Beer unites, also across the Atlantic

Our original brewer, Leslie, went to the epicenter of the American craft brew scene, got to know the best brewers and was even invited to do a collaboration brew with the largest brewery in Oregon. The brew is based on one of his recipes and is called ‘Gandaland’. At this very moment, it’s available on tap in Portland!

He shares some highlights of his extraordinary beer trip.

Last September, I visited the Northwest of the USA . We stayed at our friends' place for the biggest part of our trip. Evan and Claire Cohan organize beercycling tours in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Oregon.

My whole trip was centered around beer, good beer. Craft beer is still expanding in the United States and I already knew the Pacific Northwest has a vibrant and lively beer scene. In Portland, Bend and Hood River I visited the best breweries. And in Yakima, the capital of hops (with hop farms that are to three times as big as the whole Belgian hop acreage), I went to “hop&brew school". The hop harvest was in full swing, the best time of year to pay a visit! We visited hop farms (the smell of fresh hops!), and the production units where the hop pellets, extracts and lupuline powder are made. Also on the program were interesting lectures on, among other things, hop selection and the latest trends in the world of hops.

Back in Portland, Bend and Hood River, the brewers of Cascade Brewing, Breakside, Hair of the Dog, Widmer Brothers, Wolves & People, Double Mountain, Sunriver, Crux Fermentation Project and Deschutes received us with open arms. Their openness, passion and sense of community are undoubtedly the main ingredients of the current craft beer success in the region. The result is impressive: quality beers in a wide variety of styles. Of course, most of them are especially known for their sublime IPA's. They are also at the source, right next to ‘hop country’. But in addition, I was amazed by the stouts, sour beers, saisons, white beers, hefeweissen, gose and so on.

I was honored that I could assist Will of Breakside while brewing 'Complete IPA’, a beer that was created especially for the release of a book of the same name by Joshua M. Bernstein.

But the most unforgettable experience was undoubtedly the collaboration brew at Widmer Brothers Brewing Company / Craft Beer Alliance. All thanks to a chance encounter with the enthusiastic Bill Smith, director of operations of the brewery. A cordial conversation at the brewpub of Breakside resulted in the creation of 'Gandaland', a collaboration brew that is based on one of my recipes .

The name is the combination of the Celtic origins of Ghent and Portland. Doug and Tom changed their planning especially to get us to brew a few days before I went back to Belgium. Another example of how beer brings people together, not only in Belgium but also across national borders.
I can’t wait to see those enthusiastic people back so we can share more experiences, knowledge, but especially to have a great time together, in Belgium or in the USA!

Widmer Brothers Brewing About Gandaland Belgian IPA


Happy Thursday, Portland! Today we’re tapping Gandaland Belgian IPA, an impromptu collaboration beer between Widmer Brothers and two brewers from L’ Arogante brewery in Ghent, Belgium— Leslie Lambregts and Daniella Provost.

Billy Smith and Doug Rehberg ran into the Belgian brewers while they were out for beers at Breakside Brewing. Within 24 hours, the Widmer Brothers innovation team met with Leslie and started brewing this collaborative interpretation of L’Arogante, the brewery’s flagship hoppy Belgian Blonde, and Gandaland (a combination of the Celtic origins of Ghent and Portland) was born.

Brewed with Belgian pilsner malt and sugar and hopped with Cascade, Eureka, and Simcoe, Gandaland Belgian IPA was keg conditioned with champagne yeast for a rocky head and additional effervescence. The finish is dry and slightly spicy, and the brew comes in at 6.0% ABV and 66 BU.

It’s not every day a chance meeting results in a Belgian IPA. Come down to the pub and give it a try!

Beer & Bite Pairing
Today we’re pairing Gandaland Belgian IPA with a hop-infused crème brulee with preserved lemon.

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