I don’t usually write about websites – preferring to encourage people to get away from the screen and into the fresh air – but beertourism.com is so full of well-written, interesting material that I thought I would give it a plug here. And it’s not solely about beer. Belgian beer is a major focus, but there’s a lot on travel, food, nature, cities, recipes etc.
But let’s start with the beer. If you are a complete novice when it comes to Belgian beer, then here you can find detailed descriptions of 43 of the best Belgian beers available. Each has its own page containing comprehensive information about the beer’s history, serving temperature, the correct serving glass to use and culinary aspects. There are also general pages on the history of beer in Belgium, beer museums in Belgium (literally everywhere), a beer dictionary (so you know the difference between a lambic and a geueze), and even patron saints of beer (not surprisingly there are plenty, considering that monks are expert brewers). And there’s everything you need to know on the brewing process (ideal for school projects!), and individual pages on specific Belgian breweries, including visiting times and open days.
Of course, Belgium is more than beer: it’s chocolate and cheese – and beertourism.com devotes attention to both. The chocolate page is impressive, describing its origin and history, the Belgian connection, the chocolate-making process, and the different types of chocolate (ah, so that’s why white chocolate is white!). If your stomach’s not already grumbling and your mouth salivating, it will be by the time you’ve been through the Belgian cheese pages, thanks to mouth-watering pictures and clear descriptions of all sorts of goodies, from the delicious Achelse Blauw and Chimay Bleue to cheeses I’ve never heard of (Neteling, Le Petit Lathuy).
But there’s still more for you foodies! This website is your guide to contemporary day-to-day Belgian cuisine. So now you’ll be able to go into your local restaurant and confidently order Gentse waterzooi, stoemp or hutsepot and know exactly what you’ll be getting! Or do you prefer to cook Belgian dishes yourself? Then just scan through the recipes to find great ideas on how and what to cook using Belgian beer.
After all this eating you probably want to walk it off, and the website’s City Guides give you a lot of information on the usual cities (Gent, Antwerp, Leuven etc.) as well as smaller places well worth getting to know such as Bouillon, Tongeren, Kortrijk, Durbuy and Nieuwpoort. For each place you will find information on its history, where to go, where to stay, what to see and what to eat. Anything else? Oh yes, what (beer) to drink, of course!
There’s a ton of other stuff to read: beer shops, interesting cafés, beer picks, blog posts. All in all, it’s a great resource, and as I say, very well written and illustrated, and easy and clear to navigate. Cheers!