Sunday, January 03, 2010

2010: Year of the Belgians

I originally started this blog for two primary purposes: to learn more about blogging, and as an avenue for my personal explorations into craft beer. Early on, I reigned in my focus, with my sites set on learning more about the local brewing community. In that time, I've tried some fantastic mid-western beers, traveled to 6 or 7 of the premier breweries in the 4 states region, and blogged about (most) of it along the way. At this point, I have a pretty good sense of what the region has to offer, and have found quite a few solid resources (see links to the left) regarding brewery maps, tasting calendars, and local beer guilds.

Now, in the same spirit of exploration, I'm turning my focus to another beer subgroup, Belgian beers. The holy grail of beer exploration, and the original extreme beers, Belgians range from Trappist dubbels and tripels to lambics and gueze to some of the newer styles who are challenging what it means to be Belgian. This beer subgroup is a complete world all its own.

In a trip to my local beer store, Belmont Party Supply, I discovered that they carry about 75 different Belgian beers (the top shelf of one long aisle and half of the second shelf). They probably have about that many Belgian-inspired beers as well. My goal for this year is a simple one--to work through those two shelves, researching and sampling as many of those Belgians as I can, logging about it here. In addition, focusing my homebrewing efforts, which have picked up in the last 6 months, on brewing these interesting beers, so that I can explore from a foundational level.

I'll still continue my exploration of mid-western beers as well, but over the coming months, look for new content, with a focus on Belgian beers, as I work to understand this complicated, challenging brewing class.