German beer makers like rules. They like them so much that in 1516, the state of Bavaria imposed Reinheitsgebot, the beer-purity law that prohibited using anything but water, barley and hops in brewing the national beverage. Belgians, on the other hand, "are a lot less about following the rules," Hutchinson, head brewer for the Vine Street Pub, "which makes them more like the Americans and not a lot like the Germans."
And that's the inspiration for Vine Street's first-ever Belgian Beer Month, thirty days of special tappings, classes and events dedicated to such Belgian-style beers as saisons, farmhouse ales, dubbels, tripels, quads, krieks and sours. Vine Street plans to roll out twenty of its own beers, along with dozens of beers from Belgian breweries and American craft-beer makers who brew their own versions of Belgian-style beers.
Two of the biggest events will take place midway through the month. The first is Belgian Beer 101 on Thursday, September 15, when Hutchinson will school attendees on the ins and outs of Belgian brews and offer tastings and appetizers. The second is a Belgian Block Party from 1 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, September 17, when the pub will close the street for the party and its Brewers' Olympics, in which reps from at least a dozen well-known local breweries will compete in events like a keg toss, a grain-stacking competition, blindfolded beer identification and a beer ingredient-eating contest.
Belgian Beer Month kicks off today at the Vine Street Pub, 1700 Vine Street; you can buy tickets, $50, to Belgian Beer 101 there. For more information on tappings and other events, call 303-338-2337 or go to www.facebook.com/mountainsunpub.
Sept. 1-30, 2011