On March 31, 2005 Tom Peters graciously hosted a Belgian beer tasting for the Tom Peters guest lectures at Beer Appreciation Class Haverford Adult School Beer Appreciation class. He arrived with six Belgian beers, maps of Belgium with breweries identified, Duvel beer goblets and a supply of unique knowledge.
Tom needs no introduction to knowledgeable beer fans. He is a leader in the beer culture of the Greater Philadelphia region and a world-renown expert in Belgian brews. He manages Monk’s Café, named by Michael Jackson, (a.k.a. the Beer Hunter) as one of the three best beer bars in the United States. Tom also works with the Nodding Head Brewery and the recently established Grace’s Tavern. He was named a Knight of the Brewery Mashstaff of Belgium for his accomplishments promoting Belgian beer in the U.S.
Tom began the tasting with Monk’s Sour Ale, a Belgian sour beer he helped select for export to the U.S. when the highly regarded Rhodenbach became unavailable in the States. After regaling us with the history of lambic and sour beers, Tom served as a contrast the strong, golden Duvel ale. Did we know that when poured properly, the bottom of the robust and rocky head should exactly bisect the Duvel logo on the goblet glass? Or, that the glass was shaped to allow the lucky imbiber to sip the golden liquid right through the frothy Belgian lace? Well, we do now!
Interesting stories and beer history followed as we tasted Saison Dupont, a farmhouse ale brewed at the brasserie Dupont much like it has been for decades; Westmalle Triple, the original and archetypal Belgian Trappist Triple style ale; and the malty, potent Rochefort 10.
We cleared our palates with Italian bread, and then possibly fouled them with hunks of Chimay-washed Trappist cheese that beautifully complemented the Rochefort. Tom concluded with Lindeman’s Kriek Lambic, a sweet, fruity Belgian to which cherries are added during fermentation to balance the sourness of this spontaneously fermented ale.
It was a wonderful class, and I thank Tom for his generosity and uniquely insightful remarks about some of the world’s greatest beers. As he left, he said, “Next time we should focus on one just Belgian style and really do it completely.” Next time…? We hope so!