is yours truly, John White's "White Beer Travels" website, which is dedicated jointly to
"The Beer Hunter", "The Maven of Malt", Michael Jackson (1942-) and Belgian Pierre Celis (1925-), the King of Belgian White/Wheat Beer. Michael's classic books got me drinking and loving Speciality/Specialty Beer/Craft Beer, and made me aware that there were wonderful characters involved in the production of these beers, such as Pierre Celis.
Michael's website, www.beerhunter.com
(Bookmark), is a superb source of information on the very best in the Speciality/Specialty Beer/Craft Beer world. I hope that Michael has not patented
the words "Beer Hunt", as well as "Beer Hunter®"! Pierre Celis's famous Wheat/White Beer has made Travels all over the
globe, largely because of Michael's high profile promotion of it and other Specialty Beers, such as the Belgian and Dutch Beers brewed by Trappist Monks. Given my surname, the title
of my Beer Hunt website was not too difficult to come up with.
the above photo, I am sitting next to Michael at the British Guild of Beer Writers' annual dinner, in London, in December, 2006. The photo was taken by Rob Judges (www.robjudges.com). Michael's tie has tankards of beer from the Forst Brewery (www.forst.it), in Forst/Algund, in Alto Adige/Südtirol, a German-speaking part of the country. They are renowned for a beer named after Saintt Sixtus, Forst Sixtus, which, of course, should not be confused with the beers from the St.-Sixtus Trappist Monastery, in Westvleteren, in Belgium (White Beer Travels Web page). Michael was the first Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers (www.beerwriters.co.uk, Bookmark), and I am currently a member of the Guild's committee, and its trip organiser.
The above photo was taken by renowned beer writer, Roger Protz, see below, in May, 2006. In it, I am with Pierre Celis, from Hoegaarden, in Belgium, the town that Hoegaardier, Pierre made famous for its White
Beer. The photo was taken in front of the "Roerkuip" (Dutch for Mash Tun) that Pierre used to produce his first commercial White Beer, in 1966. It was installed in a cowshed (koestal) across from his house, and this is where it remains to this day. I organised the meeting in Hoegaarden with Pierre for Roger and myself.
Pierre Celis, is perhaps the
most famous name in Belgian Beer. At the forerunner to his De Kluis brewery in Hoegaarden, he created the
famous Hoegaarden Wit Bier, which is White Beer or Wheat Beer in English, see
below. After the take-over of De Kluis by Interbrew (now InBev), Pierre
emigrated to the USA, to set up a brewery in Austin, Texas. There, he produced
the top-class Celis White. Interbrew desecrated his Hoegaarden White Beer by introducing high-gravity brewing, reducing lagering (secondary fermentation) time, and changing the recipe (removing the Oats from the mash and replacing the Hops from The Czech Republic), and in November, 2005, that load of Bankers, InBev, announced the closure of the brewery, moving production of Hoegaarden to Jupille-sur-Meuse, near Liège, in the French-speaking Belgium (clearly, it should now be called "Jupille Blanche"). Pierre chose Austin, since it has similar
water to that in Hoegaarden. On leaving Austin, to return to Belgium, Pierre had
this beer brewed for him by Bios/Van Steenberge (www.vansteenberge.com),
in Ertvelde, near Ghent. Clearly Pierre has made some beer travels, and as the
creator of the ubiquitous Hoegaarden brand of White Beer, is a most fitting person
to be on the Home page of the White Beer Travels website.
For further information on Pierre, click here to go to the White Beer Travels Web page that features this great man.
White's "White Beer Travels" Website
above preamble is just an example of what this website
covers: places featuring beer that is special, such as Prague and
České Budějovice (Budweis in German) in The Czech Republic, Mechelen, in Belgium, Montreal,
in Canada, and Singapore, in SE Asia, in Web pages that go from A to Z (from Aalst to Zoigl). The beer in question is often called Speciality Beer, or, in the USA, Craft Beer or Specialty Beer. There is barrels of information on such beer and on very special bars
where it is available, click here for an example, which
links to others. Breweries that produce great beers, such as Cantillon,
in Brussels, in Belgium, and the Orval Trappist Monastery,
also in Belgium, have dedicated pages.
White Beer Travels
is a site brewed up by Speciality Beer fan, John White (1945-), an Englishman who has
organised and run Beer Hunts in Europe, the United States, and beyond, since 1993, when
a group of White Beer Travels Beer Hunters went in search of Belgian Beer for
the first time. Past and Future White Beer Travels Beer Hunts are described and Background Information on these is provided, including answers to the important questions: "Why go on a Group Beer Hunt?; and "Why go on a White Beer Travels Group Beer Hunt?' Details of the White Beer Travels French to English
Translation Service (Service de Traduction de français en anglais) are also provided. The English-language pages of the website for the Bruxellensis Beer Festival, www.festivalbruxellensis.be (Bookmark), that takes place in Brussels, are an example of the French to English translation work that have been undertaken. Cliquez un résumé en français de cette page d'accueil. There
is an e-mail contact link for White Beer Travels at the top of the page; click here for further contact details. White Beer Travels endeavours to answer all legitimate e-mail queries on Specialty Beer. Should you consider that the answer to your query would be of interest to others, why not post it on the White Beer Travels blog site, www.whitebeertravels.blogspot.com.
White Beer Travels Beer Hunts are recommended by
world-renowned beer writer, Roger Protz, and endorsed by members of the British Guild of Beer Writers
The above photo was taken by Roger Protz, in January, 2006. In it, John White, is with the Abbot of a Trappist Monastery, in The Netherlands.
In the UK national newspaper, the Independent on Sunday (www.independent.co.uk), on the 16th of January, 2005, in an article by Richard Ehrlich, entitled "The beer hunter", Richard quotes Roger Protz (1939-) (www.beer-pages.com, Bookmark), as follows: " ... my eminent colleague Roger Protz, author of the magisterial Complete Guide to World Beer (£19.99, Carlton), recommends the beer hunts organised by John White (www.whitebeertravels.com)." Roger's book can be purchased from Amazon, see below. After being one of the Beer Hunters on a White Beer Travels trip to Bamberg and Nuremberg (for details, click here), Roger wrote "Thanks for a brilliant trip -- best ever".
Dom Bernardus Peeters, who is on the right, in the photo to the left, is the Abbot of the Abdij O.L.V. van Koningshoeven, in Berkel-Enschot, near Tilburg, in the Dutch Province of North Brabant. Within the walls of this Monastery, is De Koningshoeven Trappist Brewery (www.latrappe.nl). John White, of White Beer Travels, organised the visit to the monastery and its brewery, which is fully covered in a White Beer Travels Web page.
Following a White Beer Travels Beer Hunt organised for the British Guild of Beer Writers, written comments received included: "Thanks for all your wonderful work last week. It was a great trip.", from CAMRA HQ's Iain Loe; "The whole trip was excellent. Well organised.", from Tim Webb, of Good Beer Guide Belgium fame (www.booksaboutbeer.com (Bookmark) and White Beer Travels Web page); and " ... it was an excellent trip. Many thanks to you and Joyce for a
thoroughly professional, informative and fun visit - we will have to go again.", from Chris Marchbanks, brewing and beer technologist. Click here for information on the trip that they are referring to.
the Downloads page of the site, comprehensive White
Beer Travels Speciality Beer guides/eBooks are available, such as: a sixty-eight
page one to Brussels: or the fifty-three page one covering Amsterdam; or the seventy-seven page Bamberg one; or the eighty-three page one for London. These can
be purchased using PayPal®/Credit Card, or by using a UK sterling cheque.
However, a number of the guides are free-of-charge.
number of books are featured on the site. For the purchase of these (and CDs,
DVDs, etc), White Beer Travels recommends amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, who can
be reached by clicking on the buttons to the right. Note that both sites can be
used by UK residents, the US-based amazon.com having items that are not available
on the other site, and vice versa.
Should you want to arrange your own travel to Belgium (or to Lille or Paris), White Beer Travels recommends "Driveline Great Getaways". They provide excellent value accommodation, in conjunction with travel on the Eurostar train from London. Click on the banner to book on-line, or for more information.
more introductory information please click here. At any
time, click "Home" to return to the Home page. A series of links to
the main pages of the site are provided at the top and the
bottom of each page. Clicking on the button to the left
takes one to the Contents page of the site, or its Site Map. This has
links to all the White Beer Travels website's one hundred and six separate pages (over 650 pages
of A4/letter when printed). On this page, it will be seen that the good as well
as the bad (for example, GM Beer) is covered. The complete
site or the whole of the World Wide Web can be searched using the Google
facility provided at the bottom of this page, and on the
The above photo was taken in Nellies, in Beverley, by John White, in March, 2002. Beverley is not too far from where John lives, in Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Nellies is the nearest world-class pub to Grimsby; it is an entry in The CAMRA National Inventory. Pub Interiors of Outstanding Historic Interest (NI) (www.heritagepubs.org.uk).
Beer that Travels?
Wheat Beer, particularly common in
Belgium and Germany, is one of many types of beer that are enjoyed on White Beer
Travels Beer Hunts. Often cloudy, such a beer is, in the Dutch-speaking part of
Belgium, called a Wit Bier, a Bière Blanche, in Wallonia, the French-speaking
part, and, in Germany, a Weizen (Wheat) or a Weissbier (Weißbier) (White Beer), or simply a Weisse. Indeed,
the guardian of the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) (www.oed.com), informs
one that "Wheat" is derived from an old Teutonic/Germanic word meaning
The most famous Wheat Beers are meant
to be cloudy, from the top to the bottom of the glass. Therefore, after returning
home with a bottle, from your local beer shop or wherever, if its temperature
is OK, one can pour a Wheat Beer and drink it immediately, unlike other unfiltered
beers, which need time to settle: White Beer travels well!
Beer certainly Travels to Beverley, in East Yorkshire, England, In the photo to the left, then landlady, Pam Elliot, of the life-enhancing Nellies
(The White Horse) (5 Hengate, tel 01842 861973, www.nellies.co.uk, GPS: 53.844527o N, 0.432068o W),
in Beverley, is pulling a pint of Samuel Smith Old Brewery Bitter from one of an impressive array of wooden
casks in the cellar (£1.33 in June, 2007). Alongside the handpump for this Real Ale (Cask Ale) is a font for
Ayinger Hefe-Weisse (Yeast-White) (www.ayinger-bier.de), which originates from Bavaria, but is actually brewed under licence by Samuel Smith, in Tadcaster, Yorkshire.
The Grade II* listed Nellies is a multi-roomed, gaslight-lit, coal fire-heated, stone-floored gem. The outstanding Nellies website
was created by Nellies regular, Mark Elvidge; note the ghost on its History page.