Belgian beer’s mysteries are unravelled by an Irish man

Breandán Kearney’s website holds a wealth of knowledge on the world’s best beer culture

Belgium probably has the greatest beer culture of all, with a history going back to the 12th century, and a range of original beer styles, often copied by others, including craft brewers in Ireland.

For several years now I have been a subscriber to belgiansmaak.com, a blog that promises to take the mystery out of Belgian beer. It does that and more. The articles are in-depth and well-written, as much about the personalities and history as the beer. There are also articles on Belgian food, people and culture. Recent favourites include articles on Flemish stew and a Belgian blue cheese.

Belgian Smaak is the work of an Irish man living in Belgium. “I didn’t come for the beer,” Breandán Kearney says. “I worked as a lawyer in Dublin and Belfast, but like many people in their 20s, I wanted to do some travelling and took and a year off. In Peru I went to a volunteering centre in Pisco, where I met my Belgian now-wife. After a few years in Dublin, I moved to Belgium without knowing anything about the beer.”

“It is much closer to a wine culture here. They drink it differently. It can be guys after work, or a formal dinner. The alcohol is higher; it’s like going for a glass of wine, with everyone drinking a different beer.

“Belgian Smaak started as a personal blog. I used it as a way to learn about and understand beer. My interest grew, I studied, did the courses and the exams. It spiralled as I became more interested in writing and publishing. ”

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