Belgium experiments with mystical "full moon" beer

Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:15pm EDT
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By Emily Coleman

PERUWELZ, Belgium (Reuters Life!) - Full moons are often associated with tides, insanity and creatures like werewolves, but it turns out they're also good for brewing beer.

In Peruwelz, a small, sleepy town in southern Belgium, a family-owned brewery has produced its first batch of specialist beer brewed by the light of a full autumnal moon.

It isn't so much a nod to mythology as a recognition of nature's impact on the science of brewing.

"We made several tests and noticed that the fermentation was more vigorous, more active," explained Roger Caulier, the owner of Brewery Caulier, which began in the 1930s when his grandfather started selling homemade beer from a handcart.

"The end product was completely different, stronger, with a taste lasting longer in the mouth," he said.

The full moon speeds up the fermentation process, shortening it to five days from seven, which adds extra punch to the beer without making it harsh, according to connoisseurs.

The finely balanced, gold-colored beer is 10 percent alcohol by volume, extremely strong by most European or U.S. standards but not uncommon in Belgium, where traditional monk-brewed beers frequently hit 10 or 12 percent.

"It goes down very well, no problem at all," said Joseph Francois, a journalist and beer expert who has tasted the brew.   Continued...

<p>A woman holds up a bottle of Paix-Dieu beer in Brussels September 24, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge</p>