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Belgian beer added to UNESCO list

Belgian beer has been added to UNESCO’s list of the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.

Beer is an intrinsic part of Belgian history, society and culture, produced in every major town and city and good deal of smaller towns, villages and, of course, abbeys as well.

Produced in an extremely wide range of styles, Belgian beers include some of the world’s biggest brands – such as Stella Artois – as well as some of the oldest; some brands claim descent back to the 12th century while the Trappist monastery of Rochefort has been brewing since 1595.

The beer of Flanders and the other Low Countries has been celebrated in songs and the art of old masters such as Pieter Brueghel (pictured) and Belgian beer styles have proliferated globally too with numerous breweries around the world trying their hand at ‘tripels’, ‘dubbels’ and fruit beers.

UNESCO added that beer was not only important as a drink but was, “used by communities for cooking, producing products like beer-washed cheese and paired with food.”

A statement from the culture ministers of Belgium (one each representing French, Dutch and German speakers) said: “It is the unparalleled diversity of the art of brewing and the intensity of the beer culture, as a part of our daily lives and at festivals in our country, that make this beer culture a part of the identity and the cultural heritage of the entire country.”

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