Saturday, 22 August 2015

To Brussels for EBBC 2015

I’m off on my travels again on Wednesday. This time I’m heading to Brussels for the European Beer Blogger’s Conference. It’s a two day event designed to bring together beer Bloggers and beer writers from all over the world to discuss various topics relating to brewing, beer appreciation and beer writing with, given the event’s location, an obvious nod in the direction of Belgian Beer. Basically it’s an opportunity to meet up with like-minded people, whilst enjoying the hospitality and culture of the host nation.

Now I have to confess Brussels is not my favourite city, but it’s difficult to put my finger on exactly what I dislike about the place. I’ve been there three times in the past, but only for day trips, so really I’ve only scratched the surface. The idea is that this forthcoming, long weekend will show Brussels in a different light and elevate the Belgian capital to somewhere I will want to visit again; rather than it just being the boring and rather dull home of the European Commision. We shall see!

 There will, of course, be plenty of beer to assist the assimilation of the city into my list of desirable places to visit, and for this we must thank the sponsors of the event. There are twenty-five Premier Sponsors, (nearly all of them breweries), two Grand Sponsors (Visit Flanders and Pilsner Urquell), with the Belgian Family Brewers organisation topping the list as Elite Sponsor. You get the picture then, when I say there will be plenty of beer!  

There will be some culture as well, because tourist organisations, Visit Flanders and, to a lesser extent, Visit Belgium, will be on hand to promote the attractions of both Flanders and the nation as a whole. There will be several opportunities to enjoy some of Belgium’s finest cuisine, with some interesting sounding beer and food pairings, plus two grand dinners. The one on the first evening of the conference (Friday), takes place at the prestigious Belga Queen Bruxelles and is being hosted by the Belgian Family Brewers. Saturday evening’s end of conference dinner takes place at the Hotel Marivaux; the conference venue, and is sponsored by Pilsner Urquell. I must admit I am looking forward to enjoying some light, refreshing and palate-cleansing Czech Pilsner after all those dark and heavy Belgian beers!

For real devotees, the closing evening ends with an optional pub crawl which “highlights some of the more interesting cafés and historical sites of Brussels with a beer or brewing significance along the way”.
If all this sounds like unashamed gluttony and inebriation, then I’m afraid it probably will be, but I shall make every effort to pace myself as there is even more beer sampling and pub going either side of the conference. You see, I haven’t mentioned yet the pre-conference trip which takes place on the Thursday, and the two-day post conference excursion around West Flanders. I won’t go over the itinerary again, as I wrote about these trips in some detail back in March, but if anything they should eclipse even the conference itself. 

There will be a full report when I get back, on both the conference and some of the trips. In the meantime I’ve got my passport, Eurostar ticket and Brussel’s City Guide ready. I’ve also managed to change my hotel booking and grab a room at the  four star Hotel Marivaux; the conference venue itself.

To be continued………………………..

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