Belgian Beer in Beijing is updated

Updated list and pics

My Page of Belgian Beer in Beijing is updated, more pics and the list now counts 220 different beer bottles.

Morel’s Restaurant and Café

We can say that Morel’s is our “stamcafé” in Beijing. Besides having great food it is also the place for friends to meet, chat and drink.
“Stamcafé” can be translated as “favorite bar or pub / habitual hound” and “Stammtisch” in German.
Elke Vlaming zou verplicht een stamcafé moeten hebben”: “Each Flemish person should forcibly have a stamcafé”

An interesting article about our beer culture: “5 September 2018 – Beer-mad Belgium moves to save historic drinking dens” – China Daily.
“Belgians are famous for taking their beer seriously, but authorities are now moving to preserve some of the historic cafes where drinkers have been quaffing since the early 20th century.
In the heart of the village of Alsemberg, in the Dutch-speaking Flemish Brabant region, south of Brussels, the PastaCafe is one of those that has best kept its 1920s and 1930s decor.”

With my friend Renaat Morel we have been trying out Orval, Gouden Carolus and Westvleteren. And many more.

Promoting Belgian beers

Our embassy is a key promotor

Promoting Belgian beers in Beijing happens in many ways but the Belgian embassy has been on the forefront many times.
Delegates from the embassy often officially join commercial promotion events, see earlier post.
Biggest fun for me are the official events at the embassy in Beijing where several distributors join as sponsors and promoters.

Some recent events were National Day on 21 July 2023 and King’s Day on 17 November 2023.
I always find some beers I have never seen and are not yet in my list.

Other promotions

Heaven Supermarket often runs videos promoting Hoegaarden on its outdoor video screen.

Georgia Feast, a well-known and great restaurant, recently had a promotion of Grimbergen.
Sometimes a new venue organizes a Belgian Beer Launch, such as Mystic Alley.
I also collected beer glasses (Corsendonk and KVB) as well special promotion items from Hoegaarden.

Top beer exporters

Dutch ahead in Europe

In 2021, the top Beer exporters were Mexico ($5.49B), Netherlands ($2.11B), Belgium ($1.98B), Germany ($1.38B), and United Kingdom ($513M).
According to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the Netherlands is still Europe’s biggest exporter of beer, and globally is second only to Mexico.
In 2020, Dutch breweries exported more than two billion euros worth of (non-alcoholic) beer. According to CBS, Heineken is, unsurprisingly, the largest exporter.

In Europe, Belgium comes in a close second; while the Netherlands has been the largest European exporter since 2000, Belgium is quickly closing the gap between the two countries. The Dutch neighbor exported 1,8 billion euros worth of (non-alcoholic) beer last year, climbing ahead of Germany and France who occupy third and fourth place respectively.

Top beer exporters, other source

Below are the countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of beer during 2020.

  •     Mexico: US$4.3 billion (28.4% of total beer exports)
  •     Netherlands: $2.1 billion (14.1%)
  •     Belgium: $2 billion (13.3%)
  •     Germany: $1.3 billion (8.4%)
  •     United States: $645.6 million (4.3%)
  •     United Kingdom: $525.5 million (3.5%)
  •     France: $386.4 million (2.6%)
  •     Czech Republic: $297 million (2%)

Source: Beer exports by Country

Belgian beer for everyone

Abbey beers, Trappists, doubles, triples, brown, blonde, or white Belgian beers are known worldwide for their variety. We estimate there are around 3000 different beers in our country spread out over more than 200 breweries. With so much variety, there’s bound to be a type of beer for everyone, whether you like sour, bitter, or sweet. If a traditional blonde “pilsner” doesn’t do it for you, check out which unique beers Belgium makes, maybe there will be one for you!

International Beer Day – 4 August 2023

Or Journée Internationale de la bière – Internationale dag van het bier.
Belgian beer is an excellent cultural export for Belgium and plays an essential role in our economy. Every year, Belgium exports over 6 billion pints! What’s more, our country brews at least 1,500 different beers in over 400 breweries. Internationally, we’re best known for the excellent flavor of our beer. In short, we can be proud of our Belgian beer!Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Belgium


Belgian beers in Beijing

More discoveries

My list of Belgian beers in Beijing that I bought and tasted is growing.
See here some of the new ones in the list:

This now the latest list: Beer bottles.pdf
See also: Belgian beer

Bob’s Wine shop

The small shop on Xindong lu has several Belgian beers. In summer it’s nice to sit outside.

There I did make some new discoveries.

Other interesting locations to find Belgian beers

Actually you can find Belgian beers in many bars and restaurants.
Here some.

I found the Bloembier in a Japanese restaurant on Xindong lu, very near the Greek Freak that also has a few different Belgian beers.
Then we have the famous “Heaven Supermarket”: a vast underground beer, disco and music hall under Shimao Gongsan (corner Gongti bei lu and Xindong lu). There are vast fridges where you find an enormous variety of beers and alcohol. Self-service, pay at the checkout and take to a table. Life bands and disco in separate sections.

Comparing Sint-Bernardus and Westvleteren

I had received several Westvleteren bottles from a Belgian diplomat leaving, the ones without a sticker.
A few days later we did a tasting in Morel’s Restaurant to compare it with a St. Bernardus Abt 12, that we feel is the closest in taste.

Later on I bought online in Beijing the 3 different Westvleteren beers for a bit less than 50 euro.
Westvleteren and Sint-Bernardus are said to be the same but there are some differences. The water used is different and that has an influence. For Westvleteren the monks use a Westmalle yeast while for Sint-Bernardus they use the old Westvleteren yeast. This according to this source.
Other articles such as this one still tell another brewing story:

Belgian National Day in Beijing

Yes on 21 July

For many years Belgian National Day in Beijing was shifted to 15 November, King’s Day because of the summer holidays. A lunch reception was rather for the diplomats, we attended the evening reception along with some 120 Belgians and friends. The weather was threatening the fun, the embassy put a big tent on the patio, good idea as it rained the whole day till late afternoon. It was all in the residence, next to the new embassy that is nearing completion.

It was also the farewell of Ambassador Dr. Jan Hoogmartens and other staff of the embassy. We will all miss them, they were our support during the depressing COVID years.
The new ambassador is said to arrive in Beijing very soon.

Good food, beer and more

We were treated with great Belgian goodies, Belgian fries, Brussels waffles, delicious buffet by Morel’s Restaurant and lots of Belgian beers.
The mystery machine in pic 07 is an authentic Brussels waffle machine.
The ambassador opened the Methuselah Chimay bottle, yes 6 liters! I gave it a try (of course). Happy to discover two new beers for my collection, see pic 13.

Learn more about Belgium

Check this interesting article: “30 things I’ve learned about Belgium in 30 years.
The Brussels Times 1 June 2023