Belgium the Land of Beer

Belgian beer in Beijing

If Belgium is the land of beer, I have been surprised to find so many of them in Beijing.
So I started a Page of Belgian beer!
The page will be updated when appropriate and I will post more stories about Belgian beer.
See here part of a long introduction of Belgian beer culture, from LISTVERSE.COM.
As said in my page, opinions differ on how many beers and how many breweries we really have in Belgium. The following is one of the estimates.
Interesting however is the part on “World’s Largest Beer Menu: “The current holder of the Guinness World Record for most available beers on the menu is Delirium Cafe, located in Belgium’s capital city of Brussels. They have 3,162 beers available on their shelves.” I visited that Café and it is a great place indeed.

Two famous beer temples in Brussels

During my stay in Brussels in September 2017 I finally made a visit to two of the (many) famous beer temples in the center.

See here the pics of Delirium Café and A La Mort Subite.

Belgians are crazy about beer

Young Belgians are weaned on beer with soda, and old Belgians drink it with breakfast. Even the monks in Belgium make beer. The country has been in the brewing tradition since the 1100s—before it even was a country—and time has only served to open the doors for more and better ways to make the inebriating honey of the gods. We visited a few places in Belgium where beer is nigh religion and tasted for ourselves the holy fervor that has stood to make this country a bastion of alcoholic enlightenment. In the process, we’ve come to an inescapable conclusion: These guys are crazy about beer, and we love it.

Belgium has more individual styles of beer per capita than any other country in the world. With a population barely scraping past 11 million, they produced a whopping 1,132 distinct types of beer in 2011. Fast-forward to 2013 and that number is a mind-blowing 3,043 beers that were brewed among all 10 provinces of Belgium. The Flemish Brabant, a province in the north of Belgium, makes 457 beers on its own.

How it started

The region’s interest in beer began when the Catholic Church sanctioned the use of abbeys to brew and distribute beer to raise money for upkeep near the end of the 10th century. Over the years, the nuns in the abbeys began pioneering new ways to brew, strengthening the diversity that was available to the locals in brewing villages. At the turn of the 20th century, there were over 3,000 breweries in Belgium, but the two World Wars had a devastating effect on the Belgian economy that reached deep into the brewing industry. Now, there are only about 180 breweries in Belgium.

More details

See: “10 Ways Belgium Will Change The Way You Drink Beer” by Andrew Handley, October 27, 2014.

10 Ways Belgium Will Change The Way You Drink Beer

See the other sections for more:

  • Spontaneous Fermentation (Lambic)
  • Beer Cocktails
  • The Longest Bar In The World
  • The Bruges Beer Pipeline
  • The Farm Brewery
  • Trappist Beer
  • World’s Largest Beer Menu
  • Unholy Consumption
  • A Glass For Every Beer


Old China Hands lunch 7 December

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

Our Old China Hands lunch 7 December in Morel’s Restaurant failed to beat our previous record of May 2018, but it was again pretty full house: we were 37. Some no-shows, some simply forgot it…
As always a very lively lunch, the last one of 2018.

Our OCH members in the news!

This time of the year we saw several interviews, mostly related to the celebration of “40 years opening up” of China. See here a selection:

Terry Crossman


Emanuele Francia
Positive energy is driving prosperity in China – Opinion –


Bruce on CCTV
[News Live] Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Reform and Opening up Bruce Connolly: Observing China from the Window


Gilbert and Bruce in The Bookworm: “Expats witness China’s changes” (14 December 2018)
As China celebrates the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening-up, China Daily website invited over 30 foreigners to share their stories and insights in Beijing on Wednesday.

Our next lunch

Next one is Friday 4 January, the first one for 2019.

Old China Hands lunch 2 November

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

The Old China Hands lunch 2 November was this time on a “normal” day and saw a nice attendance of 32 OCH, this time finally some ladies!
It was also, if I may say, the “official” launch of my book as I had some copies, the first batch that arrived in Beijing. Well, all sold out but I will have more copies for the next lunch. Anyway one can buy the Kindle version here:

“LAUGH AND GET WISER! Jokes and witty wisdom for adults” is out! The Kindle version US$2.99:
The books are also available in The Bookworm.

Gilbert (again) in the news

I had a CRI interview in my home office on 5 November and the audio plus some pictures are online:
So, if you have nothing better to do you can listen to the interview…

Our next lunch

Next one is Friday 7 December, the last one for this year.
The following one in the new year will be on Friday 4 January.

Old China Hands lunch 5 October

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

The Old China Hands lunch 5 October was at the end of the “Golden Week” of National day but we still had a total of 21 attendees. Some new faces among the regulars! Sadly, no any lady! Guys, find some nice ladies to join!

Some of our members were again in the news: Bruce with his article in China Daily about Tianjin, and Mark Levine in China Daily about the Chinese Green Card.

Our next lunch

Next one is Friday 2 November! get ready!

Old China Hands lunch 7 September

Our monthly lunch at Morel’s Restaurant

For the Old China Hands lunch 7 September, all back to “normal”, as I could be there again and we had a nice crowd of 30.

As usual lively chat among our friends.

The OCH got prizes from China Daily!

First prize (5,000 yuan) goes to Bruce, much deserved!
“Thirty years’ watching the changing face of Beijing”
Second prize (3,000 yuan each) goes to … well Gilbert!
“Witnessing dramatic changes in Beijing over the past 38 years”

Our next lunch

Yes Friday 5 October will be at the end of the “Golden Week”, but we go ahead anyway and no excuses like you have to be in the office!