Monday, December 07, 2009

12 Beers of Christmas to Begin Dec. 12th

On December 12th for 12 days straight, Flossmoor Station Brewery will release a one-of-a-kind, completely unique beer especially for that day. We will tap the beer when we open and when it is finished, we’ll have the next day to look forward to!

On the first day of Christmas my brewery gave to me…

Tappings!! (Finally)

The dates for the remaining two tappings for the year are set (finally!)

December 17th at 8pm we will be tapping "CHAOS!!!" A Belgian-style IPA

December 22nd at 8pm we will be tapping "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag" - Holiday Ale

Belgian-style IPA - 7.1%

This is a diversion from the American IPAs we have been putting out there. Actually, the inspiration for this beer comes from a west coast brewery that put out this insanely bitter, not very (hop) aromatic, light colored Belgian-style beer. This one was to be done at the Station! What we get is a light colored "IPA" that has most of the hops added at the beginning of the boil giving an intense and lingering bitterness. The flavor and aroma additions were small and gave a slight balance to the first hop addition. We have let the yeast do a lot of the talking with the additional flavors of this beer. As the name implies, CHAOS!!! was born into chaos, and has lived its short life in it since. From failed coolant pumps and rousing yeast to stalled fermentation and a very stubborn yeast, this beer has been a volatile handful. Delicious with an attitude. Give this one two sips before passing judgment, it may spill itself on you out of spite.

Santa's Got a Brand New Bag

Belgian-style Holiday Ale ~8.0%

Santa's bag will have new goodies inside if he ever gets a taste of one of these! Not your typical holiday ale, we have left out the usual suspects (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc...) in favor of some lighter spices which will allow the yeast flavors to come through more cleanly. To get a light citrus flavor to our beer, we have mashed with orange and lemon peel along with a subtle amount of coriander. During the boil we added fresh ginger to accentuate the spicy phenols produced by the yeast. A nice red hue, this one is sure to warm the belly.

Killer Wood is almost out!

The current offering in the Barrel-aged line-up, Killer Wood, is in its final days at the Station. This smooth, silky, bourbon blast was certainly a treat. I am sure that the next one will be even better received. Anno Unum, an unblended sour red ale, will be on tap to ease the KW absence. This is the same beer that has poured at the Great Taste of the Midwest and the 2009 FoBAB. Look for it in the coming week!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Bourbon Aged Beer on Tap

Killer Kapowski aged 5 months in an oak bourbon barrel (9%) is now pouring under the name "Killer Wood". Delish.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Stout Pouring Now

Devout Stout (Oatmeal Stout) has been tapped and is currently pouring. This opaque black stout has plenty of roasted malts to keep the chill away. Medium-bodied and moderately hopped, this beer has hints of coffee and earthy flavors. At 5.5%, there may just well be some devout followers of this one! A tip of the hat to Richard Grant, our Assistant Brewer for coming up with this tasty treat.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Black Magic Bottles Now Available

The bottles of Black Magic have rolled off the line and currently available at the brewery with black metallic wax. They should be available shortly at stores in the Chicagoland area soon.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bottles, bottles, and more bottles....

Black Magic IPA will be in bottles starting Tuesday, November 10th. They will have a Black Metallic wax.

We have in our fermentation tanks a "bottle-only" release beer, and as the release suggests will not be sold on draft. It is called "Hi-Fi Rye". Hi-Fi is a Rye Wine or for those who are all technical and such, a barley wine-style ale made with more than 50% rye malt. Ours happens to be 58% rye and hopefully will finish around 11%. This beer will be aged in stainless and bottled in February for a release of 55 cases. We are splitting this batch with some going into barrels for another bottle release this time next year with a bourbon aged version of Hi-Fi (~75 cases). Can't wait to enjoy this one.

New Bourbon Beer at the Station

Well, it appears all of the Barrel Aged Big Black Pumpkin has been consumed. That is certainly bittersweet as it was a great barrel aged offering. HOWEVER, not to disappoint, we are currently offering the Pullman's Reserve on draft. We took a Pullman Brown ale and aged it in a Bourbon barrel for five months. What we get out is an extremely complex, dark, delicious brew. Flavors of oak, bourbon, and Pullman Brown are equally represented and warm the belly at around 8%ABV. Get your snifter today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Please note change.......

The IPA tapping date of Nov. 10th has been changed. The new date is Nov. 3rd. Thanks!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Festival of Wood and Barrel-aged Beers Nov. 7th

If there are any Bourbon barrel-aged beer fans out there don't miss this fest. The event is November 7th and consists of two sessions. Info here There will be beers from all over the country from the top breweries. Awards will be given at the evening session for the top honors. Flossmoor will feature 4 beers (all aged in bourbon barrels): Anno Unum Belgian-style Sour, Pullman's Reserve Brown Ale, Killer Kapowski Baltic Porter, and the Big Black Pumpkin. Proceeds from the event go to fund the Illinois Brewer's Guild so come out and support all of Illinois' breweries! See you there.

Beer: Breakfast Beverage???

We are going to be releasing out King Wheat Hefeweizen on Saturday, November 14th at 10:00 AM. This will be our second Hefeweizen Breakfast and we are pleased to be having it again. We will feature a menu with items suited for a German-style breakfast and for an American-style breakfast as well.

Mark the date and time as we will also be releasing the last 24 bottles of Ovation! There will be 24 bottles available at 10AM to the first persons to get them. I am crying a small tear that there is so little available!

Black Magic IPA Tapping!

The newest IPA is in the tanks and ready for dry-hopping. The date has been set for Tuesday, November 3rd at 8pm. This newest IPA is a twist on the style purely for the sake of being different. The Black Magic IPA, as the name implies, is going to have the look of a stout and the taste of a regular IPA. It will be dry-hopped with Chinook only yielding a piney, resinous, and lingering bitterness. We will update the post with the ABV when it is done fermenting. Check back to find out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Black Pumpkin

It has finally come to the season that I love the most - Bourbon Beer season. The temps have just cooled enough that these monsters-in-a-snifter can be quaffed. We will be featuring bourbon aged beers throughout the fall, winter, and maybe spring (if they last.) Initially, we will be rolling out the beers that were in barrels when I arrived. I have a few of my own in the basement, but still a little young. When we keg up all the barrels we have to fill them up again so there is an abundant supply. Here are the stats on the first beer. Hope you enjoy.

Bourbon Barrel-aged Big Black Pumpkin (B4P)

ABV: ~9%

Style: Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter aged in Bourbon Barrels

Description: Pours inky black with brown foam. Aromas are complex with tart, cardamom spice, and bourbon most prevalent. Initial tartness in flavor yields to subtle chocolate and pumpkin spice finish. Slight alcohol warming after drinking.

Sizes Avail: - Snifter ONLY.

PS - LET THE BEER WARM SLIGHTLY BEFORE DRINKING. As the beer warms up, more of the base beer style comes through like the pumpkin and spices. Until then, the bourbon and oak flavors dominate. Remember also this is a bourbon barrel aged beer - flavors of the base beer fade over time, and new interesting ones emerge. Please don't be disappointed if there is just hints of what the beer was before it went into the barrel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

IPA in bottles and CE '09

Just a quick post to let everyone know that our IPA (Hop Huffer) is down to the last couple of cases and will soon be sold out. So get the bottles while you can! However, it will still be on tap in the pub for you to enjoy! Speaking of on tap, we are also down to our very last keg of Collaborative Evil '09 in the pub. Once that goes it will only be available in bottles.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ruby Brown Munich Dunkel Tapping

The next tapping will take place October 20th, 8pm. We will be releasing our "Ruby Brown" Munich Dunkel (even though many of you have sampled Ms. Brown at previous Oktoberfest events across the city!) This deep copper/brown lager has aromas and flavors of chocolate, roast malts, and a classic lager finish. The body is medium to light and tips the abv scale at 6%. Can't wait to see you all again.


Friday, October 02, 2009


There WILL NOT be any of the Ovation bottles for sale preceding out Oktoberfest due to our labels not receiving approval in time. We will still be having this release pending the approval of the label, and I will announce it at the next tapping as well as on the blog. Please let us say we are truly sorry for this snafu.

There WILL BE plenty of Collaborative Evil '09 for sale beginning at 10am for Mug Club Members and at 11am for the general public. Can't wait to see everyone.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Upcoming Tapping

The next tapping will on Tuesday the 29th of Sept. We will be tapping the Hop Huffer IPA, a wet hop IPA (Chinook, Ahtanum) clocking in at around 8% abv. We look forward to seeing you there. Now, we are headed out to the GABF. Keep your fingers crossed that we win a medal!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cystic Fibrosis event at the new HALF ACRE brewery

If anyone is looking for a good excuse to drink and support a good cause, check out the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the benefit happening at Half Acre Oct 2nd 7:30 -10:30 at 4257 N Lincoln Ave. We'll be there!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dark Matter has arrived at the Station

There is nothing hypothetical about the Dark Matter that has ended up in the serving tank at Flossmoor. This 9.5% Russian Imperial Stout is rich and complex with coffee, dark chocolate, and slightly burnt tones. The hops are mostly for balance in this intense, big stout. medium to full-bodied with a gentle alcohol warming. Some of this stout will be kegged on coffee beans and re-released when the icicles are forming off our noses. Enjoy some now!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wet Hops!

Brewed the wet hop IPA today. Fresh, delicious hops brought to us straight from the vine (Chinook hop variety). Smells great....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Up and coming Tapping!

The next tapping will be on Tuesday, September 15. We will be tapping the Collaborative Evil at 8pm. Due to it's potency (10.6% abv) it will be served in snifters. We look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dark Matter is Brewing

Brewed an Imperial Stout called "Dark Matter" today. It's very heavy...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some More Great Taste Pics

But Wait There's More!

We are also tapping The Turk Belgian Saison on Aug. 20th. This saison has spicy notes due to the Saaz hops used in the boil and is rounded out with a nice Belgian yeast.

Friday, August 14, 2009


It's that time again. Tapping Time!
Freshly Uberhopped (during our boil) is an Imperial IPA with 6 hop additions and 40 plus pounds of hops added. Do you like hops? Then you WILL like this! When and where you ask? 8pm at the Floss. Be there on Tues. Aug 18th or miss out on the bitterness...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Here's some pics from the Great Taste. Once again it was a beautiful day, albeit hot and humid, for the event. The rain clouds parted by the fest opening and the beer gods smiled upon us. Cheers to everyone who stopped by Flossmoor to sample our beer! More pics to come...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Great Taste!

Don't forget, the Great Taste of the Midwest is this weekend. We look forward to seeing all of you out there at our booth!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Farewell to the Intern

Some of you may have met Nick, our intern, during the last month. He has helped us out and had some hands-on training. Yesterday was his last day with us at Flossmoor as he goes on to intern somewhere else before he starts beer school in the fall. Good luck Nick with all of your brewing pursuits!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Turk and more...

Brewed "The Turk" today, a Belgian style Saison with Grains of Paradise and orange peel in the mash. Should be tasty...
Keep an eye out for our tweaked version of the Panama Red. No major changes, the hops are the same and so is the balance, but it is a little "redder" in hue. We would love your feedback on the beer once it becomes available on tap. Let us know what you like or dislike about it.
It's almost time for the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison, WI. We'll be there and hope to see everybody at the Taste!

Dortmunder Tapping!

Mark your calendars for our next tapping date: August 4th @ 8pm
We will be serving the Proam Dortmunder, here's the beer info:

O.G. 11.5 degrees Plato (1.046)
F.G. 1.5 degrees Plato (1.006)
5.3% abv

So join us for this tapping of this delicious lager beer!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Collaborative Evil 2009

Some pics from our 2009 Collaborative Evil brew, notice Bryan adding one of the "secret ingredients" to the kettle. That was one full mashtun!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Big Brew Day!

Brewed a smaller test batch of the upcoming 2009 Collaborative Evil brew. Today's Big Brew Day was a chance for some of the Flossmoor staff to help out on a brew and learn what goes into making a batch of beer. We brewed about 10 gallons of beer.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Zephyr Among Us...

Brewed Zephyr Golden Ale today. Chicago once again surprises us with the coolest July 1st in 30 years. No complaints from the brewers...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ProAm and Bottles of IPA

We bottled the "Rye"m & Reason IPA which is now available for purchase/consumption. Look for it with the blue wax.

On another note, Steve Kamp, member of the B.O.S.S. homebrew club stopped by and helped us brew the ProAm entry for the GABF. Called "Frankenstein", after one of his cats, it is a Dortmunder and this is the first lager that Bryan and I have brewed at Flossmoor. All of us are very excited about it. Check out some of the photos of Steve hard at work!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Catch the brewery happenings with Twitter!

I now know that my lack of blogging has more to do with my lack of patience than not caring. One sentence updates are right up my alley! So if you want to catch what is the latest here at FSBC, please check out @FlossmoorBrewer on twitter.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Over the next couple of months, we are brewing up some pretty fun and interesting brews to be released in August and September.

Just as last year, we will be participating in a collaboration of breweries brewing the Collaborative Evil. This year's style is a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Each brewery is adding a unique ingredient (honey, spices/herbs, exotic sugars) that makes each one different. Our ingredient is still a secret -- at least until we taste the finished beer and it doesn't suck.

We are also brewing a Pro/Am beer for the GABF. Homebrewer extraordinaire Steve Kamp and I will be making his Dortmunder-style lager called Frankenstein. A nice lager to sip away the hot, summer ending days (dare I say "dog days";)

In addition to this we are also planning "The Turk", a Belgian Saison.

Can't wait to share them all with you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Climb the Summit!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Our next tapping will be held on Tuesday June 23rd, 8 pm.
Here's the stats:

Name: "Rye"m & Reason IPA
ABV: 7.5%
The details: A whole lotta Summit hops in the boil followed by a generous helping of Summit & Chinook for dry hopping. Nine (9) different malts were used in this recipe, that's right, NINE!

So prepare those taste buds and get ready to "rye"m...

Monday, June 15, 2009

handing of the reins

Mug Clubbers it has recently come to my attention that I am a substandard blogger!!! So, in order to ensure that all of you have the most up-to-date info, I am handing the reins to our worthy assistant, Richard Grant. As a result, you will be getting better updates, pics and info about happenings at the brewery. Of course, I will be happy to answer any posts/questions posed to me, but day-to-day posts will now be Richard's.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Springtime Tapping June 9th!

We are moving into spring and I can't think of a better time to tap our Frühling (Springtime in German) Kölsch. A Kölsch is a light hybrid beer style originating from Köln, Germany. It uses an ale yeast that is fermented close to lager yeast temperatures, yielding a beer with many of the same characteristics as a lager and an ale. It is an easy drinking, slightly fruity, light ale with a hint of black pepper in the finish thanks to the Saaz hop addition. Please join us for a pint after 8pm.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Time Out" IPA tapping Tuesday, May 19th

We are tapping the next IPA in the Brewer's Whim series Tuesday May 19th. Time Out is a little lighter in color and in the ABV coming in at 7.7%. The Centennial hop is featured in this beer with a 4 hop variety dry hop in the fermenter for extra hop flavor.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Brewer's Dinner Reminder!

There is still time to reserve your seats for the next Chef and Brewer's Dinner. Please join me for this Cinco de Mayo themed dinner that Chef Edwardo has prepared. If the sneak preview is anything like the actual dinner we are in for a treat. Get you reservation today!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


In addition to the Milky Way Stout tapping on the 11th, we will be having daily $3 specials of one of our taps. The line-up is below:

May 11th - Panama Red American Red
12th - Milky Way Stout
13th - Time Out IPA
14th - Gandy Dancer Honey Rye Ale
15th - Zephyr Golden Ale
16th - Station Master American Wheat
17th - Pullman Brown


Monday, April 20, 2009

Next Mug Club Tapping to celebrate American Craft Beer Week

Mark your calendars. the next Mug Club tapping will be held MONDAY, May 11th.

Name: The Milky Way Stout
Style: Sweet Stout
ABV: 5.6%

We don't usually hold tappings on Monday, but we are kicking off our celebration of American Craft Beer Week with this tapping. AmCBW will be May 11th - 17th and we will have one $3 pint on the menu with the style changing each day. The Brewer's Association has more information at their web page.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't be afraid of the dark...

The stout is making a comeback at the Station. We are going to have a stout back on tap and see how well it fits in the regular line-up. We will be rotating the stout style to better fit the season. To begin this new house style, we will offer the Milky Way Stout. This has been my favorite sweet stout around for a while so why not bring it back as our lead-off brew. Hopefully we can squeeze in four or five stouts throughout the year.

This will be the beer paired with the dessert course at the next Brewer's Dinner. There will also be a special small firkin of the Milky Way with spices that is an alternative pairing for this course also.

Keep an eye on the blog, as I will post a date this stout will be tapped.



Monday, April 13, 2009

Next Brewer's Dinner Menu -- Grab your Sombrero

The menu and the beer pairings for the Cinco de Mayo Brewer's Dinner, held ironically on May 5th, have been decided!


Welcome Beer 6PM Special Guest Tap TBA

First Course 6:30PM


Chicken TamaleOxaqueno

Paired with Pullman Nut Brown Ale



Paired with White Lady Belgian Imperial Wit


Grilled Shrimp and Mango with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Paired with Gandy Dancer Honey Rye Ale


Raspberry Sorbet


Grilled Tequila Lime Marinated Butt Steak smothered withCreamy Pablano Rajas with grilled cactus, chayote and potatoes Oxaqueno

Paired with Shimkos’ Simcoes IPA


Fried Banana Split with Coconut Ice Cream

Paired with Milky Way Stout (Special Cask variation also available)

After the preview we got, I can hardly wait for everyone to have a taste also. See you there.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Upcoming Beery Things

Just a little info about the upcoming brews and when they will be released...

April 7th Repeal of Volstead Act (Prohibition Laws) Special 5gal cask. Tapped at 6pm, on until empty.

April 14th Brewer's Whim IPA Series - Shimkos' Simcoes. An IPA with primarily Simcoe hops.

April 24th Pre-Dark Lord Day Bar-B-Q - Tapping a double Belgian-style Wit "White Lady". (And maybe the mystery bottles shown here depending on the bottle conditioning...)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Matt Van Wyk-Out!

This, my friends, will be my last post on the Flossmoor Beer blog. It's with a little sadness and a little excitement for the future that I leave Flossmoor Station after nearly six years at the helm. It has certainly been a great run and I wouldn't change it for the world. I definitely "grew up" as a brewer not only reflected in the awards we were fortunate enough to earn, but in other things like recipe development, brewing techniques, public speaking, and business etiquette. And I definitely couldn't have done it without a lot of help along the way. First, Andrew-thanks for putting this blog up so we could have a little corner of the web, and thanks for being my right hand man for so long. Your fingerprints are on FSBC, even if folks don't know it.
Dean and Carolyn, thanks for giving a young inexperienced brewer a chance to give it a whirl at your brewery. I think we did alright.
Next, Thanks to all the people I worked with over the years at FSBC-and especially Sandi who now keeps the boat afloat. You're more important than you realize.
Also, thanks to all my Illinois Craft Brewers guild buddies who have been so valuable to me. Thanks for all your advice and support when I was coming up clueless.
Finally, thanks to all the people who think enough of me and the beer I make to spend your hard earned money on it. I've enjoyed making it for you, but more importantly, I've enjoyed your friendship and conversation (most of you ;) ).

I'd also like to wish the best to Bryan Shimkos the new brewer. He is going to do great and I know you are all in good hands. Please stay loyal to Flossmoor Station. It is bigger than just the guy who makes the beer.
Bryan, I know you've been waiting for me to get out of the way, so here ya go-make some new friends ;)

Thanks everyone! If you feel like seeing what is going on in Eugene Oregon at Oakshire brewing, check in now and again at


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I went to Belgium. Wow! (Part IV) The final chapter.

They always say save the best for last, and in our last full day in Belgium we had a blast. From castle exploring to experiencing lambic straight from the barrels to dinner with great people, it was an awesome day and we couldn't have capped it much better.

If you're just joining in, you might check the three previous posts that detailed the 8 day trip my wife Jenni and I were fortunate enough to take before I left Flossmoor. Here's Tuesday in a nutshell:

We trained south of Brussels to Beersel. Here, we had a tour set up at Drie Fontienen and Boon, courtesy of Alex, the production manager of Palm breweries. On this day we were meeting up with the San Diego crew, but they were driving from Ghent to Westvleteren to have some Westy 12s in the cafe. Since the tour was set at 3F for 2:30, Jenni and I went early to see the castle.
The Beersel castle was very cool. Some better pics can be found at this site. Regardless, we braved the drizzly day and walked up and down several steps in search of the dungeon. We finally found it and I'm sure Jenni was happy because the annoying accent I was using as I pretended to be a knight running around a medieval castle was likely getting rather annoying. And I don't think she could stand another, "Have fun storming the castle" quote. Anyway, if you need something to divert your Belgian beer adventures, you must see the Beersel castle. They continue to renovate the site and it should be even better next time we go.

A break for lucnh inside the castle.

Jenni and I had a little more time to kill so we walked to Oude Beersel. Sadly, it seemed only open on Saturdays. We popped into two more cafes, Oude Pruim and Centrum Hotel for a beer while we killed time. These two places are listed in Tim Webb's "A Good Beer Guide To Belgium", a must have for the beery traveler. Thanks for loaning it to me Jeff.

Finally made it to the first stop on the brewery tours, Drie Fonteinen. Armand could not have been a better host. We met up with Alex, who is the production manager at Palm Breweries and he had arranged for us to see this brewery. Armand and his wife Lydie do all the work at this small lambic brewery. That, of course makes him very busy, but he graciously gave two hours! of his time to the American tourists.

Jeff Bagby, head of Pizza Port pubs in San Diego was the fearless leader throughout Belgium. Lookin' good Jeff.

Armand is telling us how lambic is REALLY made. He learned the gueze blending skill from his father (he learned it rather well, I must say). He has been doing it for many years and is now brewing and blending in Beersel. They also opened a cafe around the corner, but sadly it was closed that day so we couldn't indulge ourselves. This is me and Vince, the owner of Pizzza Port learning from the master.

3F had a coolship just as in Cantillon, but much smaller. A micro lambic brewer if you will? The fan is to keep the air moving so the wonderful organisms that make lambic special can find the sweet wort.

All lambic brewers seem to have a different way of "bunging" the casks when primary fermentation is finished. Armand just had a glass that perfectly fit in the bunghole. I didn't get a picture, but at the next brewery, Boon, they used cue balls from a billiards set!

Sampling Kriek in the tsting room. Armand pours it on beer engine as there is little to no carbonation and should not be pushed via CO2. Great Kreik.

Back in Armands cellar sampling lambic straight off the tank. This was quite a treat!

Drie Fonteinen is not only making some of the best lambic and gueze beer I tasted in Belgium, but Armand was such a great host during his busy day. Thanks!

Next stop, a little down the road in Lembeek, Boon Brewery.

A view on arrival.

The mash tun at Boon Brewery

The holding tank as the wort moves from Coolship to wooden barrel. Owner Fran Boon told us that if the barrel that the wort is going to is not ready it could sit in this tank for up to 3 days. Fermentation starts and is proof that the spontaneous fermentation from wild yeast in the air really happens.

The most amazing thing here was the barrels used for fermentation. They were nearly 10 feet tall! And he had 84 of them! They have a on-site cooper just for tending to the barrels. Really cool!

Once again, sampling from the casks. That is Frank Boon, another gracious host. He stayed late at work to show us his brewery, which was an amazing tour. The highlight was sampling a vertical of lambic of 1 month, 3 month, 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year. We could see how the lambic aged and get a glimpse into what the brewer/blender goes through as they try to make a consistent gueze. This was something I never would have been able to do on my own. Thanks Jeff and Alex for setting this tour up.

From there, the pictures end, but know that we had an amazing dinner with many bottles of lambic beers with Alex from Palm. Jenni and I had to take off the next morning to get home and pack up our house for the move to Oregon-not done yet as I type, yikes!-so said farewell to our friends from San Diego and hopped on the train back to Brussels. The trip back was uneventful and the beer I muled back made it safely (I can't say the same for the Kindereis-small chocolate eggs with toys inside- that we bought for our kids. Evidently they are illegal in this country and they had to take them. Thanks U.S. for controlling me so much and letting me know I am a bad parent and don't have the sense to take caution with my children. I toast you with the wonderful beers I brought back from Belgium!)

I wish I could better narrated the experiences I had while in Belgium. I hope a few of these pics and words in some way do it justice. I learned a ton, I drank a ton, and we laughed a ton. Thanks for the memories guys. Until we get back to do it again......

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I went to Belgium. Wow! (Part III)

Part III in the voyage de Belgium starts on Sunday morning as we boarded the train (which is remarkably easy to use) and headed to a little town called St. Niklaas. Why the Zythos beer festival is held there I will never know, but it was a nice little trip and a pretty good festival. IF nothing else, you could get a lot of great beers all in one place. And they served food, some of it traditional Flemish dishes, for just a couple of tokens. We had a great time sampling. Three of the San Diego crew, Julian, Yiga and Noah pose with Matt Brynildson of Firesone Walker between beers.

We were also lucky to have a friend to guide us around a bit, and that was Carl Kins. I met Carl a couple of years ago judging at the GABF. Carl judges at that event and the World Beer Cup. He has visited Flossmoor Station and I was happy to meet up with him both Thursday at the Pre Zythos fest and Sunday at the Zythos fest-Thanks for the ride from Alvinne Carl!!

Finally, I was also fortunate to see Joris Pattyn on both Thurs and Sunday as well. Joris is amazing and his knowlege and palatte with beers is incomprehensible. I had sent him a couple of special beers from my brewery and the moment I walked in he had two beers from his cellar. Wow! what a greeting. One was a very special beer from Westmalle that I can't get. The other was from a closed brewery, and the beer was 20+ years old, I think. It was actually a "mistake" beer that was double cherried. It has been resting in Joris' cellar for quite some time. I can't wait to try it.

Back to Brussels. When you are there, you must see the Mannekin Pis, a statue of a little boy pissing. You have to see it, because, well, that's what you do. Jenni was dissapointed at it's lack of size. I mean HEIGHT you sicko!

The Grand Place, which was just two blocks away from our apartment was beatiful. None of our pictures will do it justice, despite the fact that Jenni takes pretty good pictures. This was one building. The architecture and the grandeur of it all was amazing.

Since our San Diego buddies had full cars as they headed from Brussels to Ghent, we couldn't join them on a couple of brewery tours, so Jenni and I roamed around Brussels a bit. We hit a couple of churches, St. Catherines and St. Michel. St. Cats looked dirty and run down but was bery much a working church. That's the first shot below. And St. Michel is beautiful. While the pics below again won't do it justice, the stained glass and the statues were really cool. It was SO big as well.

We also hoofed it across town to see what the EU building was like. While not impressed (and we assumed that would be the case) it was neat to see where the capitol of Europe is located. And we burned some calories in the meantime.

Finally, after a couple of more beers, Jenni played with her night setting on the camera and tried to get the "lit up" Grand Place. Not bad. Trust me, it was gorgeous!

So, with one day of brewery travel to go and one day of traveling home, the trip is winding down. Tuesday is the tour of Beersel castle, Drie Fontenein, Boon, and dinner with Alex from Palm breweries. This was one of my favorite moments of the trip. Stay tuned for that....