A piece of news from FIFA on November 18 made many World Cup spectators dumbfounded—alcoholic beverages will be banned in all eight stadiums and surrounding areas of the World Cup in Qatar.
Of course, as an Islamic country, Qatar strictly controls alcohol and does not allow public drinking, but FIFA has previously stated that during this World Cup, fans can buy beer in specific areas and at specific times. Who would have thought that it would be so strict? Drinks are available at dozens of licensed hotels and clubs.
Beer is also an alcoholic beverage. Drinking beer while watching the World Cup was originally a hobby of Western Europeans. As strange as it might sound to drink a beer while watching football in the freezing cold, for the Belgians, it’s not a thing.
Beer is the national drink
Whether it is a sunny summer day or a rainy autumn and winter, whether it is a warm noon or a cold midnight, drinking beer is a part of Belgian daily life. Here, whether you are a dock worker or a university professor, whether you are an octogenarian or a young boy, whether you entertain guests at home or go to a museum to participate in an art exhibition, whether you are from a French-speaking area or a Dutch-speaking area, beer is the common language here.
Like chips, waffles, comics, kings and football, beer is an important bond in Belgian society. Belgium has three official languages, three administrative systems, and two communities, but when a Flemish and a Walloon both hold a beer glass, they are both Belgians. In 2016, Belgian beer culture was inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Along with beer is football that unites Belgian society and, coincidentally, the Belgian football league is sponsored by the country’s national beer, Jupiler.
Beer is the pride of Belgians. When you walk into the supermarket, you are faced with a wide variety of beers. At this time, an enthusiastic Belgian aunt will explain the taste of each beer to you and enthusiastically recommend her favorite beer to you. When I have dinner with friends, they will also hold the wine list and explain each beer on it like an expert.
As an Asian, whenever I walked into a local bar, I was always greeted by strangers who would warmly buy me a few beers and tell me welcome to Belgium. The oriental face puts me in Belgian bars where it doesn’t even cost me to drink.
”Can you recommend me the most popular beer in Belgium?”
”Maybe not, because every city and village has its own unique beer.” A friend I met in a bar told me .
”However, if you want a beer with the most Antwerp characteristics, I recommend Bolleke.”
The most classic Belgian wine list, usually includes 6 kinds of draft beer and 24 kinds of bottled beer.
The world-renowned Fujia beer
Walking into a bar, holding a drink list, and facing countless choices, it is very important to have a local by your side. The most classic Belgian drink list usually includes 6 kinds of draft beer and 24 kinds of bottled beer, and some bars even provide you with more than a hundred kinds of beer. Different brewers will launch custom beer glasses for their own brands. Crystal clear wine glasses, the smell of malt, happy bartenders, and guests who are enjoying their drinks… Every weekend, Belgian bars are always full of people.
The richest and most diverse flavors are the signature of Belgian beer. Perhaps Belgian beer will not leave the visual impact of a big glass of German beer, and perhaps the total annual beer production in Belgium is not as good as some states in the United States, but it has the largest variety of beer in the world.
Brewery blooms everywhere
Flying on a plane overlooking Belgium, you will see patches of green farms dotted with villages and cities. In villages and on the outskirts of cities, there will be at least one brewery.
Among them, there are not only large breweries, such as Delirium, Stella Artois and Belgian football sponsor Jupiler, but also unique breweries in small villages, and even families consisting of 2 to 3 people. winery. Hoegaarden beer, which is very popular in China at present, comes from Hoegaarden, a small town in Belgium with only more than 6,000 people.
In the 1950s, with the popularization of hops, the unique local Belgian white beer was once extinct in the world. However, the appearance of Pierre Serris, a winemaker from the small town of Fogga, changed that. He reverted to Belgian Gruit, a combination of spices rather than hops, to brew white beer. With Pierre’s efforts, Belgian white beer was revived. It can be said that the world-renowned Fujia beer is inseparable from the Belgian craftsman spirit in the field of beer.
Belgians care more about the craft of their beer than their prolific neighbor Germany. Many times, they prefer to study winemaking as a hobby and career. Every Easter and Christmas Eve, supermarkets are stocked with new beers. Winemakers use the holiday season as an opportunity to market their new releases. Once the new flavor is accepted by the market, they will mass-produce this beer.
Beer spa in Brussels, Belgium, November 01, 2022 with water mixed with hops, malt and herbs
In university cafeterias in Belgium, college students also choose to drink water or beer.
In addition to the excellent winemakers, wine tasting is also a science in Belgium. In Belgium, there is a category of specialists called Zythologists. Zythos comes from the Greek word for “beer”, and Zythologist is a beer scientist. They will systematically understand, study and study every link of beer production, making, processing and drinking, and take beer tasting as their career. In the famous University of Leuven, there are special courses and majors for the research of beer culture.
Beer lovers have established various beer-themed museums across the country. Some of these museums are about the history of beer, some are about the processing and production of beer, and some are about beer and health. According to legend, in the Middle Ages, Father Arnold, the bishop of St. Peter’s Cathedral in Oldenburg, encouraged local people to drink alcohol, and then cured many people’s diseases. He also called beer a “gift of health”.
drinking beer since childhood
Why do Belgians love beer so much? Maybe it’s because drinking starts with a doll.
”At what age did you start drinking alcohol?”
”If you count alcoholic drinks, you were young.” Many families in Belgium brew their own drinks, which contain more or less alcohol. Before the 1960s, in elementary school cafeterias in Belgium, students could choose to drink tea, coffee or “table beer” with no more than three alcoholic degrees. Even in the 1980s, university students in Belgian university cafeterias had the option of drinking water or beer. Soft drinks are a new thing for Belgians.
Even if you don’t actively drink, there is a lot of “passive drinking” in Belgium. Whether it’s Stoofvlees (beef stew) or Mussele (mussels), chefs will add beer as an indispensable seasoning. Top chefs feel that you can cook without salt, but you must not leave out wine.
All kinds of social occasions also provide enough stage for beer. I still remember that when I first came to Belgium, I went to attend an academic lecture. After the lecture, everyone, no matter whether they knew each other or not, agreed to go to Café, so I joined in with great interest. When I came to Café, what greeted me was not coffee and cake, but glasses of beer. Listen to a lecture, find a Café, and drink a glass of beer. Belgian college students love this kind of life.
Belgian craft beer workshop
In universities in Flanders, every university student who joins a society will receive a “drinking guide”. The guide explains the complicated drinking rules and various toast songs. The chairman of the club is usually the host of the wine table (Praeses). He holds a judge’s hammer and tells everyone which song to sing, how much wine to drink, when to go to the toilet, and to punish members who perform poorly; Sitting Schachten-meester, he is responsible for supervising whether the new people strictly abide by the wine table etiquette.
Listening to Belgians talking about their wine culture, I seem to have returned to the Xilin Gol Prairie. It is said that around 2015, a Mongolian band came to Belgium for a tour. Here, they drank bottle after bottle of Belgian beer Duvel like they were at home, and all of them, who boasted that they were not afraid of beer, were “killed”.
Different from domestic beers, Belgian beers usually have a high alcohol content. Duvel, which means “devil”, is a well-known high alcohol beer in Belgium. It’s no surprise that Mongolian bands were brought down by beer in Belgium.
Belgium’s beer culture has also brought many opportunities to foreign businessmen. In the Jinyuan supermarket in Brussels, you can see Tsingtao beer; in the Mix supermarket in Antwerp, there is Chernyevsky from Ukraine; in the Promo in Ghent, there is Jeskiy beer from Poland .
Belgium is the country of beer, but not every house has a bar next to it. Due to high labor costs, few Belgian supermarket chains are open 24 hours a day.
This provides opportunities for immigrants. In Belgium, there is a kind of store called Nacht Winkel (Night Supermarket), which is only open at night, the owner is usually an immigrant, and the main thing sold in the store is beer. Belgian law provides a good soil for the development of the beer industry. Many Eastern European countries prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages in supermarkets after 21 o’clock; the United States also has a strict alcohol ban; in Germany, only brewed with hops (hops) can be called beer in the market. In Belgium, none of these bans exist. Belgians are free to soar in the world of beer, both as brewers and drinkers.
Refreshing, refreshing, vigorous and stirring. The Belgians tell you, if you love it, study it.