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Welcome to our World of Belgian Beer

We started this blog to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of Vanberg & DeWulf – the company we established in 1982 to import beers from Belgium. We lived in Belgium for three years right out of college and began importing so that when our companies transferred us to the States we would still have an excuse to return

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to see our friends and visit the places we loved. What began as a hobby turned into a career, and we have a decades-long wacky, improbable fascination with the culture of the country and its brewers. In this blog we hope to share it with you.

Chuck Cook’s blog post

Chuck was nice enough to attend the Birch & Barley tasting in Washington, DC

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We posted on the event at this spectacular venue. One of the best beer bars in the US if not the world.

Press release to be sent out by participants in the Coast to Coast Toast ™ on 11.15.11

To send out with cork image nd/or on telegram For Immediate Release: You are invited! November 15, 2011 – King’s Day in Belgium – marks the official day (and night) of the Coast to Coast Toast. It’s a celebration generic cymbalta of the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Vanberg & DeWulf. But it’s simultaneously a time to acknowledge the immense contributions that great bastions of craft and specialty beers like YOUR ESTABLISHMENT’S NAME HERE have made to building the market and educating a generation of beer drinkers to demand and appreciate well made beers – especially Belgian ones! These folks (Vanberg & DeWulf) are the original, most ardent and proselytizing importers of Belgian beers in the USA. Ever since 1982 their mission has been to support independent family run breweries and indigenous beer styles that express the spirit of a place. IF YOU CHOOSE YOU CAN USE THIS AS YOUR QUOTE “The founders, Don Feinberg & Wendy Littlefield were the first Americans inducted into the Belgian Brewers’ Guild. They published the first edition of The Great Beers of Belgium by Michael Jackson. These are the people who brought Duvel, Rodenbach, the lambics of Frank Boon to the States. In the 1990’s they pioneered cooking with beer education at the CIA and The James Beard House. Don Feinberg & Wendy Littlefield conceived of and built Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY, in so doing constructed the first farmstead brewery to be built in over a century… on a former hops farm, no less. They invited their Belgian brewery partners to have a stake in the business. Their brewery Ommegang was the first brewery to make all bottle-conditioned, cork-finished, exclusively Belgian-style beers in America. Every beer in their current portfolio is a major or a minor classic. So when they invited us to take part in the Coast to Coast Toast TM was there a chance we would say no? Absolutely not!” OR ADD ANY OTHER ENCOMIUMS OF PRAISE YOU WISH. NAME OF YOUR ESTABLISHMENT HERE…has been a huge supporter of the Vanberg & DeWulf beers over the years, such as NAME OF YOUR FAVORITE VANBERG & DEWULF BEERS HERE , eg SAISON DUPONT, SCALDIS, WITKAP, LAMBRUCHA, HOP RUITER ETC). So on Tuesday, November 15th (IDENTIFY THE HOURS FOR YOUR PARTY) we are throwing our own version of the Vanberg & DeWulf Coast to Coast Toast ™ right here in TOWN NAME. We hope you will want stop in to raise a chalice to Vanberg & DeWulf, with at least one of the more than 50 beers from 10 breweries whose beers they import. PUT IN WHATEVER BEERS YOU CHOOSE TO POUR: Amiata’s Contessa Italian Pale Ale (IT), Castelain’s Bieres de Garde (FR), DeCam’s lambics (BE), DeTroch and Vanberg & DeWulf’s Lambrucha (BE), Dilewyns Vicaris beers (BE), Schelde and Vanberg & DeWulf’s Hop Ruiter (BE), Slaghmuylder’s Witkap beers (BE), Dubuisson’s Scaldis, Peche Mel and Cuvee des Trolls (BE), Dupont’s dozen Saisons abbey beers guits and stouts (BE) and Vanberg et Famille’s brand new vintage lambics sold under the Lambickx label. (Be advised a short list of super studendous places are going to be pouring every single one of our beers on that night. We are part of that exclusive club. But at its heart, and most of all, The Coast to Coast is a salute to the Heroes of the Good Beer Movement.The bar owners, restaurateurs, merchants and distributors and homebrewers who have built the places you love to frequent and to recommend for these last three decades. These cock-eyed optimists opened outposts in towns large and small – in most cases – when there was very little evidence that doing so made much business sense. Vanberg & DeWulf’s business thrived and grew because we made their cause our cause too. We Zyban raise a toast to us all. In addition to YOUR ESTABLISHMENT NAME HERE iconic Belgian-tinged bars, restaurants and stores from New York to Little Rock, Chicago to San Francisco, and Miami to Anchorage will be celebrating along with us. For further information contact: YOUR INFORMATION HERE and drop an email to Vanberg.and.DeWulf@gmail .com    

“Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.”- Herman Melville

Dear Esteemed Friends and Colleagues,

We have exciting news to relay, in fact its a booster rocket we believe will help vault our beloved beers to the next level on the American scene for years to come. Please read on for the details. Don and I will be in the English countryside starting tomorrow. We’ll be back on-line and in action in two weeks. We are looking forward to making the transition as smooth, easy and successful as possible for everyone. In the meantime, we send you our heartfelt thanks for being such boon companions to us and great ambassadors for the Vanberg & DeWulf collection. It has been a joy and a privilege to explore the world in search of great beer and to bring it back home to you.

“Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound.”-  Herman Melville

All best wishes,
Wendy Littlefield & Don Feinberg

For Immediate Release – February 28, 2014

Total Beverage Solution Acquires Rights to Vanberg & DeWulf Portfolio

US importer welcomes addition of acclaimed beer brands

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina – Total Beverage Solution (TBS) and Vanberg & DeWulf are pleased to announce that TBS has acquired the exclusive rights to the Vanberg & DeWulf portfolio.

Founded in 2002, Total Beverage Solution is a fast-growing fully integrated importer and supplier with a highly selective portfolio of wine, beer and premium spirits, including iconic beer brands such as Weihenstephan, Old Speckled Hen, Cooper’s, Birra Moretti and Affligem. TBS has earned a reputation for market expertise and proven sales results by creating value and demand for exceptional brands. TBS is a four-time Beverage Industry Top 100 company.

Writing from Belgium, Vanberg & DeWulf co-founders Don Feinberg & Wendy Littlefield explain  “Since starting Vanberg & DeWulf in 1982, our mission has been to champion the cause of Belgian beer made by independent, family-run breweries. We have positioned our breweries for long-term growth in the United States. In TBS we have a successor who understands the value of our portfolio, and will help our beers fulfill their potential in the decades to come. We feel this is the right move at precisely the right time with exactly the right team. Our brewers and their beers are in capable hands.”

TBS founder, Dave Pardus states “Vanberg & DeWulf is unique in the pioneering role it has played in the Belgian beer category and the connoisseurship it has brought to the expansion of its portfolio beyond its Belgian roots. Don & Wendy’s relentless passion for beers of quality and terroir has a created a terrific following for their beers.  With the additional resources and infrastructure we bring, there is tremendous opportunity to grow their portfolio, and it complements our prestigious existing lineup of breweries and beers.”

The Vanberg & DeWulf portfolio consists of a tight group of hand-selected breweries representing twenty-five distinct beer styles, including beloved beers like Saison Dupont, and Scaldis. Vanberg & DeWulf was the first US importer to specialize in Belgian beers. The company experienced a ten-fold increase in sales over the last decade. Vanberg & DeWulf has twice been nominated for The James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Wine Spirits or Beer Professional” – the only beer importer ever to have been so honored.

Feinberg and Littlefield will coordinate the transition with TBS over the coming year. Mitaro Consulting, LLC acted as advisor to Vanberg & DeWulf.

Delicious Hop Ruiter Sauce for Pork!

hop_ruiter_bottleDusty’s Mahogany Bar was one of the first in Mississippi to go all in for Belgian Expert’s beer. They participated in the Coast to Coast Toast in a big way and was singled out in our national shoutout. When the beers that were to make their debut in Hattiesburg at his place both for a multi-course beer dinner and tap takeover did not arrive at the distributors in time (thereby hangs a tale in which neither he nor is guilty) Dusty drove to Louisiana to get some some his patrons would not be disappointed. He is the Cosimo de Medici of Hattiesburg craft beer  with several great venues. It is absolutely stunning that they made the list of top 100 beer bars in the country only a year after Mississippi was the last state in the nation to authorize the sale of craft beer. Stunning – but also well deserved.  Such a classy guy he actually wrote us to say that his working with us might have had a hand in his nomination. We know a star when we meet ’em (even if only via email) and Dusty is one. We are utterly grateful that through Raise Your Pints we got to him and his distributor Sparkman Walker. Doesn’t this dish sound absolutely delicious? Thanks to Dusty for sharing with us. Try this at home and then let’s all take a journey to Hattiesburg to see how well our version of the recipe stands up to the original.
Of course, share a Hop Ruiter with a friend over this meal!
This new recipe is courtesy of Dusty Frierson from his bar Branch.
We serve this sauce with a thick, braised cut of good pork shoulder, packed in a basic dry cure for a few hours before cooking, but any nice cut of pork will do. (The meat is saltier as a result–to be taken into account when seasoning the sauce.) On a bed of barley risotto with a bit more ale in the cooking liquid, and seasoned with lemon zest. Toss some sturdy greens into your risotto if you like, and whole roasted cipollinis on the side.

For the reduction:

(yields about a pint)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. minced shallot
1 tbsp. minced garlic
couple pinches of salt kosher salt
2 12-oz. bottles fine Belgian ale (we recommend Hop Ruiter)
1/2 c. fines herbes (equal parts finely chopped chive, chervil, tarragon, parsley–adjust proportions to your taste)
2 tbsp. cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and water)
pat of unsalted butter
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper to taste
Melt butter on medium-low heat and sweat shallots and garlic, seasoned with salt. Add all of the beer, increase heat to simmer, and reduce by half. Add slurry as needed; finished sauce should coat a spoon. Season to taste with preferred salt and pepper. You may mount the sauce with butter and finish with the herbs at this point, but those ingredients are best added “a la minute,” as the sauce is reheated to order.

Saison Dupont Named One of the Best Saison on the Planet!

Saison Dupont was named one of the best Saisons on the planet by Men’s Journal. Check out the article below, and read the rest to find out the other beers they consider top-tier!mensjournalfeb

More Philly Beer Week News!

We’re excited to be gearing up to brew the special collaboration beer in Belgium next week.
Craig Laban, restaurant critic of the Philly Inquirer, produced some of the best and most evocative writing about beer we have ever seen, In the lead up to the introduction of Philly Tripel from Vicaris and Dock Street we thought you would enjoy reading Craig’s articles. Here they are:

This year we are pleased as punch that our old friend Jay Brooks is part of the PBW entourage. If you do not know “Brookstone on Beer,” then you are very wet behind the ears. Here’s the link. Great read!

US Belgian Beer Ambassadors Descend on Dendermonde for Philly Beer Week Collaboration Brew at Dilewyns

Dateline Dendermonde – and Gent – and Philadelphia

There is a woman at the helm of both breweries!


We put together this post to give more background to Anne Catherine and her sister Claire as they prepared to spread the word of the collaboration brew to media in Belgium. It is therefore written from the perspective of what a Belgian journalist might want to know before coming to witness the brew day.

The rising star brewer Anne-Catherine Dilewyns was given a special honor late in 2013 when she and her Brouwerij Dilewyns were chosen to be the collaboration brewer/brewery for  Philly Beer Week 2014. This is only the fourth time that the organizers of Philly Beer Week have launched a special collaboration beer for “the granddaddy of all beer weeks” in the United States. It is also the first time that a woman brewer has been singled out for this distinction. Jason Low the head brewer at Dock Street will be traveling to Belgium with some special ingredients to give local flavor to the brew which will be based on Dilewyns widely admired Vicaris Tripel  -winner of the top consumer choice award at Zythos. Each year beer enthusiasts are invited to enter a drawing to win a trip to Belgium and the right to choose the brewery that will accompany them and brew the official Philly Beer Week Beer with an admired Belgian brewer. Daniel Neuner won the drawing and chose Dock Street.Print


A VIP entourage from Philadelphia will be coming to Dendermonde to participate in and or oversee the collaboration brew at Brouwerij Dilewyns on Thursday, February 13th. The beer will be launched in the States in late May and officially “welcomed” to the city of Brotherly Love by the mayor. A small stash will be set aside for sale in Belgium. Behind the scenes there have been conversations going back and forth among the brewers and importers and PBW organizers. All are looking forward to a spectacular Philly Beer Week and a special celebrations between Dock Street and Dilewyns commencing with a kick off party upon Justin’s return from Belgium.


The selection of Dilewyns is especially exciting and notable for the young brewery because it assures considerable visibility on a national level. The city of Philadelphia has a very important role in the success of Belgian specialty beers in the United States. What’s more, Philly Beer Week is the original and still one of the largest of all the US city beer fests. One could say it is the most Belgian centric of all US cities. This will be Anne Catherine’s second visit to Philadelphia. She attended Philly Beer Week in 2013 and participated in a beer gastronomy dinner with her importers in 2013, who write of the brewery and Anne-Catherine:


“The Dilewyns  brewery— one of the newest  in Belgium opened to great fanfare in Dendermonde in May 2011. Why? Theirs are some of the very best beers being brewed in Belgium today.

The driving force behind the brewery is the dynamic, utterly winning, indefatigable, straight-talking Anne-Catherine Dilewyns. Barely twenty-six, Anne-Catherine possesses a rare maturity and fierce determination beyond her years. Aside from teaching herself to brew, Anne-Catherine taught herself Italian to communicate with the Italian crew that installed the brewery equipment. Her beer was named ‘beer of the month’ in Holland at a consortium of 41 bars, and in order to make this opportunity as DSlogoproductive as possible, she visited every single cafe to introduce herself—in four days. New breweries in Belgium are few and far between, making her pluck and optimism especially bold and inspiring. Having built a brewery ourselves (Ommegang), Don and I can relate.

Anne-Catherine comes by her entrepreneurial brewing skills honestly. In 1875, Anna-Coletta Wauman (Anne-Catherine’s great great grandmother and mother of eleven children) turned a former benzine oil factory into a brewery. It operated in Dendermonde until WWII, when the brew kettles were confiscated. Anne-Catherine has Wauman’s passport, which lists her occupation as ‘Brew Master.’ It’s on the wall of the brewery.”

It wouldn’t be fair to suggest that only Anne-Catherine deserves praise. The beer recipes are created by her dad, Vincent Dilewyns. Vincent took up home brewing as a hobby in 1999. Anne-Catherine urged her dad to move from home- brewer to commercial brewer status, and Vicaris Generaal was the first of his beers to be released commercially. Vicaris Tripel followed shortly thereafter. The brewery also brews Vicaris Tripel Gueuze, Quinto and Vicaris Winter.

Saveur editor Betsy Andrews recently featured  Anne-Catherine in her article on The Northern Renaissance of Brewing. She observes that the Belgian brewing scene is the most exciting it has been in 50 years, and that the 26 year-old founder of one of Belgium’spbw newest breweries & most critically acclaimed beers, Vicaris Tripel Geuze, is one of the movement’s brightest lights.


The roots of Philly Beer Week go back several decades – to 1991. PBW grew out of an annual event called The Book and the Cook celebrating Philadelphia chefs and nationally known cookbook writers. The most popular and largest event of The Book and The Cook  for many years featured tutored tastings at the Museum of Anthropology of the University of Pennsylvania

Anne-Catherine Dilewyns, Belgium's youngest & newest brewer

Anne-Catherine Dilewyns, Belgium’s youngest & newest brewer

conducted by by the legendary beer writer, Michael Jackson (1942-2007).  Jackson’s work The Great Beers of Belgium is widely recognized to have increased appreciation of Belgian beer.  Jackson the won Andre Simon Award, The James Beard award and  was appointed  an honorary officer of the Ridderschap van de Roerstok in 1997. This honor had previously only been given to brewers.


Philly Beer Week co-founders Bruce Nichols (President of Museum Catering) and publican Tom Peters of Monk’s Cafe were particularly passionate and effective proselytizers for Belgian beers. (1) Tom Peters is both a Chevalier of the CBB and an Orval Ambassador. Monk’s has been named one of the Top 5 Restaurants for Beer & Food In North America. Last year, Peters was named a semi-finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards as beer, wine or spirits person of the year. His influence in the word of publicans is hard to overestimate.
A special Belgian- style beer has been brewed in Belgium for Philly Beer Week since Special Belge label2011. In 2011, Dirk Naudts of DeProef brewed a Saison-style beer spiked with brett with Brian O’Reilly of Sly Fox with SBS Imports. In 2012, Olivier Dedeycker of Brasserie Dupont brewed Speciale Belge with smoked malts with Chris Lapierre of Iron Hill, imported by Vanberg & DeWulf. In 2013 -Yvan de Baets of Brasserie DeLa Senne brewed a brown ale with molasses, brown sugar and American hops with Chris Wilson from Weyerbacher.
The Philly Beer Week delegation includes  some of the most beloved figures in the Pennsylvania beer scene. Tom Peters–in addition to being  co-founder of Philly Beer Week–is co-owner of four beer-centric restaurants in Philadelphia: Monk’s Café, Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant, Grace Tavern, and The Belgian Café. Tom is also co-owner of The Anderson hotel/restaurant in Fortrose, Scotland and was involved with The BeerBistro in Toronto, Canada. Peters was awarded the 2013 Philly Beer Scene Humanitarian of the Year. William Reed is the co-owner of Standard Tap and Johnny Brenda’s, and Chairman of Philly Beer Week. Scoats Scoatese is the co-owner of Grey Lodge and Hop Angel, and an officer of Philly Beer Week.


Justin Low is Head Brewer at Dock Street Brewery. Low and Dock Street have been rosemarymaking waves stateside with a roster of award-winning classic brews and the introduction of several new and innovative styles. This trip will be the second time Justin Low has traveled to Belgium. He is thrilled for the chance to revisit a country he cites as not only a great beer hub, but one of the greatest places to get lost. He’s excited for the opportunity to go back and collaborate with one of Belgium’s best up-and-coming brewers, and he’s looking forward to returning to the City of Brotherly Love with a suitcase full of beer and some great insight into Belgian brewing. Dock Street was one of the early and most successful American craft breweries. It was co-founded and is owned and operated by Rosemarie Certo, the reigning queen of Philly Brewing.
Jim Meiers is Craft and Specialty Brand Manager at Origlio Beverage. Origlio is one of the state’s largest wholesalers and Vanberg & DeWulf and Dock Street’s distributor. Dan Neuner is the winner of the Philly Beer Week raffle. Neuner is an aspiring photographer with a special interest in documenting brewing and beer.
Jack Curtin, a well-respected beer blogger in the States posted Dock Street’s announcement about the collaboration written by Renata Certo-Ware, daughter of the Dock Street founder:


“Here’s a great piece from Dock Street Brewing about head brewer Justin Low being the lucky guy who goes to Belgium this year to brew the official Philly Beer Week beer. It’s as good and informative and complete a summary of what this is all about as I’ve seen from any of the winning breweries over the years and I most especially liked this part, which I had not noticed before and which just adds to the absolute coolness of the rebirth of the original Dock Street:


Meanwhile, in Belgium, self-taught brewer Anne-Catherine Dilewyns has also been getting major street cred as the youngest female brewer in the country, with an impressive CV of extraordinary beers to her name.  Dilewyn’s pedigree in brewing is just as impressive as her talents for churning out

fantastic brews.  Her great-great grandmother founded and ran a brewery in 1875, which operated until WWII when the kettles were confiscated to make bullets for the war. Her father is the founder of the newest reincarnation of the family’s legacy brewery.

The significance of Dilewyn’s and her great-great-grandmother’s girl power in a male-dominated industry is not lost on Dock Street, which was co-founded and is owned and operated by Rosemarie Certo and a cast of strong female leaders that includes VP Marilyn Candeloro and Head Chef Melissa Bauman.

When Dock Street was new back in the early ’90s, it taught us what a great beer venue could be. These days it’s doing the same thing, at a whole different level.”


Members of the Belgian press may be interested to meet with Jay Brooks an esteemed beer journalist with the number one rated beer blog in the country. Brooks will chronicle the voyage of the Philly Beer Week crew and the unveiling of the collaboration beer which is to be called Philly Tripel.
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Brasserie Dubuisson – The oldest and most authentic brewery in Wallonia

Scaldis Prestige de NuitsDubuisson been brewing continuously since 1769—before Belgium was

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a country and longer than the Trappist breweries. Dubuisson is a shining example of the civic brewer and proud protector of the tradition. Hugues Dubuisson is the eighth- generation family member to direct the business, which is thriving. U.S. sales increased at twice the rate of the dynamic domestic craft beer rate. Both Peche Mel and Scaldis earned Gold medals in World Beer Championships this past year. Prestige has maintained perfect 100s on RateBeer.


Here’s a great post on Beer Info that gives a more detailed of the history of the brewery, as well as a focus on Scaldis Noel Premium, one of the brewery’s great Christmas beers.

Conversations with Great Women in Beer- Renee Eliah at Saus Boston

This year we will be adding many new stories to our blog feature, Heroes of the Good Beer Movement™. It profiles people we think are doing an extraordinary job in the world of beer.  We posed some questions to Renee Eliah of Boston’s Saus, who explains how this year’s C2CT3 poutine event came about. We think it one of the best and most creative executions of the year.

How did Saus get started?


In 2008 the three of us were working in sales at a small software start-up. Saus was a seedling of an idea that we would discuss when we were bored or on lunch. The idea was a far-away dream that helped the work day go by, but ironically became a reality when we were let go following the recession. So instead of trying to find jobs in our field, we became employed at different restaurants to learn the business. We did this for nearly three years and finally opened Saus in March of 2011.


What other women in the beer world do you look up to?


There are a lot of women in Boston doing phenomenal things with beer. Megan Parker-Gray put together a killer beer list at Row 34 that may very well be the best in town. Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva started Bantam Cider in 2012 and it is becoming a staple in Boston restaurants and bars. These girls know their stuff and it’s great to see them becoming the tastemakers in our craft beer town.


What was the first beer you remember being impressed by?


The beer that was my gateway into craft beer appreciation was Chimay Rouge. I was 21 and on a date with a grad student who insisted I try it. It was a revelation! Funny enough, dubbels are still my favorite style.
The most atmospheric place I have ever had a beer was at Moeder Lambic in Brussels. To me, it is the ideal beer bar: simple menu with a few things like cheese, quiche, frites. It had an industrial vibe different from the old beer bars in Belgium, and local craft beers to match the modernity. I think there were 10 or so different Cantillon beers on tap.  I fell in love with kriek there.


How did the Coast to Coast Toast Event come together and what was most fun or surprising about it?


The Coast to Coast Toast came together after meeting Wendy Littlefield over dinner in Chicago.  Wendy and I bonded over the idea of a poutine and beer pairing event, and we thought since Saus has 4 rotating taps, we would pair each beer with a different poutine dish created by a local Boston chef. We made the event into a competition amongst the chefs and they all really brought the heat! I think the attendees were shocked at how inspired the poutine dishes were. The winning dish had peppered pork gravy, crisp pork belly lardons, and a smoked soy glazed soft cooked egg. It paired beautifully with Hop Ruiter.


Among Belgian Expert’s beers – do you have a couple of special favorites?


My favorite beers from the BE portfolio are Avec Les Bons Voeux and Vicaris Tripel-Gueuze.I find the BE portfolio very helpful. I also find it to be a good read. There are always great stories and a great visual presentation of the taste characteristics of each beer.


When you are really excited about the quality of a beer, how do you convince them to try it?


Our beer drinking customers are usually in one of two camps: the one that favors local breweries and the one that almost exclusively drinks Belgian ales. They can always be swayed with a quick sample. Having only 4 taps allows a customer who is unfamiliar
with the names to try every single one, and also gives us the flexibility to feature some really unique flavors.

Heroes of the Good Beer Movement™; Cafe Bruges

Our business has become what it is because resourceful and creative people across the country who have established outposts of great beer. From time to time (never as often as we would like) we profile one of these singularly special people and share the profile with colleagues in the industry.

This month we are super excited to bring you news of another rising star among the Heroes of the Good Beer Movement™ by introducing you to Kirsten Layser, the General Manager of Cafe Bruges. Cafe Bruges is a restaurant and bar that serves authentic Belgian cuisine, located in the college town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

When we were preparing for this year’s third annual Coast-to-Coast Toast™, Kirsten cooked up a very special idea–adapting recipes from Belgian Expert’s Coast-to-Coast Toast™ Cook Booklet for use in a tasting menu. Along with Cafe Bruges chefs Matt Hicks and Ian Hendrick, they paired some of the recipes from the book with beers from our portfolio. Local beef braised in Moinette Brune served with dumplings and Flemish green beans paired with La Biere de Belœil, anyone?

With the recipes and pairings in place, they put them together to make a fixed price side bar menu. In addition to the paired beers, other favorites were added to a small curated list for tasting. Their stunning 3-course tasting menu, which you can view below, sold like hotcakes when it was offered during the entire month of November.

Cafe Bruges outdid themselves even further on the night of the The Coast-to-Coast Toast™ with a Total Tap Takeover extravaganza. Now Cafe Bruges has even more Belgian Experts beers on tap. “Before this year’s toast, we had 5 Belgian Experts selections in our cases, now we offer about 12 on a regular basis, plus the draft beers that we happily put in rotation,” said Kirsten.

(Click on the menu above to view the menu as a PDF.)


The Cafe Bruges team turned an enormous number of people on to some very delicious and complex beers and the dining experience was great because the menu and pairings were carefully curated. The more beer savvy people become, the more they tend to appreciate our portfolio. Kirsten does a great job of helping patrons enjoy and understand the art of beer cuisine and beer and food pairings. Carlisle is not a huge town, but Cafe Bruges is up there with the very best gastropubs in the country. Hats off to Kirsten and her team.

Have a look at the cookbooklet that Kirsten and her team reviewed as they began to plan their sidebar menu here.

There promises to be much more coming from this team in the future, with the help of a few others. Cafe Bruges will be cooking up more special stuff in 2014. Details to be revealed soon!

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