On 21 July 21 1831, King Leopold I ascended to the throne of the newly independent Belgium. One hundred-and sevety-nine years later, a growing political rift between Wallonia (the predominantly French-speaking, southern half of Belgium) and Flanders (the predominantly Dutch-speaking, northern half of Belgium), may be placing that union in jeopardy. So, celebrate now, as are these restaurants in Washington, D.C.:
Saturday, July 17th: Mussels Throwdown at Belga Café – As part of their week-long Belgian National Day Celebration, Chefs Bart Vandaele of Belga Café, Robert Wiedmaier of Brasserie Beck, and Claudio Pirollo of Et Voila! will throw down for the "Master of Mussels" crown. The competition will be judged by some of DC's finest foodies. 202-544-0100 for reservation info. Noon to 2pm.
Sunday, July 18th: St. Arnoldus Day at ChurchKey – Featuring Four Delicious Belgian Drafts. Beginning at 4pm, ChurchKey will celebrate the Patron Saint of Brewing--St. Arnoldus--by featuring four classic Belgian Ales and giving away some gorgeous Belgian glassware. Beers will be priced individually in 4oz and full glass pours. 202-567-2576 or www.churchkeydc.com.
Sunday, July 18th: Non-Traditional Waffle Brunches at Belga Café, Brasserie Beck, Et Voila – As part of their week-long Belgian National Day Celebration, each of the Belgian National Day Celebration restaurants will hold brunches featuring "non-traditional" Belgian Waffle dishes. Drop in or call the restaurant for reservations. 11:30am-3pm. 202-544-0100 or www.belgacafe.com.
Monday, July 19th: ChurchKey Celebrates Belgian Independence Day with Rodenbach Classic and Palm Speciale – ChurchKey will be pouring Rodenbach Classic and Palm Speciale on Draft in honor of Belgian Independence Day. Come and celebrate this great nation and its wonderful brewing tradition. Free Rodenbach glassware beginning at 6pm. 202-567-2576.
Monday, July 19th: Mussels from Brussels at Brasserie Beck – As part of their week-long Belgian National Day Celebration, Brasserie Beck will feature a special three-course menu highlighting mussel creations from Chefs Vandaele, Wiedmaier and Pirollo. 5-11pm. Drop in or call for reservations. 202-408-1717 or www.beckdc.com.
Tuesday, July 20th: Belgian Chocolate Fest at Et Voila! – Enjoy a day filled with chocolate creations and Belgian beers at Et Voila! Call 202-237-2300 for details. 5-10pm. www.etvoiladc.com
This listing of events courtesy Hop Tips at Mid-Atlantic Brewing News. The column can be received as an email bulletin: here.
One invaluable source for information on Belgium and its beers, read Belgian Beer & Travel, the blog of Baltimore, Maryland-based beer writer Chuck Cook.