Belgium beer on UNESCO cultural heritage list as tradition evolves

World Today

Every year, UNESCO announces new additions to its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and this year, India’s yoga practice and Venezuela’s carnival traditions joined the list, along with Belgium’s beer. Brewers in Belgium are celebrating the decision, but they’re also modernizing the country’s beer traditions to attract new drinkers. CCTV’s Elena Casas has more from Brussels.

Every year, UNESCO announces new additions to its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and this year, India’s yoga practice and Venezuela’s carnival traditions joined the list, along with Belgium’s beer.

Brewers in Belgium are celebrating the decision, but they’re also modernizing the country’s beer traditions to attract new drinkers.

CCTV’s Elena Casas has more from Brussels.
Follow Elena Casas on Twitter @ElenacMontanez

Belgium beer on UNESCO cultural heritage list as tradition evolves

Every year, UNESCO announces new additions to its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and this year, India's yoga practice and Venezuela's carnival traditions joined the list, along with Belgium's beer. Brewers in Belgium are celebrating the decision, but they're also modernizing the country's beer traditions to attract new drinkers. CCTV’s Elena Casas has more from Brussels.

The pouring technique, the right amount of foam and even the shape of the glass used for each beer, all these things here in Belgium are now part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

“It’s a kind of guarantee that it will be protected over time, that it will be transmitted to future generations, and it’s great that UNESCO recognize that, this is fantastic news for Belgium and all Belgians are proud today,” said Jean-Louis van der Perre, the President of Belgian Brewers’ Association.

Belgium has over 2000 traditionally brewed beers – from sour lambic to fruity kriek, and dark beers brewed by monks to light lagers.

But the established names are now being challenged by start-ups.

The Brussels Beer Project was set up by two Belgian friends who developed a taste for craft beers when they lived in Canada – they raised money via crowdfunding and opened in central Brussels a year ago.

They’re inspired by the hoppy IPAs made in American microbreweries – and they’ve tried everything from cocoa to stale baguettes in their brews. Their experiments are going down well with locals and tourists.

“Belgian people are like the French with wine – we’re extremely proud of the beers we have, but sometimes we lack a bit of curiosity, and I think we have a lot to learn also from what’s happening outside Belgium, because consumers want to know what they’re drinking and how it’s made, and this is happening now in Belgium – I think we’re all born with beer in the blood, but I think we need to stay curious and discover new stuff,” said Olivier de Brauwere, the co-founder of Brussels Beer Project.