Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).
It has been fun these past few weeks going over some of the basic styles and examples of those styles. I feel like it’s time to start exploring other parts of the world and maybe get a bit more specific when it comes to styles, beers, history, etc. The next few weeks of this column are going to be dedicated to exploring Belgian beers. There are many misconceptions and assumptions made by those unfamiliar with the beers of Belgium, and while I certainly won’t be able to clear ever one of them up I hope to at least clear a path for you to find an interest in what is historically the most interesting of the ‘big’ beer-producing nations.
Now don’t get me wrong: I swear by my belief that the United States has the most interesting and dramatically varied beer producing culture in the world. That said, it seems that most beer geeks I’ve met and known over the years (myself certainly included) have followed a path from intense hoppy American Pale Ales and IPAs to Belgian beers. It’s not an easy transition for everyone; it took me years to wrap my head and palate around the flavor profiles and archetypes traditional in Belgian beers that are truly foreign to us here in the States. I’ve said it many times to many people over the years: while traditional beers from the U.S., U.K., Germany and the like are different, they’re relatable under the umbrella of what we know here as “Ales” and “Lagers.” Belgium is akin to a completely different planet. On Planet Belgium we consider different styles to be their own countries, so rich and varied are their traditions.
Because of the very different and sometimes downright strange flavor profiles in Belgian beer, it’s easy for someone new to it to be put-off for a lack of preparedness. We’ll get into the details later on, but for now here are of basic rules to help you start your journey:
Free your mind and your palate will follow: If all you know of Belgian beer is Stella Artois and you’re looking to expand your knowledge, make this your mantra. Repeat it to yourself often. Never forget it. You will have to adjust to new ideas and accept a whole new paradigm of what beer is and what flavors make sense. The use of spices, sugars, fruit, and wild yeasts are par for the course depending on which beer is in your glass at any given time, creating brews that are unlike anything you’ve ever had. Keep a clear head about yourself and judge each beverage on its own merits, not by how “weird” it might be compared to what you may be used to. I cannot stress this enough.
Look before you leap: Never pass up advice or recommendations from people who know, and are able to relate to your experience. This is the one time I might advise not just picking something off a menu “just because” or grabbing a bottle off the shelf because it looks interesting. It is simply far too easy to stumble into something that you may not be “ready” for yet. I know how that sounds but hear me out: that 11.2% ABV bottle of Quadruple may be your favorite beer ever someday — but if you have it tonight it may be so drastically divergent from anything you’ve had before that it may sour you to strong Belgian beers in general. An extra few minutes to question a bartender, server, or beer guy can help open a whole new world to you.
Next week, we’ll start picking apart the major Belgian styles and recommending specific beers to try. Until then, happy drinking.
Nick Anderson keeps a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspx.
Few APS Students to Remain Remote — “The number of Arlington Public Schools students using the ‘virtual-learning’ option for the coming school year will be down more than 90 percent…
Today’s Listing of the Day is a 4 BD/4.5 BA home with a wraparound deck and one car garage.
Update at 5:20 p.m. — Dominion is currently reporting 775 customers without power in Arlington, mostly in the Boulevard Manor, Arlington Forest, Douglas Park and Ashton Heights neighborhoods. It appears…
The ¡Viva Cultura! Festival is back for a second year this Saturday, August 13 celebrating Latino culture.
Do you struggle with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, trauma or anger? Are
you ready to make a change?
Lauren K. Nickum, LCSW, CSAC from Peaceful Mind Solutions is now taking new
clients for psychotherapy. Lauren has over 10 years of experience treating
mental health disorders and general life stress in adults and adolescents. For
more information visit
Signature Theatre just released single tickets for all 33rd season productions, which highlights the organization’s long-time relationship with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim. Beginning with the musical adaptation of The Color Purple and irreverent No Place to Go, the season continues with three Sondheim musicals, the DC premieres of Off-Broadway hit Which Way to the Stage and Pulitzer Prize finalist Selling Kabul, the Tony Award®-winning rock musical Passing Strange, and return of Signature’s cabaret series honoring legendary artists.
“Last November, the world lost an icon. The death of Stephen Sondheim was a blow to everyone in the theater community. Signature Theatre would not be the same without Sondheim — he IS Signature’s ‘signature.’ This season, we are honoring the legend with productions of Into the Woods, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd dedicated to his memory. These shows represent the diversity and range of Sondheim,” said Signature’s Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner about the new season.
Are you ready to buy your first home, but concerned about saving for a down payment? Grab a drink and join us for 45 minutes to learn more about how you can buy your first house with 3%, 5%, or