How to join the Belgian Beer Consumers' Organisations:
De Oostendse Bierjutters (DOB) and Zythos
In December, 2002, it was announced that OBP, Belgium's premier beer consumers' organisation, was to be liquidated. De Oostendse Bierjutters (DOB, The Ostend Beercombers, www.deoostendsebierjutters.org, Bookmark), was one of OBP's regional organisations, the one representing Ostend and the Belgian coast. Thankfully, it was announced in February, 2003 that a new organisation, Zythos (www.zythos.be (Bookmark) and White Beer Travels Web page), had been formed, based on the OBP regional organisations such as DOB.
One can only join Zythos via one of its regional organisations. As a member, one gets information, both from Zythos and from the organisation that you have chosen, for example, excellent magazines such as four copies each year of Zythos's De Zytholoog and for DOB members, for example, typically six copies each year of DOB's Den Dobber.
For Dutch speakers, who can pay in Euro into a Belgian bank account, there is information on how to join DOB and both DOB and Zythos on DOB's website, www.deoostendsebierjutters.org.
There is an alternative way for people who would like to join DOB and Zythos by paying using a UK sterling cheque, i.e. please send £20.80, for membership for one calendar year (January to December, 2007), payable to directly to me, John White, i.e. I am DOB's UK Treasurer (VK-Penningmeester). Click here to contact me by e-mail; my other contact details are to be found on the Contacts page of my White Beer Travels website. Note that one can join DOB alone for £6.90 and the text to the right of the photo just below gives details of a further DOB/Zythos membership option. This information is also given on the DOB website. On receipt of your cheque, I immediately forward your contact details (i.e. where you wish to receive correspondence) by e-mail to Johan De Jonghe, the President of DOB.
On page 336 of Tim Webb's don't-enter-Belgium-without Good Beer Guide Belgium (5th edition, May, 2005, www.booksaboutbeer.com, White Beer Travels Web page), information on joining Zythos via DOB, by sending a sterling cheque to myself, is provided. For a White Beer Travels review of this essential Guide, click here, this providing details of how it can be purchased.
Please note that there is a seventy page White Beer Travels guide available covering the Specialty Beer scene in Ostend and the Belgian Coast. It is available from the site's Downloads page, which can be reached by clicking here. On this page one can also download a free-of-charge Ostend Beer Map. Click here to see a reduced sized reproduction of the guide's A4-sized cover.
DOB's Beer Festival: De Bierjutterij
DOB, which is a member of the Cultuurraad Oostende (CRO) (Ostend Cultural Council), organises a beer festival, De Bierjutterij, in Ostend each year. It is generally held on the second Saturday in July, from 11am until 1am. Further details of the next festival will be made available on the site's News page, which can be reached by clicking here. As with most beer festivals in Belgium, there is no entry charge for this beer festival, and no pre-booking is required: just turn up, and a great time and great beers are guaranteed! Breweries attending typically include: Sublim, Sint-Pieters, Van Eecke, Leroy, Slaapmutske and Strubbe.
DOB's Beer: Keyte
An interesting beer featured at the 2004 festival was called Keyte. The description after its name on the reproduction of its label, above left, and on the glass, above right, reads "Ostêns Belegeringsbier" (Ostend Siege Beer). The photo is a still from a story that was broadcast on Focus TV (www.focustv.be), which can be accessed on the DOB website, in which DOB's president, Rik Vernack talks about the beer. It commemorates the 400th anniversary of the ending of the siege of Ostend (1601-1604). This was part of a war between Philip II of Spain and the Dutch and the English. DOB commissioned Strubbe (www.brouwerij-strubbe.be) to brew this 7.5% beer, Strubbe being based in Ichtegem, which is quite close to Ostend, where its brewer, Marc Strubbe, lives. This is a special brew, i.e. it is not an etiquette (label) beer. "Keyte" is written in red lettering to symbolise the blood that flowed during the battle; 100,000 people died. The name "Keyte" is derived from an old historical beer, that was brewed without hops; the word is probably derived from the French "cuire" (to cook). "Keyte" is also a West Flanders dialect word; the "ey" is pronounced as per "I'; Keyte means: "We're even."
Despite Keyte being initially brewed for a specific anniversary year, 2004, it continues to be brewed beyond this year. DOB have done a superb job promoting it, as it is available in numerous outlets in Ostend and in other places on the Belgian coast and beyond. This is not just limited to well known Speciality Beer outlets, such as De Torre, in De Haan (www.detorre.be), but in places such as restaurants that are not regarded as Specialty Beer outlets; for an example, click here. Because of the quality of the label, see above, it is still called "Ostêns Belegeringsbier" (Ostend Siege Beer), but it also now has another, more manageable name that describes its beer style: Oostendse Tripel. Strubbe have annual Keyte public brewing days; in 2005, it was on Saturday, the 7th of May.