January 3, 2016

2183 BELGIUM - Beer culture in Belgium (UNESCO ICH)

Brewing in Belgium dates back at least to the age of the first crusades in the 12th century. Making and appreciating beer is part of the living heritage of a range of communities throughout this country. It plays a role in daily life, as well as festive occasions. Under the Catholic church's permission, local French and Flemish abbeys brewed and distributed beer as a fund raising method. The relatively low-alcohol beer of that time was preferred as a sanitary option to available drinking water. In nowadays, the Belgians drink on average 84 litres of beer each year, which is not much, considering that Czechs, for example, drink about 150 litres.

So the Belgians aren't big beer drinkers, but instead they are large producers. At the end of 2011 there were around 1150 original Belgium beers (and a hundred labeled beers), brewed and launched by 146 breweries and 44 beer companies (here is the list).  Most beers are bought or served in bottles, and almost every style of beer has its own particular, uniquely shaped glass or other drinking-vessel. Using the correct glass is considered to improve its flavor.

Generally, Belgian beers are sold in brown- (or sometimes dark green-) tinted glass bottles (to avoid negative effects of light on the beverage) and sealed with a cork, a metal crown cap, or sometimes both. Some beers are bottle conditioned, meaning reseeded with yeast so that an additional fermentation may take place. In Belgian cafés, when someone orders a demi (English: half), he receives a 50 cl (half litre) glass (with beer from the tap, or from 2 bottles of 25 cl).

About the stamp, depicting a Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio Machaon), I wrote here.

Beer in Belgium - Wikipedia

Sender: Ana
Sent from Antwerp (Antwerp / Belgium), on 21.12.2015

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