Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In the U.S., toasting Belgian Beer Royalty today

Today is the King's Feast ...

the country of Belgium celebrates its King, the monarchy and the sovereign. This holiday was first established in 1866, roughly 35 years after achieving independence from Holland, the last of the 13 overlords that dominated the country. Even though they were ruled by so many other countries, they never absorbed into them and were able to hold onto things that were culturally important, one of them being beer.

Celebrate here in the U.S., today, with an organized coast-coast toast.

Well, actually it's a virtual toast with Wendy Littlefield and Don Feinberg, but you might easily consider them beer royalty. Thirty years ago, the duo founded Vanberg & DeWulf to import Belgian beers. Try to remember a thirsty time without much Begian beer in the US, and 30 years ago would be just about right. Before Wendy and Don, there was no Duvel here, no Scaldis, no Saison Dupont.

Sunlit archway

Since then, Wendy and Don have been enthusiastic proponents of biere vivant, of good living with beer. Check their website for cooking with beer, for example. They were the original importers of the gorgeous sour red ale Rodenbach. And, they were the founders and original owners of Ommegang, a beautiful farmhouse brewery in Cooperstown, New York, one of the first breweries in U.S. to exclusively brew Belgian-style ales.

Nearly 400 restaurants, bars, and beer shops across the U.S. are participating. Go here for the list. (Be sure to click on "more" at the bottom of the page.) Follow on Twitter at @belgianexpert, and on Facebook.


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