Les Deux Belges hosted Manila’s first Belgian Beer Dinner last March at The Peninsula Manila, and it was a refreshing food and drink pairing experience. 

Les Deux Belges is a Manila-based importing company owned by Belgium-natives Gregory Tutt and Emmanuel de Ghellinck—fitting for their company name as it translates to “The Two Belgians.” They handpick a great variety of authentic Belgian beers and ship it to the Philippines to share the wonderful culture that they have to offer.

It started fully-operating by early 2017 and, in just four months, they were already ordering their next batch of containers because people were beginning to discover and love its broad taste spectrum given that there are different types of Belgian beers for everyone.

Lindemans Belgian beer exclusively distributed by Les Deux Belges in the Philippines

According to Emmanuel, maintaining the beer’s full flavors by proper keeping, transporting etc. contributes to the success of Les Deux Belges. It enabled them to encapsulate the same taste, quality, and freshness that you would get as if you would be drinking it in Belgium.

Romain Hotterbeex, Sales Director of Les Deux Belges, along with The Peninsula Manila’s chef, Nicola van Heemsbergen, they came up with a unique event that showcased the splendor of Belgian Beers—A Beer Dinner. 

“We’ve done several wine dinners, champagne dinners in the past—we got to do something else!” said Nicola. “One day, when Romain and I were having a drink, we thought, “why don’t we use your beers for our dinner and I come up with some Belgian dishes to pair it with?”

Thus, the “Belgian Beer Dinner” was actualized. Initially, the plan was to have 24 guests for the initial launch, but words spread about this fresh concept and the number went up to 92.

During the dinner
Chef Nicola together with Les Deux Belges team

Nicola’s childhood memories inspired the theme of the dinner. He wanted to share the nostalgia he has of the food made by his mother and grandmother while pairing it with the best craft beers from Les Deux Belges have.

The dinner was a four-course meal with a set of five different beers. Romain shared that they handpicked these five because it exemplified several choices that would allow guests to immerse themselves with the versatility of Belgian Beers.

The Menu
What’s for dinner?

The first beer placed on the table was the Blanche de Bruxelles or the Belgian White Beer. It was a light, refreshing, and easy-going drink with only 4.5% alcohol content. It makes for a perfect welcome beverage as people nibble on snacks and wait for the food.

Blance de Bruxelle

Not long after, they served the Country Pate along with the Westmalle Tripel (Trappist Blonde Triple). It’s a Trappist beer that has an amazing fruity aroma of ripe banana and a subtle nose of hops. It gives off a bitter note upon tasting and a lingering, dry finish. 

Beef Pate with Westmalle Tripel

The beer works well with the paté as the food also contained Westmalle Tripel—a very traditional technique in Belgian cuisine.

The Gratinated Braised Belgian Endive with Ham is a famous vegetable dish in Belgium. It’s very bitter; almost similar to ampalaya. To give that contrast, the Barbar Blonde (Blonde Ale) followed right after.

Belgian Endive with Ham paired with Barbar Blonde (Blonde Ale)

As the name suggests, it gives off a deep blonde visual that becomes even more mesmerizing with its strong honey aroma accompanied by a symphony of floral, spicy, and citrus notes. It tastes slightly sweet without a bitter aftertaste, which complements the Endive.

The Piraat or the Amber Triple Ale is the perfect match for the Beer-Braised Beef Stew. As Romain shared, “The darker the beer, the more you’re going to use barbequed meat or roasted meat; so we needed an amber beer, and Piraat was perfect.”

Piraat

The Piraat has a complex flavor that ranges from slightly sweet fruitiness to hop bitterness. It also has a little spicy kick to it that makes it even more exciting as you feast on the special beef stew.

Lastly, their sophisticated Rice Pudding with Cherry is a match made in heaven with the Lindemans Kriek or the Cherry Lambic Beer.

Right off the bat, you’d smell the fragrance of fresh cherry of this Lambic Beer. It’s as delicious as its aroma, almost eradicating the typical dry finish of beers. The reason behind that is that they made use of 25% filtrate of sour cherries before the drink is filtered and pasteurized.

Rice Pudding with Lindemans Cherry Lambic Beer

Each beer has its own signature taste and, as the Belgians believe, it’s a matter pairing the right beer with the right food that makes for a scrumptious feast.

If you missed this craft beer pairing dinner, don’t fret as Les Deux Belges is crafting more partnerships with other bars and restaurants. Be one of the first to be a part of their annual moules et frites (mussels and fries) feast later this year, get the updates from @lesdeuxbelges on Facebook and Instagram.

JP moved to Manila from '96 with big dreams, and he is working towards his goals one day at a time. He contributes to different publications in the city and writes about travel, food, and drinks.

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