limit the Belgium booth to the selections of AB-InBev other than convenience?
If not these four beers, what should be served at the Belgium booth?
- Duvel – the flagship beer of the Duvel Moortgat brewery; this is the definitive Belgian Golden Ale and widely available.
- Chimay Red – one of the widely distributed beers of the Chimay Brewery inside Scourmont Abbey, a Trappist brewery in Belgium. Chimay Red is a dark brown dubbel.
- Lindemans Framboise – a fruit lambic beer made with raspberries. Lambic is a unique style of beer brewed in Brussels as well as the region southwest of Brussels. It has strong sweet and sour tastes.
- Hoegaarden - it makes sense that the white beer (witbier) named for the town known for its witbiers since the Middle Ages should be served. Witbier has become a very popular style (Blue Moon, etc.) and even though Hoegaarden is owned by AB-InBev, it is still brewed in the town of Hoegaarden, Belgium.
The four beers above are easy to find and are an improvement over the current selection. Stella, while Belgian, really isn’t a style of beer that Belgium is known for. I liked Leffe Blonde when I tried it last year, but Duvel is a better beer. It and Leffe Brune are brewed in the Stella Artois brewery; although it is still called an abbey ale, it’s no longer brewed at the Leffe Abbey. Overall, I think my choices above better represent Belgium, its history, and its wide variety of beer styles.