Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Is it a Lager or a Beer?

No, no and … no it’s all beer and under the big umbrella of beer, Lager as one of the 5 different Beer Types deserves its rightful place at the amber firmament. It’s like saying to a Chardonnay, is it wine or fermented grape juice. Despite it being called ‘fizzy pop’ by ignoramus beer snobs it is beer made from the same ingredients as many other beer and yes even the natural side product of fermentation, carbon dioxide or the fizz in your pint. Lager has a long history and wide cultural diversity often lost on many consumers intimidated by an army of Lager fonts in pubs and bars, with the bar staff none the wiser about the difference of the various Lager beer styles they have on offer. The end product a result of historical events, serendipity and cross border collaboration Lager was born in 1842 (which is long time ago enough for me so marketing stop trying to get us to believe your Lager brand has been around for longer than that), after Bavarian brewers discovered that beer tasted great after cold storing it in ice cellars and caves or even could be fermented under these conditions, before this practice made its way to Bohemia, now in the Czech Republic, to ferment the new golden coloured beer from the town of Pilzen after which a Danish brewing engineer ensured the longevity of this new and unique beer type which has conquered the world with the unique bottom or cold fermenting yeast culture. What many of us don’t realise is that the Lager Beer Type group contains many different Lager Beer Styles offering us a wide variety of colours (yes not all Lager is blond), strength and flavour patterns. So next time you go out do me a favour and ask the person behind the bar or god forbid serves you at the table whether they have a Pilsner, Pils, Vienna, Bock, Black Lager, Schwarzbier, Munich, North or South American or Asian style Lager and to top it completely ask what the difference is between all of them. Bonus points for anyone who can give me the address of a bar or pub who can answer the one million dollar question and rambling of brand names doesn’t count. You don’t want to know whether it is John Jones wine or Smith’s plonk but whether it is Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chablis or Gewurztraminer so why can’t we hear about the characteristics of Lager Styles or all Beer Styles for that matter.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Friday the 13th and the Knights Templar of Zythos

Why do we consider Friday the 13th being an unlucky day? Has it to do with the murder on Friday the 13th of the Knights Templar on papal order throughout medieval Europe to curb the might and power of the keepers of the Truth and Faith? We can only guess but one beer celebrates this day as their brand name Malheur means serendipity and every Friday the 13th is a perfect day to enjoy a good Malheur beer. This brewery creates great beers ranging from 6 to 12 ABV%, with the crown in their jewel being the Bière Brut, which are top fermented Ales, refermented with Champagne yeast and finished like Champagne. Hopefully we will soon have the opportunity to have the whole range over in the UK for a proper tasting … on a Friday the 13th of course. Another reason might be that you can only fit 12 Malheur beers in a crate but then you can always drink the 13th one. In conclusion I say that it is time for the Knight Templar to take up arms again, but this time to become the keepers of the truth and faith in name of Zythos.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Leiths cookery school lecture on 16th Feb

Speciality Beer and Food Matching Evening

A Food and Beer Matching evening hosted by Marc Stroobandt Master Beer Sommelier, featuring five or six leading Speciality beer brands paired with some simple food flavours. >>

A Food and Beer Matching evening hosted by Marc Stroobandt Master Beer Sommelier, featuring five or six leading Speciality beer brands paired with some simple food flavours. Students will receive guidance on how to understand and enjoy Speciality beer, how to select a Speciality beer, store and handle beer, how to match with food and overall appreciation of the category.

All students will receive a complementary goody bag containing a Leffe branded glass, educational information and recipe cards with food ideas to try at home. A great evening out and a fabulous Valentine present! For bookings: http://www.leiths.com/

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Dark Lord Survives

The Dark Lord survives...

Lucifer beer, previously belonging to the Riva Brewery group in Belgium, and now under ownership of Duvel Moortgat, who are more focussing on the Liefmans beers, have according info@bierpromotie.be come to an agreement for Den Anker brewery in Mechelen to continue the production of the devilish beer. So the universal balance is restored again to ensure that Duvel, Satan and Lucifer are present again to counter balance all the divine brews out there.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

F&B Food and Beer pairing event


The White Horse

Parsons Green London

17/02/09 @ 7pm


You saw him at Gordon Ramsay’s Taste of Christmas and now you have an opportunity to spend a whole evening with Beer Celebrity and F&B’s Master Beer Sommelier Marc Stroobandt - who will take you through an entertaining evening of Beer and Food Appreciation. Join us to taste 6 different beers with 6 matching foods freshly prepared by The White Horse chef as well as listen to great stories, quirky facts and interesting trivia.

For the beer enthusiast or anyone with a passion for fine food and drink learn how to identify different beers, how to taste and match beer with great food.

A great birthday present or Valentines Day present for himself. For more info or details please visit

www.fandbpartnership.com  or www.whitehorsew6.com 

For bookings please contact:

The White Horse
1-3 Parson's Green |
London | SW6 4UL

Telephone: 020 7736 2115

Speak to Jo


 A perfect blend of humour, entertainment and knowledge, I’d send my friends happily to have a really great time. Great balance of learning about beer and real entertainment…

          Sonia Harris, Business Development Manager, M&B - 19th December 2008

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

So what is a Triple beer?

Triple beers

Originally ‘Triple’ was used for monastic brews, like Trappist beers to indicate the strongest beer in the portfolio from a particular abbey. Together with the Extra, and Double it was also a reference to the Holy Trinity. The Trappist Westmalle Brewery was the first to create a Triple and the term has been used by other Trappist Monasteries, Abbey beers and many other beers. The definition of the term Triple has always been unclear and has caused a lot of confusion amongst brewers and consumers alike. F&B have deduced that Triple cannot mean the following because:

Not all Triple beers are triple fermented – although there are Triple beers, like Delerium Tremens, which undergo three different fermentation processes. Primary and secondary fermentation are not two different fermentations, as no other yeast culture is added to the beer during this fermentation process. So Brakspear Triple for instance claims to be Triple fermented but actually undergoes only two fermentations. The primary and secondary fermentation, is the same ongoing fermentation. There can only be two or more if other yeast strains and/or cultures are added. Triple is not a way of fermentation as many other beers, like Extra and Double beers, undergo similar brewing techniques and/or fermentation.

Not all Triple beers are bottle conditioned –. Beers like De Koninck Tripel has undergone its fermentation prior to being bottled and has no extra yeast and/or sugar added to create the carbon dioxide and/or slight increase in alcohol strength.

Triple is not a way of brewing beer – Not all Triple beers are brewed in exactly the same way. There are many ways of creating Triple beers, with various methods and even ingredients, resulting in a variety of different Triple coloured beers with inherent characteristics of beers from that particular brewery.   

Not all Triple beers are blond or golden coloured – Colour has nothing to do with Triple, Duvel being a prime example. The original Duvel beer was dark coloured and was changed following the popularity of Lagers. Most Trappist monasteries, Rochefort, Westvleteren will indicate their strongest beer as Triple and/or Quadruple, despite it not being labelled as such. Brewing formed part of their socio-economic projects to provide work for poorer people, who weren’t literate so terms like Double and Triple were used as work instructions so workers knew what beer to make that day.  

So what is a Triple beer?

Triple refers to alcohol strength and was used by brewers to indicate different alcohol groups as fermentation wasn’t really an exact science, especially before Louis Pasteur delivered his ground breaking work. In the past brewers or land lords used to put crosses on barrels of beer to indicate their strength but over time this was lost and marketers created XXXX – terms used for lower alcohol Lagers. Castlemaine and Dos Equis being examples.

The only logical explanation we have is that Triple indicates a beer with ABV of between 8.0% and 9.9% (between 8 and 10%) regardless of colour, aroma, flavour or ingredients, fermentation- and brewing method. Any beer above 10.0 % is referred to as a Quadruple. When it comes to beers on the edge of the benchmark it is always a judgment call. 

Monday, 2 February 2009

Hi just writing my first blog and using it to introduce myself and share some of my experiences and little knowledge and expertise I picked up on my travels around the world. Have been around for a while in the UK after crossing the pond from Belgium and many may have seen me at various festivals, tasting and training session or various web sites. With my business partner Fiona Smith I run the F&B Partnership (http://www.fandbpartnership.com/ for a show reel), which brings people who love and like food and beer together whilst going out or entertaining at home, through various training programs, events and hopefully soon on a unique web site. Last year took me to all corners of the UK and Ireland, all over the place in the States, culminating in coaching the US Champion at the World Draught Master Championship (indeed a beer pouring competition) taking him to the fourth place and Gordon Ramsay's Taste of Xmas to entertain guests with beer tasting session in the VIP Lounge. So now you can follow me on my travels in 2009 and I will update you on what's outhere in the vast beer world and I will throw around some discussion points to create a consensus around many beer related matters. So as they say watch this spot and hopefully see you soon ... Marc