The Dubbel (also double) is a Belgian Trappist beer naming convention. The origin of the dubbel was a beer brewed in the Trappist Abbey of Westmalle in 1856. The abbey had, since 10 December 1836, brewed a witbier that was quite sweet and light in alcohol for consumption by the paters. The new beer, however, was a strong version of a brown beer. In 1926, the formulation was changed and it became even stronger. The first written record of its sale by the abbey was on 1 June 1861. Following World War Two, abbey beers became popular in Belgium and the name “dubbel” was used by several breweries for commercial purposes.

Westmalle Dubbel was imitated by other breweries, Trappist and secular, Belgian and worldwide, leading to the emergence of a style. Dubbels are now understood to be a fairly strong (6%-8% ABV) brown ale, with understated bitterness, fairly heavy body, and a pronounced fruitiness and cereal character.

Chimay Red/Premiere, Koningshoeven/La Trappe Dubbel and Achel 8 Bruin are examples from Trappist breweries. Affligem and Grimbergen are

Grimbergen Dubbel

Grimbergen Dubbel (Photo credit: Bernt Rostad)

abbey breweries that produce dubbels. Ommegang and New Belgium’s Abbey Ale are examples from the USA.

Jever

Jever (Photo credit: freethehops)

Jever is a German beer brand, named after the town of Jever where it is brewed. It has been brewed by the “Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever” (the Jever Frisian Brewery) since 1848.

When the “Friesische Brauhaus zu Jever” was founded by Diedrich König in 1848, it was only one of several breweries in the region. König, however, was convinced from the beginning that his beer was something special. After his death in 1867, his son sold the brewery. Theodor Fetköter took over the brewery. He began by developing the small family business into a large brewery operation, started to advertise and developed special bottles. In 1848, he played an important part in installing the first water supply system in Jever.

The First World War was a difficult time for the brewery. Theodor Fetköter’s son, who had taken over the business, was killed at the front. The brewery was sold once again, in 1922, to the Bavaria – St. Pauli Brewery brewery, based in Hamburg. Today the Bavaria – St. Pauli Brewery is owned by the Danish Carlsberg Group. By then, beer from Jever had become known outside the region where it was produced. Since 1934, it has been sold under the name “Jever Pilsener”.

After World War II, the brewery once again found itself experiencing difficult times. Due to a fuel shortage, beer could only be sold from the brewery gates directly to customers. It was also necessary to scour the region’s farms for malt.

After the post-war period, the situation in Jever improved once again. The top-selling beer was “Jever Export”, which was brewed until 1990. During the 1960s, Pilsener beer became more and more popular and sales figures for Jever Pilsener increased. During this period the brewery was expanded.

Since 1994, the brewery has belonged to the Dortmunder Brau & Brunnen Group, which itself has been part of the Oetker Group since the beginning of 2005.

Westvleteren 8

Westvleteren 8 (Photo credit: Bernt Rostad)

The Westvleteren Brewery (Brouwerij Westvleteren) is a Belgian brewery founded in 1838 inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in the Belgian municipality of Vleteren, not far from the hops-producing town of Poperinge and the medieval city of Ypres. The brewery and its beers are usually referred to as Westvleteren. The brewery’s three beers have acquired an international reputation for taste and quality, as well as the limited availability of the beers which are not brewed to normal commercial demands.

Trappist monks from the Catsberg monastery, located in France, founded the St Sixtus monastery in 1831. In 1838, the brewing at Westvleteren commenced. In 1850, some of the monks founded the Notre-Dame de Scourmont monastery, which also brews a Trappist beer. During World Wars I and II, the Westvleteren brewery continued to operate, albeit at a lower capacity. The brewery was the only Trappist one to retain the copper vessels throughout the wars—the other breweries had the copper salvaged by the Germans for their war efforts. In WWI this was primarily due to the abbey not being occupied by the Germans, but instead was caring for wounded allied troops. In 1931, the abbey began selling beer to the general public, having only served beer to guests and visitors up until that time.In 1946, the St. Bernardus brewery in nearby Watou was granted a licence to brew beer under the St Sixtus name. This agreement ended in 1992; St. Bernardus still brews beers of similar styles, but under their own name. That same year, the abbey opened its new brewery to replace the older equipment.

The brewery currently employs three secular workers for various manual labour tasks, however the primary brewing is done by the monks only. It is the only Trappist brewery where the monks still do all of the brewing. Of the 26 Cistercians who reside at the abbey, five monks run the brewery, with an additional five who assist during bottling.

As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is only sold in order to financially support the monastery and other philanthropic causes. Whilst the brewery is a business by definition (its purpose is to make money), it does not exist for pure profit motives, and they do no advertising except for a small sign outside the abbey which indicates the daily availability of each beer. The monks have repeatedly stated that they only brew enough beer to run the monastery, and will make no more than they need to sell, regardless of demand. During World War II, the brewery stopped supplying wholesalers and since then they only sell to individual buyers in person at the brewery or the visitor’s centre opposite. These methods all go against modern business methods, however as stated by the Father Abbott on the opening of the new brewery, “We are not brewers. We are monks. We brew beer to be able to afford being monks.”.
Beers

The brewery currently brews three beers:

Westvleteren Blonde (green cap), 5.8% ABV, introduced on 10 June 1999.
Westvleteren 8 (blue cap) (formerly Extra), 8% ABV.
Westvleteren 12 (yellow cap) (formerly Abt), a 10.2% ABV, introduced in 1940.

Until 1999, the brewery also produced a 6.2% ABV dark beer and a lighter 4° which served as the monks’ table beer, but these were replaced by the Blonde. The 8 and 12 are bottle conditioned and are considered to have a long shelf life, with some drinkers preferring the taste when the beers have been stored for several years. The ingredients are yeast, hops, malt, sugar, caramel and water.

The bottles have been sold without labels since 1945. All of the legally required information is printed on the crown tops. Because of this lack of space, Westvleteren beers are the only Trappist beers that do not have the official Trappist logo displayed on the bottle. The logo is only printed on the distinctive wooden crates. Any bottles that are labelled have had them added unofficially by others. For example, some importers into the United States label the bottles in order to comply with local regulations.

Currently, the beer is priced at €30.00 (Blonde), €34.00 (8°) and €39.00 (12°) per 24-bottle crate (excluding bottle/crate deposit). Deposit for empty bottles and crate: 12 EUR (9.60 EUR for the crate plus 0.10 EUR per bottle). Glasses specifically designed to drink the beer can be purchased at the abbey in packs of 6 for 17 euro.

Buyers were originally limited to ten 24-bottle crates of the beer per car, but as the beer increased in popularity, this was first reduced to five, then to three and now to two or one crates. For the Westvleteren 12 in 2009, it was limited to one case. When making an order now, the type and quantity of beer available for sale are revealed. Sales are limited to one order every 60 days per person per license plate and phone number. Also, the beer must be reserved on their “beerphone” beforehand. The monks do not sell beer to individuals who drive up to the abbey hoping to purchase beer. The reason for this is to eliminate commercial reselling, and hence give all visitors a chance to purchase the product.

The current production is 4750 hl (60,000 cases) per year, and has remained the same since 1946.

Aside from the brewery itself, the only other official sale point for the beer is the abbey-owned In de Vrede, a cafe and visitor’s centre opposite the abbey. All beers can be bought there for immediate consumption or take-away, depending on availability (however, prices are higher than at the abbey). Often there is no beer available at the shop. The shop also sells cheeses made at the abbey, yeast tabs (not yeast to make beer but dead yeast for health) and other Trappist products.

Buyers of the beer receive a receipt with Niet verder verkopen (“Do not resell”) printed on it. The abbey is very much against resale of their beer, and it is their wish that the beer is only commercially available at the two official sale points. To this end, any Westvleteren beer which is sold anywhere else in the world is grey market beer, as no wholesalers or pubs are supplied with the beer. The abbey is actively working to eliminate the illicit sales, and generally only agrees to media interviews to spread their message against drinking illicitly sold Westvleteren beer.

In October, 2010 there were speculations that the beer would be sold in supermarkets, which have not yet come to pass.

The brewery and the Belgian retailer Colruyt are bringing a gift pack (6 bottles Westvleteren 12, 2 glasses) for sale, only against exchange of promotional coupons printed in selected media. Goal of the sales is to increase income to provide funds for urgent and immediate renovations at the monastery. Available from November 2, 2011, sales will be limited to 93.000 packs. One pack per coupon at 25,00 Euro/pack. All earnings of the sale will go to the renovation project. This is a first in the history of the brewery. (source: Het Nieuwsblad, October 14, 2011)

On November 4, 2011, it was announced that US importer Shelton Brothers would be importing 7760 gift packs consisting of 6 bottles Westvleteren 12 and 2 glasses starting in April 2012. Also mentioned was that Manneken-Brusel Imports out of Austin, TX would also be importing an undisclosed amount of the beer into the U.S market. Pricing is to be determined.
International reputation

Many beer drinkers rank Westvleteren 12 among their favourite beers. The 8 and the Blonde also rank highly on beer-rating websites.

In June 2005, when Westvleteren 12 was again highlighted as “Best Beer in the World”, news organizations followed this up and articles appeared in the international press, highlighting the beer ranking and the unusual business policies.

Following these events, interest in Westvleteren’s output increased and stories appeared of the abbey’s stock being low, forcing the monks to reduce the amount of beer sold to each customer. In an interview, monk Mark Bode explained that the abbey had no intention of increasing its production, despite demand: “We make the beer to live but we do not live for beer.”

Despite the popularity, the monks of St Sixtus have continued to decline almost all interview and visit requests, and have not enjoyed all of the attention they have received. Non-monastic visitors to the abbey are usually turned away, instead being directed to the visitor’s centre opposite where there is information about the abbey and brewery. They have stated their desire to only produce as much beer as needed to finance the community.

A microbrewery is a brewery which produces a limited amount of beer.

In the UK, the term has become synonymous with small scale breweries operating under the UK Progressive Beer Duty threshold of 5,000 hls. The most common product is cask conditioned bitter. Breweries are often described by their production capacity or brew length, mostly ranging from 2 to 20 bbls (a brewer’s barrel or bbl is 36 imperial gallons (43 US gal; 164 L)).

In the US, the American Brewers Association provides the definition for a “craft brewery” as “small, independent and traditional”, and gives a production size of less than 6,000,000 US beer barrels (700,000,000 L) a year (a barrel is 31 US gallons (26 imp gal; 117 L)). A craft brewery can not be more than 24% owned by another alcoholic beverage company that is not itself a craft brewery. The ABA further groups craft breweries as microbrewery: annual production less than 15,000 US beer barrels (1,800,000 L); A “brewpub” brews and sells beer on the premises. A brewpub may also be known as a microbrewery if production has a significant distribution beyond the premises – the American Brewers Association use a fixed 75% of production to determine if a company is a microbrewery.; regional craft brewery: at least 50% of its volume is all malt beers. A regional brewery has annual production between 15,000 US beer barrels (1,800,000 L) and 2,000,000 US beer barrels (230,000,000 L) per year. In order to be classified as a “regional craft brewery” by the brewers association, a brewery must possess “either an all-malt flagship or [have] at least 50% of its volume in either all-malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.” Of the 1,759 breweries in America, only 43 are not defined as craft brewers, and 100 not defined as either a micro or brewpub.

Tawandang Microbrewery

Tawandang Microbrewery (Photo credit: chooyutshing)

Oranjeboom (Dutch pronunciation: [oˈrɑɲəˌboːm]) is a Dutch lager brand owned by United Dutch Breweries BV. The main beer produced under the brand name is Oranjeboom Premium Pilsner – a 5% ABV lager. There is also an Extra Strong 8.5% ABV version, a Super Strong 12.0% ABV version as well as lower strength and alcohol free versions and a bokbeer sold under the brand name.

The name Oranjeboom literally translates as “Orange Tree” in English and symbolises the Dutch Royal Family tree.

The brand was originally brewed at the Oranjeboom Brewery in Rotterdam (founded 1671), but that closed in 1990 and production shifted to the Breda brewery. In 1995, the Breda brewery was sold to Interbrew. In 2004, it was closed by InBev, Interbrew’s successor. Production was moved to the Dommelsch brewery where production techniques shifted and new ingredients were used.

Oranjeboom

Oranjeboom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lager is brewed in Faversham, UK under license by Shepherd Neame at a strength of 4.1%.

Oranjeboom pilsener brewed in Germany is labeled for US sales and exported to the US.

A high percentage Oranjeboom has been imported to the UK, in 50cl cans at 8.5% ABV

In New Zealand, Oranjeboom has been brewed under license by Lion Nathan since 2005.

Beer in Mexico has a long history. While Mesoamerican cultures knew of fermented alcoholic beverages, including a corn beer, long before the Spanish conquest, European style beer brewed with barley was introduced with the Spanish soon after Hernán Cortés’ arrival. Production of this beer here was limited during the colonial period due to the lack of materials and severe restrictions and taxes placed on the product by Spanish authorities. After the Mexican War of Independence, these restrictions disappeared, and the industry was permitted to develop. However, the arrival of German immigrants and the short-lived empire of Austrian Maximilian I in the 19th century provided the impetus for the opening of many breweries in various parts of the country. By 1918, there were 36 brewing companies, but over the 20th century, the industry consolidated until today, only two corporations, Grupo Modelo and FEMSA control 90% of the Mexican beer market. This industry is one of the most prevalent in the country, with over 63% of the population buying one brand or another. Beer is also a major export for the country, with most going to the United States, but is available in over 150 countries in the world.

In Mexico, most beer is produced by two large conglomerates, Cervecería Modelo/Grupo Modelo and Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma/FEMSA. Cervecería Modelo was founded in 1925 in Mexico City, with its first two brands, Modelo and Corona, exporting eight million bottles a year to various countries. First exports to the United States were realized as early as 1933. The first of the company’s many acquisitions was the Cervecería Toluca y México, absorbing its Victoria and Pilsener brands in 1935. Modelo continued buying smaller local breweries in various parts of the country, absorbing most of the brands produced and making many of them available nationwide. Starting in the 1980s, the enterprise began new businesses, such as INAMEX, which produces malt which lead to the name change to Grupo Modelo. During the same period, the company began exports of Corona beer to the United States, becoming the second most imbibed imported beer there by 1986. Exports to other countries followed, and Corona became the number one premium imported beer in the United States in 1997. Half of Grupo Modelo’s stock is owned by Anheuser Busch.

The beer-brewing division of FEMSA was created when this entity bought Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma, which itself was created when Cervecería Cuauhtémoc bought Cevecería Moctezuma. Cervecería Cuauhtémoc was founded in 1890 by Issac Garza, José Muguerza, Joseph M. Schnaider and Francisco Sada, selling their first beer, Carta Blanca. Cervecería Cuauhtémoc grew in size in Monterrey, and like Cervecería Modelo, went national as it began to buy smaller breweries in other parts of the country, absorbing many of the local brands and making them available nationally. The biggest acquisition was that of Cervecería Moctezuma in Orizaba in the 1980s. Cervecería Moctezuma started out as the Cervecería Guillermo Hasse y Compañia in 1893, and eventually changed its name to Cervecería Moctezuma. It was a major producer of beer since the early 20th century, and was one of the largest brewing companies in the world with the merger of the two, but the new company controls over twelve brand names. FEMSA bought the combined breweries to add to its other businesses, such as bottling and packaging enterprises.

FEMSA’s brands today include Tecate, Sol, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, Superior, Indio, Bohemia and Noche Buena. Grupo Modelo’s brands include Corona, Corona Light, Negra Modelo, Modelo Especial Victoria, Estrella, Léon and Montejo and Pacifico. Most of these beers are lagers brewed in large industrial plants, and made with minimal malt. Except for some dark beers, such as Dos Equis Ambar, León Negra, Negra Modelo and Noche Buena, which are Vienna-style beers, almost all beer produced in Mexico is pilsner. Beers with top fermentation had been produced in Mexico. The Cervecería Toluca was founded in 1865 by a Swiss especially to produce this type of beer, but the introduction of Bohemian style beers through the giant brewery Cuauhtémoc would define Mexican beer as pilsner.

One of the best known and most popular beers in the United States is Corona, which is the flagship beer of Grupo Modelo. Corona is the best-selling beer produced by Mexico, and the best selling nondomestic beer in both the U.S. and U.K. It is one of the five most-consumed beers in the world, available in more than 150 countries. It is a lager, and was created in 1925 to celebrate Cervecería Modelo’s tenth anniversary. Corona is light straw in color and has a very mild flavor, with little hop bitterness and 4.6% alcohol by volume. It is produced by eight facilities with a total of 4.6 billion liters per year capacity. Corona beer is available in a variety of bottled presentations, ranging from the 250-ml ampolleta (labeled Coronita and just referred as the cuartito (little quarter)) up to the 940-ml Corona Familiar (known as the caguama (sea turtle) or ballena (whale)). Unlike most beers, Corona is bottled in a clear bottle, increasing the opportunity for spoilage from sunlight, which can affect the hop oils in the beer. A draught version also exists, as does canned Corona in some markets.

The oldest and most traditional pilsner in Mexico is

If you have nice legs, why do you do this to them?

If you have nice legs, why do you do this to them? (Photo credit: Malingering)

, which has a significant hops flavor and is quite dense given its clarity. Bohemia has reached the respected distinction of being like one of the finest beers of the world. The name comes from the Bohemia region in the Czech Republic that is known for beer. It is one of the longest aged products from Cervecería Cuauhtémoc, and is the only one to use Lepa Styrian hops. There is a dark version of this brand, which is a Vienna-style beer. In 2009, the company introduced a wheat version of this beer called Bohemia Weizen made with wheat, Mount Hood hops, coriander and orange peel. It is the first wheat beer to be produced by a major beer company in Mexico.

Dos Equis was first brewed in Mexico by the German brewer Wilhelm Hasse in 1897. The original name of the beer was “Siglo XX” (20th Century) with the double X standing for the number 20, and it commemorated the arrival of that century. The original version is the Dos Equis Ambar, a Vienna-style dark beer. This was Cervecería Moctezuma’s best selling beer in the 1940s and 1950s. Demand for the beer has resurged, especially in the United States, where it is now the best-selling imported dark beer. The clear version of this brand is a lager derived from the Ambar.

Sol was introduced in the 1890s as El Sol. The name came from a ray of sunshine that fell on a pot while preparing the mash. After being off the market for many years, this brand was reintroduced in 1993, and is now exported to countries in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. It is a very light-colored beer with little hops flavor, and considered to be a beer for the young people and the working class. Sol is known for its sexy advertising. Sol comes in a number of varieties. Sol 2 is a stronger flavored beer, Sol limón and sal have lime and salt flavors already added, and there is a Sol Cero, a nonalcoholic beer in regular and lime and salt versions.

Tecate was originally brewed by Cervecería Tecate, and named after the city of Tecate, Baja California. The local brewery was bought by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma in 1955. It was the first beer to be canned in Mexico, with Tecate Light launched in Mexico in 1992. Tecate is one of the best-known brands in Mexico due to its patronage of sports teams and sporting events.

Noche Buena (literally Good Night, referring to Christmas Eve as the good night) is generally only available around Christmas. Many people wait for this beer’s availability each year between the months of October and December. Noche Buena is a strong-flavored, dark beer named after the poinsettia plant or noche buena in Spanish, which decorates the beer’s bottles and cartons.

Carta Blanca was Cervecería Cuauhtémoc’s first premium beer, first marketed in 1890, and is technically a pilsner. The name means “white card” in Spanish, which at the time was given to people as a sign of respect. Carta Blanca was successful when it debuted at Chicago’s Columbian Expo of 1893. Since then, the beer has won a number of other awards.

Negra Modelo is one of Cervecería Modelo’s original beers, and was first sold as a draft in 1926. While it has been classed as a Vienna-style beer, the company’s website now classifies it as a Munich dunkel (dark).

Pacífico, a Mexican pilsner beer originally brewed in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, is named after the Pacific Ocean. The picture on the bottle is the Deer Islands off the coast of Mazatlán surrounded by a lifesaver. Pacífico is Modelo’s best-selling beer in northwest Mexico, and it is exported to the southwest U.S. A light version of this beer was launched in 2008.

Estrella (Star) was originally brewed by Cervecería Estrella of Guadalajara at the end of the 19th century. This brewery was bought by Grupo Modelo in 1954. The beer is still brewed only in Guadalajara and is a regional brand, mostly sold in Jalisco state and other areas in western Mexico.

Indio was originally named Cuauhtémoc by Cervecería Cuauhtémoc. However, consumers soon began to refer to it as “Indian” for the image of an Indian on what was originally a clay bottle, now glass. The beer still has an image of Cuauhtémoc on the label.

Modelo Especial is Grupo Modelo’s second brand after Corona, and was first brewed in 1925. It is a pilsner-style beer that is available in both bottle and cans since 1966. It is second in popularity in Mexico and the company’s third best seller in the U.S. A light version, called Modelo Light, has been available since 1994.

Superior, made by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, was, as the name suggests, originally brewed to be a premium beer. Recently, interest in this beer has reappeared, and it received a gold medal at the Monde Selection in Brussels, Belgium. The design of the label has not changed in the fifty years this brand has been available.

Victoria was first brewed by Cervecería Toluca y México starting in 1865, but Modelo acquired the brand when they bought this company in 1935. It is sold in bottles, both the standard 325 ml and the large 950ml. The beer is a Vienna-style, but is an amber color and lighter than the other Vienna beers brewed in Mexico.

León and Montejo brands were originally brewed in Mérida, Yucatán by the Cervecería Yucateca, which was bought by Modelo in 1979. León is a Munich-style dark beer, which was initially brewed at the beginning of the 20th century in the southeast of the country. Montejo was first introduced in 1960 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Yucateca brewery. This brewery was bought by Grupo Modelo in 1979, and the packaging was changed to the current one in 1999. Post by Roald Smeets.

Amstel Brewery (Amstelbrouwerij, Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɑmstəlbrʌwəˌrɛi̯]) is a Dutch brewery founded in 1870 on the Mauritskade in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It was taken over by Heineken International in 1968, and the brewing plant closed down in 1982, with production moving to the main Heineken plant at Zoeterwoude.

The brewery was founded on June 11, 1870 in Amsterdam and named after the Amstel River, the waters of which also served for refrigeration. By 1872, Amstel was annually producing 10,000 hectoliters. For the purpose of storing the beer, winter ice from canals was kept in special double-walled cellars. Originally, the beer was mostly drunk in Amsterdam. From 1883, it was also exported to Great Britain and Indonesia.

The Beiersche Bierbrouwerij de Amstel (Amstel Bavarian beer brewery) was created in 1892 as a joint stock company. In 1915 the production of Amstel had increased twenty-fold and in 1926, Amstel consisted of a third of the Dutch beer exports. In 1941, Amstel, together with Heineken, bought up the Amsterdam brewery Van Vollenhovens bierbrouwerij, which was closed in 1961.

In 1954, Amstel built a brewery in Suriname. A few years later, Amstel was the first Dutch brewery to export beer in cans. At this time, the total exports of Amstel beer amounted to 101,000 hectoliters. In 1958 a subsidiary of Amstel produced its first beer in Jordan. In 1960, the third subsidiary of Amstel was opened – the Antillean brewery on Curaçao. 1963 saw the opening of two new breweries, one in Puerto Rico and one in Greece.

Amstel was bought out by Heineken International in 1968. In 1972 the Amstel Brewery in Amsterdam was closed and production was relocated to the main Heineken plant in Zoeterwoude. The building on the Mauritskade was torn down. Only the former administration building was kept and has meanwhile become part of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Amstel Brewery

Amstel Brewery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heineken offers several beers under the Amstel brand. Amstel Lager uses predominantly light pilsner malt, although some dark malt is also used. It is sold in 75 countries. Amstel Light is a 3.5% abv pale lager. Amstel 1870 is a slightly dark 5% abv lager. In France a beer called Amstel Free, with minimal alcohol content – about one per cent ABV, is produced. A non-alcoholic version can also be purchased in The Netherlands.

Post by Roald Smeets