Where do we go from here?
We’re adding new beers and formats from breweries long part of our artisanal collection (Dupont, Dubuisson, and Castelain). We are building on beers of our own invention (Lambickx, Lambrucha, and Hop Ruiter). We are showcasing new breweries from Belgium, Italy, Iceland, and the UK: (Dilewyns, Amiata, Ölvisholt, and Green Jack).
The Vanberg & DeWulf seal encircles twenty-five distinct beer styles from eleven breweries in five nations. We remain dedicated to careful research and meticulous editing so that we only bring you beers we believe worth your time and money. And as always, they all come from independent, family-run breweries.
“Of all Gauls the best brewers are the Belgians.” —Julius Cæsar
Belgian classics from Belgian Family-Owned breweries
dupont · dubuisson · slaghmuylder · Dilewyns · de cam
Vanberg & DeWulf has the most decorated portfolio in the annals of U.S. Belgian beer importing. Always these beers come from independent, family-run breweries.
From the outset, Vanberg & DeWulf has been dedicated to importing the finest example of every indigenous style brewed in Belgium. In our Belgian Classics collection you will find some sixteen distinct styles: Saisons, Abbey Singels, Dobbels and Tripels, Lambics, Strong Golden Ales, Wit beer, Belgian Pils, Bière de Table, fruit beer, Christmas beer, Belgian Stout, Gruit and Spéciale Ale, even a “sour” Tripel blended with Gueuze, and honey beer. Sometimes they are also organic.
These are the creations of five remarkable breweries. The oldest, Dubuisson, was founded in 1769 (before Belgium was a country); the newest, Dilewyns, is less than a year old. As an assemblage they showcase the unrivaled Belgian talent for creating beers of unique flavor, fermentation, aging and ingredients. Respect for tradition and raucous individualism are on display in equal measure. Our love of Belgium, and our desire to have you share our passion, is what drives the curating and editing of the beers we present to you.
The breweries in Tourpes, Pipaix, Dendermonde, Ninove and Gooik are radically different from one to another—reflecting their unique histories and communities, their varied regional brewing traditions and local architecture. Dupont is a farmstead in Hainaut in a sweetly rural setting. Dubuisson is a proud elegant pantile-roofed brewery complex on an ancient Roman road. Slaghmuylder presides like a little commercial fiefdom over the small municipality of Ninove—itself situated on the medieval trade route between Flanders and Brabant in the ancestral grain belt of Belgium. Nearby in East Flanders on the mouth of the River Dender, the Dilewyns Brewery is starkly modern but the emblem on their labels makes reference to Ros Beiard, the heroic horse who saved his masters from capture by Charlemagne. De Cam occupies a barn on the grounds of a museum of folk life in Gooik, “the pearl of Payottenland,” in the heart of Lambic country. It is a setting right out of Breughel. Seeing how different the settings and styles of the breweries are, it is impossible to deny that there is truth to the notion of terroir in beer. The more you know, the better these beers taste. Join us in exploring them all.
Brewed by Them—Invented by Us
VANBERG & DEWULF SPECIAL SELECTIONS
lambrucha · hop ruiter · lambickx · gandavum
We started as importers, and became brewers (we created Ommegang). Now, in addition to straight up importing, we’re commissioning beers to be made based on flavors that reflect the special genius of Belgian brewing, and bringing back flavors the market has forgotten. Our focus is to create beers that showcase the unrivalled Belgian talents for unique flavors, fermentation, aging, and ingredients. We work in cooperation with promising Belgian brewers to give them new ways to exercise that talent and to grow with the benefit of our special understanding of the U.S. market. Because Belgium has a tied-house system (80 percent of cafés are controlled by one company) exports are key to the prosperity of the independents.
The VANBERG & DEWULF Special Selections we have developed and launched over the last three years are getting plenty of recognition. LAMBRUCHA™ with Lambic from De Troch was named “Experimental Beer of the Year” in the U.S. Open of Beer. Esquire named it “one of the world’s healthiest beers.” Time Out called LAMBRUCHA a “Top 100 Taste of 2011.” HOP RUITER, brewed at the Schelde Brewery to our specifications, took the GOLD medal in U.S. Open of Beer, the World Beer Championships, and swept a major competition in Belgium. HOP RUITER is offered in Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA. What single malt is to blended whiskey, and chardonnay is to champagne, LAMBICKX is to Gueuze. Dry, almost still, compared to Gueuze, it is redolent of barnyard and Lambic cellar aromas. We act as negociants, buying stocks from casks of our choosing for special blending. We are working with three producers and each resulting beer is utterly distinct. It’s only fitting that with Ghent as our adopted Belgian hometown, we have a beer of that city in our portfolio. GANDAVUM (the Roman name for Ghent) is an extraordinarily dry and herbal blond beer. It is unfiltered, made with all (pilsner & Munich) malt, hopped with Tomahawk and Willamette, and dry-hopped with Willamette.
HONORARY BELGIAN BEERS
CASTELAIN · AMIATA · ÖLVISHOLT · GREEN JACK
One of the nice things about doing something for a long time is that you see your successes unfold. Literally unknown in the U.S. a quarter century ago, Belgian brewing has been embraced by talented brewers…the world over. Belgium will always be our “true north,” yet we love the beers we have found in Iceland, Italy, England, and France because they share the æsthetic (flavor, complexity and balance) that we’ve been working a lifetime to promote. We lovingly call them our HONORARY BELGIAN BEERS. In 2013, please give special attention to:
CASTELAIN: These folks are the charter members of the Honorary Belgian Beer Society —coming as they do from Flanders. (That’s French Flanders.) Annick Castelain’s Benifontaine-based brewery in the Pas de Calais region is home to France’s only indigenous beer style—Bière de Garde. Castelain has been producing this elegant style of beer since 1926. New formats and new introductions permit more beer lovers to appreciate the elegant, nuanced malt-driven ales from this champion of artisan ales. Among them: ST. AMAND, JADE (France’s first organic beer) and a GRAND CRU edition of CASTELAIN, which won a Gold medal in the Biere de Garde category of the 2012 World Beer Championships. Castelain did its first collaboration beer ever – with Two Brothers- and launched DIVERSEY & LILLE to great acclaim in the second half of 2012. Heads up for further collaboration in 2013.
AMIATA: The Cerullo brothers’ beers are aromatic, artful, delicate and elegant. The Italian craft-brewing scene is wildly exciting. Tuscany’s Amiata is among the best. What hops are to beers of the American West, and yeast is to Belgium, spicing is to the beers of Italy. Five Amiata beers are coming in this year—on the heels of beautiful CONTESSA. New in 2013 are MARUCCA (Honey Ale), BASTARDA ROSSA (Chestnut Ale), MARSILIA (Gose), COMUNALE (Golden Ale).
ÖLVISHOLT: We spent time in Oslo. That’s where we were first introduced to LAVA, a spectacular smoked Imperial Stout from Iceland. The Ring of Fire runs through this remote, windswept, mythical, tectonic and pure-springed island. LAVA is brewed at a farmstead brewery on a heath opposite an active volcano. Wow.
GREEN JACK: In the spring of 2012, we took a trip to the Southeast coast of England. Green Jack’s beers are brewed in Suffolk in a former herring smokehouse in Lowestoft, on Love Lane. All Green Jack’s prize-winning beers are brewed with Flagon winter barley, as well as whole flower hops fermented with the same four strains of English ale yeast that can be traced back over 100 years. New for 2013: GREEN JACK RIPPA (English Tripel), RED HERRING (Smoked Ale), LURCHER STOUT, GONE FISHING EXTRA SPECIAL BITTER, and TRAWLERBOYS (Best Bitter).
We’ll end where we began. Year 2 of the Coast to Coast Toast was triumphant. 540 accounts took part in the self-organized, crowd-sourced salute to the great state of beer culture and the wonderful people who’ve built it. That means you! International venues joined American compatriots in the celebration. We saw a 60% increase in participation, making the Coast to Coast Toast far and away the largest one day celebration of Belgian and Honorary Belgians in the USA. Cheers!
Here’s to your very good health!
— Don Feinberg & Wendy Littlefield