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The Bounty of Wallonia

Our friends over at the Belgian Tourist Office (Brussels /Wallonia) shared with us a deck of recipes showcasing the bounty of Wallonia. In essence the deck of a dozen recipes gives a glimpse of classic dishes from throughout the French-speaking provinces. Want to know what these dishes are: pate Gaumais, Matoufet,Tarte al d’jote, boukettes, feulletes of Molignee, pheasant a la brabanconne, Binchoise pancakes, borinage pagnons, Pork fillet Al’berdouille, Liege meatballs, rice pudding tart? Download the answers here.  We are intent on becoming the largest content providers of Belgian recipes in English this year!

Don Feinberg’s Pairing Suggestions:

Pâté gaumais – Scaldis Tripel, Moinette Blonde

Double Binchoise pancakes- Vicaris Generaal, Lambrucha, Kriek Lambicks

Feuilletés of Molignée snails with herbs - Lambickx, St. Amand, Foret Blanche

Borinage Pagnons - Monk’s Stout

Rice pudding tart - Avril, Scaldis, Foret Blanche

Pork Fillet Al’berdouille - Vicaris Tripel

Liège Meatballs - Posca Rustica

Matoufet - Foret Blanche, Monk’s Stout

Grenadin of Veal “Sambre & Meuse” - St. Amand, Moinette Brune

Tarte al d’jote - Saison Dupont, Castelain Grand Cru

Pheasant à la Brabançonne - Foret Organic Saison

Boukettes - La Biere de Beloeil 


Beer and Cheese Pairings for Your Coast to Coast Toast

Four Classic Beer and Cheese Pairing Events to consider as you plan  your Coast to Coast Toast

For those of you contemplating beer and cheese pairings for your Coast to Coast Toast party, here are four inspiring beer and cheese events we have taken part in and some wonderful beer combos.  Enjoy and by all means let us know what beers and cheese you put  together and how it all goes over.  Consider all local cheeses and all imported Vanberg & DeWulf beers for instance.

Murray’s Cheese New York City – Great Cheese Deserves Great Beer with Don Feinberg of Vanberg & DeWulf

In the Middle Ages, the term Flanders was applied to an area in Western Europe, the County of Flanders, and spread over what today are parts of Belgium, Northern France and the Southern Netherlands. This are has a long history of beer and cheese production, many of which originated in the Cistercian monasteries of a Roman Catholic religious order often referred to as Trappist Monks. Tonight we will take inspiration from these monastery traditions and explore several artisanal Belgian beer styles, paired with cheeses originating in Flanders, and a few surprises!

1. Charollais paired with Foret Blanche

Charollais: A four-inch-high cylinder of raw goat’s milk. Chevre the way it was meant to be, with a perfect balance of saltiness, acidity, and sweetness. Its dense, rich pate is covered by a skim of oozing liquid goatiness and a crinkled, almond colored rind. At approximately 90 days, Charollais begins to age, becoming drier and more assertively robust in flavor. Aged by Hervé Mons outside of Roanne, France.

Foret Blanche: Easy drinkability and loads of flavor make Foret Blanche a sensational refresher. Foggy honeycomb color, yeasty bread, butterscotch aroma, laced with orange coriander, white pepper, lavender, hop tartness, and wheat.

2. Pyrenees Brebis with Saison Dupont

Pyrenees Brebis: A pressed, uncooked cheese, made of raw sheep’s milk, and aged for 4-6 months. Made in the Pyrenees, exactly the Basque country and the Bearn – the Ossau Valley. This small scale artisan production has a thick yellow/ orange rind with a smattering of grey mold. The white or ivory paste is firm and dense but smooth with unctuous butterfat. Often best in the spring as the cheese produced from the fall milkings is more floral. Sweet, nearly caramelly, with grassy, nutty undertones. Aged by Hervé Mons outside of Roanne, France. Legend has it that Aristee, the famous shepherd and son of Apollo, created the Ossau-Iraty cheese.

Saison Dupont: Legendary, hailed as the world’s best Saison. Piquant, peppery hop bitterness rounded out by green apple, sugared grapefruit, and unyielding yeast character.

 3. Oka paired with Foret Organic Saison

Oka: A mellow, Semi-Soft washed rind cheese from Quebec. Made of pasteurized cows’ milk, with a rind that can range from rosy pink to burnished orange. It’s a stinker, but the flavor is relatively buttery, with hints of nuts. Also an excellent melter.

Foret Organic Saison: A Saison beer that is the first certified organic beer in Belgium. “Bright golden amber color. Rich, layered aromas of honeyed pineapple cake, dried fruits, and toffee with a supple, fruity-yet-dry full body and a pure, elegant fruity soufflé and delicate peppery spice finish. A beautiful saison that is a benchmark of the style. Platinum Medal/ Superlative.” One degree stronger than Saison Dupont.  Platinum medal winner in the World Beer Championships.

4. Maroilles paired with Hop Ruiter

Maroilles: A farmhouse Maroilles from Picardie in Nord, in northern France. The A.O.C. (Appellation d’Origine Controlée) granted in 1976 covers both raw and pasteurized Maroilles in three sizes. The cheese is said to have been created in 962 AD by a monk in the northern town of Maroilles. Each one pound square of raw cow’s milk is brine washed and aged for several months. The supple, elastic texture and heady, fruity, pungency peak at an affinage of 90-120 days, unusually long for such a small cheese. Aged by Hervé Mons outside of Roanne, France.

Hop Ruiter: This beer pairs aggressive American hops with Belgian yeast. But rather than taking away from the Belgian yeast characteristics, hops add complexity. Flavors of fruit, grass, and spices make for a very interesting and intricate brew. Brilliantly balanced. Winner of the best Belgian micro 2011 in Belgium!

5. Blue d’Auvergne paired with Lambickx

Blue d’Auvergne: This Bleu d’Auvergne is aged by Hervé Mons outside Roanne, France. Roquefort-inspired, and made with unpressed raw cow’s milk, this firm, creamy, cellar-ripened cheese has perfectly integrated blue veining. The name derives from the Arvenes Celts of the 7th Century BC. Medium-strength and balanced, with well integrated spice and salt flavors, the moist, crumbling paste makes an excellent table cheese, great for cooking, for salad dressing or to crumble on hot pasta. According to legend, Bleu d’Auvergne originated in the mid 19th C. when a shepherd decided to add the blue mold from his rye bread to a wheel of cheese, and piece the cheese to allow the mold to grow. The Auvergnats (people from Auvergne) claim the cheese was born before Roquefort.

Lambickx de Troch 2012: Lambickx is to Gueuze as Chardonnay is the Champagne. 
Aroma of sweet grass, smoke, peaches, sour apples all spiked with a background barnyard funk. Big, round acidity in the mouth with notes of lemon, tangerine and grapefruit melting to a rich, sour-sweet finish, balanced by the full presence of tannic and wood notes. Slightest hint of carbonation. Again, not quite cask still but almost!

6. Mimolette with Witkap Stimulo

Mimolette: Produced in Flanders and other Northern parts of France, Mimolette is really a natural rinded version of Dutch Edam. As it ages, the rind darkens to a deep brown (we have seen 4-year old that was almost black!) and the interior turns a rusty shade of orange. These wheels are at least 2 years old, ensuring a cratered, craggy rind and a rock-hard, waxen interior that breaks apart in the mouth like fudge. Made of pasteurized cow’s milk, Mimolette has the sweet, caramelized depth of an aged Gouda, with a dense, smooth texture that sticks to the teeth. It sits on the board like a wedge of cantaloupe, and is famous for having been Charles de Gaulle’s favorite.

Witkap Stimulo: Banana, berry nose, lemony finish. Lighter body and alcohol than Abbey Dubbel or Tripels, but the big aromatic profile typical of the style. Quenchingly flavorful. The lightest and most flavorful of the abbey beers – what the monks drink for lunch!

7. Brillat-Savarin with Scaldis Strong ale or Scaldis Prestige de Nuits

Brillat Savarin: Cheese maker Henri Androuet was inspired by the poetics of French gastronome Anthelme Brillat-Savarin when he created this lush triple crème. Brillat-Savarin is famous for his observation, “a dessert without cheese is like a beautiful women with only one eye.” Well, we’re inclined to agree. And what an ending this cream-enriched beauty promises. Hailing from Normandy, small production, raw cows’ milk, classic bloomy rind. Expect butter cream icing texture, fresh, lactic flavor and just the right hit of salt.

Scaldis: Legendary “cognac” beer of Belgium. Amber colored, nutty and rich. Made from 3 barley malts, hopped 3 times. “The most drinkable ultra strong beer in the world.”

Scaldis Prestige de Nuits: We’ve never tasted a better marriage of wood and beer!. The red wine staining of the legendary Cote de Nuits barrels marries perfectly with the malt sweetness and peach notes of the beer, yielding flavors of cherry, oak, tobacco, Pinot Noir and bitter chocolate. Fermented 3 times – in tank, bottle, and burgundy cask – it takes almost a year to make. Today Show suggests this may be the best beer in the world.

Weekly Pint and Artisanal Premium Cheese (NY) Cheese and Beer Pairing

January 2012

When Christian di Benedetti called to tell us he was becoming editor of the Weekly Pint we were delighted.  The launch party for the press took place at Artisanal Premium Cheese in New York City on January 30th, 2012. Artisanal’s Max McCalman (co-author of Cheese: A connoisseur’s guide to the World’s Best) made the pairings. He selected 7 cheeses and we a like number of beers. Read on for Christian’s write-up about the event in the Weekly Pint.


Grassias (goat, US)

Garrotxa (goat, Spain)

Ocooch Mountain (sheep, US)

Sharfe Maxx (cow, Switzerland)

Windsordale Tuckle (Cow, US)

Flosserkase (cow, Switzerland)

Berkshire Blue (cow, US)


Posca Rustica – Brasserie Dupont

Monk’s Sout – Brasserie Dupont

Foret Blanche – Brasserie Dupont

Lambickx- Vanberg et Famille

Hop Ruiter- Vanberg et Famille at Schelde Brewery

Scaldis Prestige- Brasserie Dubuisson

They Love Each Other

2 Beer and Cheese Pairings that Rock

By Christian Di Benedetti

Rules were made to be broken, right? There’s no hard and fast logic that says wine has a lock on pairings with cheese. In fact the malty-sweet, fruity, bitter, spicy, and sometimes sour flavors in craft beers from cheese-loving regions like France, Germany, Belgium and Holland, the U.K., and the U.S., pair beautifully with a variety of cheeses. Weekly Pint recently teamed up a delicious evening with Max McCalman of Artisanal Premium Cheese in New York and Belgian beer importation pioneers Vanberg & DeWulf. We found McCalman, the easygoing and author of three excellent books on the subject, including Mastering Cheese, which has a full 16-pp chapter on pairing cheese with beer- an invaluable resource.

Where to start? “You’re looking for balance,” says McCalman. “In a beer-and-cheese lineup, as with a tasting of wine pairings,” he writes, “you’ll want to proceed from the lighter, milder lager, pilsner and pale ale styles to the deeper, richer, heavier, darker, more complex-flavored styles of brew.” As you progress up the intensity range in your beers, you’ll need to step it up in your cheese, too.

For a few mind-expanding cheese-and-beer pairings, keep reading.

Sharfe Maxx & Scaldis Prestige

Master cheesemakers in northern Switzerland add a touch of cream and then age this cow’s milk cheese in an herbal brine for six months, giving it a tangy, assertive, almost meaty flavor. Pair it with Brasserie Dubuisson’s Scaldis Prestige, a remarkable Belgian ale with vanilla notes that’s also aged for 6 months – in oak barrels, giving it a touch of pleasant acidity that stands up to strong flavors. Our friends at gave this brew a perfect 100.

Berkshire Blue and Lambickx

Cheesemaker Ira Gramble of Great Barrington, MA crafts this American blue cheese inspired by Britain’s famous Stilton. Its strong, balanced earthy flavors are well matched by Lambickx, a 5.75% ABV blend of lambic beers from Belgium which get their sourness from spontaneous wild yeasts and wood barrel aging of up to three years. Made of a secret blend of lambics hand-selected by Belgo-American beer pioneer Don Feinberg from three authentic Belgian Geuzestekkerij (blenders), it’s got mellow carbonation, pleasant barnyardy notes, and a lemony tartness that cleanses the palate well – making way for another memorable bite.


Bar on Buena, Chicago Beer and Cheese Event  January 2010

An evening of fantastic flavors with Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield of Vanberg & DeWulf


Witkap Stimulo                                        Papillon Rondi

Saison Dupont                                         Five year-old Gouda

Biere de Miel                                            Saint Nectaire

Vicaris Dubbel                                         Uplands Pleasant Ridge

Scaldis Refermentee                                Taleggio

Scaldis Prestige de Nuits                         Brillat-Savarin


A bit about Don Feinberg and Vanberg & DeWulf:

Don Feinberg and his wife Wendy have pioneered Belgian beer culture in the U.S. market since 1982. Not only do they import some of the finest beers from Belgium (Brasserie Dupont, Brasserie Dubuisson, Brouwerij Slaghmuylder)  and France (Brasserie Castelain), they have been major forces in the introduction and growth of Belgian beer in the U.S. market since its inception. They were formerly responsible for importing Duvel, Affligem, Rodenbach, Bosteels, Boon Lambics, and Jenlain back in the 80’s and also co-founded Brewery Ommegang in 1997. The Ommegang abbey ale, Hennepin, Rare Vos, and Three Philosophers are their recipes.

Don has played a role in supporting not only artisan beers but also the celebration of artisan and specialty foods, and was a large part of that growth with Dean & DeLuca in New York City, (the first off premise account in New York to carry specialty beers). As a result of their efforts, Don and Wendy were honored to be the first Americans ever inducted into the Belgian Brewer’s Guild in its 500-year history.



SUMMER 2011 This  great fundraiser and beer event was held in the countryside outside Milwaukee. We had our beers paired with Saxon’s wonderful cheeses. Jerry did special editions of washed rind cheeses using our beers too. Awesome event!

Vanberg & DeWulf – Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield

Saxon Homestead Cheese – Jerry Heimerl

Flight One

Green Fields

A semi-soft washed rind from raw cow’s milk, carefully tended to for 70 days then wrapped in a special breathable package for its journey from our creamery to you.

Avril- Brasserie Dupont, Belgium

Bieres de table are not the heavy hitters Belgium is so famous for – but are central to Belgian beer culture because they are how Belgians learn to appreciate beer. They are typically enjoyed with home cooked meals at the family fining table. There is no finer example of the style than Avril, one of the most commended session beers in the world. Avril is USDA certified organic, aromatic like fresh bread, full in the mouth and light on the finish.

Flight Two


A sophisticated cheese with a nutty flavor and a supple body, as comfortable in the kitchen as it is in on the table. Cooked pressed curds from whole raw cow’s milk with a light, dry, washed rind ripened a minimum of 90 days, peaking a 150, with a shelf life of 9  months.

Scaldis Peche Mel- Brasserie Dubuisson, Belgium

A deliciously drinkable beer with the heady aroma of peach, a well-balanced malt character, and a surprisingly dry finish. This beauty is based on a favorite drink made by students that combined peach lambic and classic Scaldis,  Peche Mel redefines what a fruit beer can taste like.

Flight Three

Big Ed’s

Young, mild, but full of flavor, with a buttery body. Enthusiastic, like Ed Klessig, whom it was names after, it hugs you back, never offends, and is great both for first time tasters and aficionados. A clean rind cheese made from raw cow’s milk formed into cooked, pressed curds and ripened 120 days, with a shelf life of six months- clean rind cheeses are meticulously wiped to keep them clean, cultivating a near perfect rind.

Saison Dupont- Brasserie Dupont, Belgium

“Legendary, hailed as the world’s best saison.  Piquant, peppery hop bitterness rounded out by green apple, sugared grapefruit, and unyielding yeast character.”- Ben McFarland, World’s Best Beers

“Beautifully balanced, complex example of truly artisanal brewing.  Classic producer of the style.” -Michael Jackson

“The best beer in the world.  Period.” – Men’s Journal

Flight Four


A meaty cheese, young, but dense, mellow but full of flavor, creamy, with a sweet taste that lingers. Bandaged wrapped raw milk cheese aged 120 days.

Hop Ruiter- Vanberg & Dewulf Selection

We love telling customers Hop Ruiter is imported from 1982 – when Don was a grad student in Belgium and strong golden ales were funky, malty, and full of character! This 8%abv bottle-conditioned strong golden ale combines Belgian appreciation for aromatic esters with the American love of hops. But unlike American IPA’s and Belgian IPA wannabes, Hop Ruiter celebrates the finesse Belgians bring to using hops. Three different varieties (none American) are used; one in the boil and two in dry hopping. Winner best new beer from a Belgian microbrewery at the most prestigious competition in Belgium, in Antwerp (2011).

Flight Five

Green Fields 1st Edition: Specially Aged with Scaldis Beer

A semi-soft washed rind from raw cow’s milk and washed with Scaldis, a Strong Belgian Ale.

Scaldis- Brasserie Dupont, Belgium

Scaldis was created in 1933 by Alfred Dubuisson, grandfather of the present family brewer, Hugues Dubuisson.  It’s amber color is due to the use of caramel malt in the production process. Its bitter-sweet taste provides it with firm body and character.


Gone Fishing in Belgium

Whew, the C2CT2 was last night. I’ve scarcely a spare moment to gather my thoughts, let alone luggage before heading to beloved Belgium tomorrow. I’m off to meet Janet Forman, who is a friend and beautiful writer. We’re going on a contemplative travel adventure – on retreat at Westmalle, and to visit the beguinages of Flanders. These are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, places where since the Middle Ages up to the 21st century women have taken refuge. The beguines are also known as the first feminists of Europe. A couple of them were even brewers. By the time I return, I expect to know a good deal about the subject. The exploratory is to be the topic of a story by Janet for National Geographic Traveller. The beguinage movement is of special interest to me because for a time I ran a women’s retreat (founded in the Progressive Era for textile workers), and because the little house that we recently bought in Ghent backs up to one of these beguinages.

In the second half of my trip I’ll reunite with Don. We’ll visit with our brewer friends, get acquainted with our new house, and finalize shipments of a couple of new beers.

We wish you all a peaceful Thanksgiving in the company of loved ones. A special thanks to our Coast to Coast Toast hosts and members of the distributor community for making this year’s Toast utterly stupendous. I’ll be back in action in Chicago in the 2nd week of December. Drop me a line if you have a question, or if you want to share an observation

The 2nd Annual Coast to Coast Toast: Vanberg & DeWulf Celebrates at Grant Achatz’s The Aviary

Grant Achatz is very famous. But how many of you know quite how extraordinarily original a talent he is? The WSJ calls Aviary “the most anticipated cocktail bar in the history of booze based endeavors – part of a two pronged follow up to his temple of molecular cuisine”. Consider this Chuck Sudo, Chicagoist piece about the “porthole” a special device they use at Aviary in concocting drinks

Scaldis Prestige de NuitsBeer is by no means the Aviary’s stock in trade. That’s why we were all the more tickled when Grant asked to do an event together with us. We and Micah Melton Aviary’s GM (see this story on the genius of ice) and our friends at Windy City tasted and talked to come up with a phenomenal short list of beers around which Grant’s Aviary team could work their magic.

You’ll taste beer – pure and simple, cocktails made with our beers, drinks and foods inspired by the spices in our beers. Vicaris Tripel Gueuze, Hop Ruiter, Lambrucha, Lambickx, Scaldis Prestige and more will undergo deconstruction, examination and explanation during the course of the night.Vanberg and DeWulf, co founders Wendy Littlefield & Don Feinberg (we’re now Chicago residents) are basing the Chicago iteration of the Coast to Coast Toast at Aviary on November 15th. It is one of 400 parties taking place on the same night across the country, in Belgium, England, Italy, France and Iceland to celebrate the anniversary of these pioneering specialty beer importers and brewers. There will be many sensational events that night – but trust us, there has never before been anything remotely like what Lambickxis planned at Aviary. Do join us.

The Event takes place from 6pm-9 pm.
As a part of the ticket you will be offered 6 draft beers, beer cocktails, and paired food as part of a beer tasting menu. The cost of the ticket will be $77 for the event excluding tax and gratuity.Tickets are limited but we’re looking forward to hosting Vanberg and DeWulf and hope to see you there.

Email to secure your spots.


The Aviary and Vanberg & DeWulf

Two Recipes for Your Coast to Coast Toast: Endives and a Very Beery Chocolate Cake

Coast to Coast Toast Classic Recipes

These are cozy homey recipes made with and/or meant to pair with our beers. We made these dishes for our family and friends throughout our time in Cooperstown. As a thank you to you our dear Coast to Coast Toast Hosts we’re compiling an online leaflet of best loved classics. We’ll be rolling out a couple each week leading up to the event in November. Sure, go ahead and try them out for your restaurant menus. We think you are just as likely to want make them at home. For a fuller explanation of the aesthetic and influences behind these dishes, you’ll want to take a peek at the introduction to the menu section of this C2CT Tool kit. Smakelijk!

Coast to Coast Toast Classic Recipe: Endive, Ham and Cheese au Gratin

We learned a lot about eating in our lives as a young married couple in Belgium. We learned to love endives. In Belgium, endives are a national delicacy.  The Endive au Gratin is a classic preparation of the vegetable that deserves more currency in American kitchen. This recipe does not come to us from a celebrated chef, but an authority nonetheless – The Belgian Endive Marketing Board.

Chicon (in French) or Witloof (in Flemish) wrapped in ham is a staple of Belgian home cooking.  Served with salad, bread and a bottle of Belgian ale, it makes a satisfying weekend lunch or a simple supper.

The endive was accidentally discovered by a Belgian farmer in 1830. And so it is exactly one year older the nation itself. Its mystique has been enhanced by the many failed attempts to mechanize the unusual growth process of the endive.  The Belgian Endive Marketing Board asserts that “the endives need for round the clock attention is still best suited to Belgian farmers, who perform their task with the passion of true artists.”   Each leaf of endive, though high in minerals and purportedly good for liver, contains only one calorie. Its cousin, which we call escarole, is native to Egypt and it was sown in Charlemagne’s demonstration gardens throughout his lands.


4 tb olive or vegetable oil

whole heads Belgian endive cored

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper

1 tablespoon flour

½ cup grated Gouda or Jarlsberg or other mild nutty cheese

2 tb grated Parmesan Cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

8 slices of Ardennes ham (or Black Forest ham)

Chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a frying pan, lightly sauté the endives, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the red and green pepper to the oil and lightly sauté them, remove them from the pan, and set aside.  Add the flour to the oil and stir until lightly browned.  Add the salt and pepper and blend in with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Add the cheeses and blend until the cheese melts.  Stir in the sautéed red and green peppers. Place the sautéed Belgian endives in an oven-proof casserole.  Wrap each endive in a slice of ham. Cover with the cheese sauce and place in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubble and brown.  You may brown it under the broiler for a minute or two if you wish.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Accompany with a Witkap Stimulo or Posca Rustica. Both beers beautifully complement this dish.

Coast to Coast Toast Classic Recipe: Scaldis Chocolate Cake with St. Amand Frosting



Cake Ingredients

1 c plus 2 tbsp. salted butter

2 1/2 c cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 1/3 c sugar

3 ozs. unsweetened Baker’s chocolate, melted

1 c Scaldis Blonde Tripel, flat

Chocolate Chip and St. Amand Cake Frosting

1 lb semisweet real chocolate chips

2 tbsp. salted butter

5 tbsp. St. Amand

5 tbsp. milk



To Make The Cake

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease two 9″ cake pans with 2 tbsp. butter and dust with 1/4 cup flour. Shake out and discard any excess flour, set pan aside. Mix the remaining flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat the egg whites with 2 tbsp. of the sugar until stiff peaks begin to form. With an electric mixer, cream the remaining sugar with the butter until light in texture. Stir in the melted chocolate and the Scaldis Blonde Triple beer, and then gradually beat in the flour mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold in the egg whites. Scrape half the batter into each of the cake pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool while you prepare the frosting.

To Make The Frosting

Soften the chocolate chips and butter in a double boiler. (The chips should be soft, but still hold their shape.) Remove from heat. Using an electric beater, beat the chocolate and butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the St. Amand beer and milk, one tbsp at a time, until the mixture is soft and shiny. remove the cakes from the layers. Frost the layers.

Wisconsin Heroes of the Good Beer Movement

Wisconsin has a reputation for being a great place for foodies, and if we ever had the slightest doubt of that distinction, our latest Wisconsin trip has more than dispelled it.

It all started with a man named Cliff Kaplan, the Director of Specialty Beer Sales at Beechwood, our fantastic Wisconsin distributor.  Cliff worked long and hard to convince the folks at the Bartolotta Group to host their first import beer dinner.  Once Bartolotta’s said yes, they executed it brilliantly.

Bartolotta Beer Dinner Cover

Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro sits on Lake Michigan, in a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (the same genius behind New York’s Central Park and Prospect Park).  On December 2, Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro hosted a seven course dinner featuring Vanberg & DeWulf beers.  The orchestrators of this stellar dinner, which drew in 90 revelers, was composed of General Manager John Wise, Assistant Manager and Beer Buyer Scott Williams, and James Beard Award Winner for Best Chef Midwest, Adam Siegel. The whole team is to be commended for the love and attention they put into the dinner; you can take a peek at the menu here, but since it was so delicious and special, we will be featuring it in our glossy portfolio next year.

On Saturday, we had a great dinner with Cliff, his wife, and his friends, during which we discovered that Cliff himself is an amazing cook.  On Sunday, we headed off to Madison for a continuation of the 30th anniversary celebrations at Brasserie V, another spectacular dinner that merits its own writeup.  Brasserie V is owned by Matt Van Nest, and the kitchen belongs to Rob Grisham.  To be continued…

Brasserie V’s “Belgian Holiday” Beer Dinner

On Monday, December 5, 2011, Madison-based Brasserie V will be hosting a 5-course “Belgian Holiday” Beer Dinner featuring Vanberg & DeWulf beers.  Join Don and Wendy at this delicious event, and make sure to check into Untappd if you still haven’t earned your Belgian Holiday badge.  More beer dinner information from the Brasserie V site:

Beer Dinner with Vanberg & DeWulf Importers

Monday, December 05 2011, 5:45pm - 9:00pm

Monday, December 5th, we will be offering a 5-Course “Belgian Holiday” Beer Dinner.  Special guests for the evening will be Don Vanberg and Wendy Littlefield, owners of Vanberg & DeWulf Importers.  This marks Vanberg & DeWulf’s 30th year importing specialty beers from Belgium and Northern France. All the beers they represent come from independent, family-run breweries committed to traditional methods of production. Learn more about them here:

Each course will be paired with one of their great beers including Hop Ruiter, Dupont  Avec les Bon Voeux, and Scaldis Noel.  Doors will open at 5:45 for mingling and appetizers with seating at 6:30 for the 5-Course Dinner.  Cost for the evening will be $60 and Reservations are required.  So give us a call at 255-8500 to reserve your spot as it will fill up fast!  Credit Card needed to hold your reservation with a 48-hour cancellation required.

How Did Your Toast Go? Jon Meyerow & Tria are Heroes of the Good Beer Movement This Week

This is just one in a series of totally fabulous iterations of the Coast to Coast Toast here. The excellent and resourceful Jon Myerow of Tria Cafe in Philadelphia coerced the writer Lew Bryson to come in and quiz his customers.

The list of beers includes ones we once imported and or brewed as well as some in our current portfolio. We were glad to be in Chicago …. but sorry to miss out on being at this place with these wonderful people. Not surprisingly Draft Magazine named them one of the 100 Best Bars in the Nation.

 ”Though it’s billed as a wine, cheese and beer café, Tria’s dedication to suds is clear: At Sunday School events, attendees discuss flavor profiles and pairings; writer Lew Bryson teaches about local brew; and the off-premise Tria Fermentation School brings in vintners, cheese makers and brewers to explain their craft. The buzzing Rittenhouse Square spot rotates 30 thoughtful selections 123 S. 18th St.”

Don’t know the difference between Cabernet and Carmignano, an Abbey Dubbel and a Strong Golden Ale? Don’t worry. Their friendly, knowledgeable staff will help guide you through a memorable wine, beer and cheese and beer. Purposeful, intelligent, dedicated to getting it right – that is what Jon Myerow and his people aim for and achieve. Don loves “lecturing” at Tria. Here it is:

Tria Cafe’s Vanberg & DeWulf Coast to Coast Toast

In 1982 Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield (they’re married) starting importing Belgian beer to the United States. They introduced us to beers like Duvel and Rodenbach. They founded Belgianesque Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. And they’re still going strong and continuing to innovate. Don is a regular instructor at Tria Fermentation School. They’re so cool. So tomorrow, Tria joins several hundred restaurants across the nation to toast Vanberg & Dewulf’s lasting contribution to our thriving Belgian beer culture.

The Beers
(Breendonk, Belgium ∙ 8.5%) $3/6oz tasting portion
No longer in V&D’s portfolio – they focus on smaller breweries – but a world classic. Yeah, we know you’ve had this. It’s still wonderful.

Dupont Monk’s Stout
(Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium ∙ 5.2%) $3½/6oz tasting portion
Pennsylvania debut! The iconic Dupont farmhouse brewery has recently added some new brews, including this old recipe for the newly popular Belgian Stout style.

Ommegang Adoration DRAFT
(Cooperstown, NY ∙ 10.0%) $4/6oz tasting portion
Newly released spiced holiday ale from the great Belgian-style brewery that Don and Wendy launched in 1997. (Well actually that was 3 Philosophers)

Dupont La Bière de Belœil
(Tourpes-Leuze, Belgium ∙ 8.5%) $4/6oz tasting portion
Pennsylvania debut! Another new brew from Dupont! This one is a strong, darker-than-usual named after the Château de Belœil, a tourist attraction near the brewery.

Scaldis Prestige de Nuits
(Leuze-Pipaix, Belgium ∙ 13.0%) $6/3oz tasting portion
One of the world’s costliest beers. Hey, it’s aged for 6 to 9 months in barrels from Burgundy’s legendary vineyards of Nuits-Saint-Georges.

The Quiz
Prominent and really fun beer writer Lew Bryson has concocted a special quiz on the beers and breweries of Vanberg & Dewulf and he will be administering the quiz from 6 to 9 pm. Get the highest score and win big – a Don-and-Wendy-autographed rare 1st edition of The Great Beers of Belgium (they made this Michael Jackson book happen), a Lew Bryson-autographed Beers of Pennsylvania, 4th Edition, some cool V&D beer glassware and more. And even if you don’t win, it’s always a blast to talk beer with Lew.

Place Tria Wash West
Date Tuesday, November 15
Time Beers from 4pm-Close / Lew’s quiz from 6-9pm

When: November 15th, 2011
Hours: Tapping is at 4pm. When it’s gone, it’s gone
Admission: No reservations – just show up
Location: Tria Washington Square West

Rattle N Hum’s Vanberg & DeWulf PoorMan’s Beer Dinner

On November 14, 2011, Rattle N Hum kicked off Coast to Coast Toast celebrations with a Vanberg & DeWulf PoorMan’s Beer Dinner.  Cheers, NYC!  Have a peek at their menu:
Come join us for yet another PoorMans Beer Dinner this coming Monday evening in celebration of Vanberg & DeWulf’s 30 years of EXCELLENCE in the beer community. Chef Stephen Durley came up with the food and Patrick paired! $25 for the dinner, includes beer flight, food flight plus a tasting of Lambickx and Lambrucha after dinner.

1st course – Blue cheese & Fig toast – Birreria Amiata Contessa (Italian pale ale)

2nd course – Honey glazed spicy chicken lollipop – Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux (saison)

3rd course – Lamb slider w/feta – Dilewyns Generaal Abbey Dubbel

4th course – Spiced cake with Belgian beer sauce & whipped cream – Scaldis Noel (Belgian strong ale)

Coast to Coast World Premiere: an interview with Brasserie Dupont’s Brewer, Olivier Dedeycker

Olivier DeDeycker,  the brewer and partner at the family-run Brasserie Dupont, makes some of the world’s most admired beers. Saison Dupont has been called “The best beer in the world. Period.”  Talented US microbrewers so often name Dupont  ”their favorite beer that they don’t brew” that we have stopped counting. Olivier has never travelled to the States to meet his legions of admirers.  But now, thanks to the good work of our friend the beer writer, photographer, and beer enthusiast, Chuck Cook, we are pleased to present you with a 6 minute video interview with Olivier – in English – about  Brasserie Dupont, the beers, and the brewery history. We decided to debut it just in time for the Coast to Coast Toast so that publicans who want to include a video component to their celebrations could present it as a sneak peek at a simply superb Belgian brewing operation. So, go with Chuck behind the scenes and meet Olivier DeDeycker.  This film and the accompanying 5000 word story took Chuck a very long time to compile. In order to view it you’ll have to log in and pay $4.99. All the proceeds go to Chuck who created this as a labor of love.

An aside for publicans:  You’ll want to hush your crowd in advance of running this video, if people are going to appreciate and understand what Olivier is saying. He is by nature a soft spoken, modest and thoughtful guy. No pyrotechnics here, just considered and frank answers from one of the world’s best brewers.  Enjoy! And thanks to Chuck for ushering this project along over many months, and numerous visits to Dupont. Nice job!

Don Feinberg & Wendy Littlefield
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