The Beer Idiots managed to catch up with the indefatigable Stéfan Cauwenbergs at his world-famous Billie’s Craft Beer Fest for an on-the-spot interview in the brewers area at Waagnatie Expo & Events, in Antwerp.
The festival on 29-30 November featured 50 of the world’s best brewers, along with the bulldog who is the secret behind the festival and and Billie’s Bier Kafétaria in Antwerp.
The festival features an all-in ticket formula, which includes unlimited beer tasting of around 400 different beers to taste, with around 200 on Friday and 200 different ones on Saturday. It was my first time at the festival, now in its third year, and I got a chance to ask Cauwenbergs “Why are there so many stouts!” Check out the beerlist.
I love stouts, so I will definitely put the festival in my must-go-to calendar. Who needs a stout festival when you have Billie’s! While at first I was skeptical of the all-in-formula I found that it does work. This was a festival where I got to taste the most beers I have ever tasted in one session without getting stupid drunk. I did this by sharing glasses with three good friends, as I did not feel compelled to drink what I had paid for, or worry whether something was one or two tokens.
The only barrier was some of the lineups at some of the brewers who had cult followings. In one case there was a line that started 1 hour before the second service began (the brewer had long run out of beer in the first round on Saturday). Near the time of the start of the second round it stretched almost 100 drinkers deep.
I asked one person near the back why they were in the line and if they knew the brewer. No was the answer. He was in the line because it was a line. He suffered from beer line-itis. Nothing attracts a line like a line.
Video: Stéfan Cauwenbergs, owner of Billie’s Bier Kafétaria in Antwerp, talks about the philosophy behind the festival he founded. The interview features Billie. Cauwenbergs’ Billie’s Bier Kafétaria is rightly famous as a hot spot for craft beer lovers, an owner who cares for his customers, the famous Billie’s Craft Beer Fest and the French bulldog that is so cool he can sit through an entire interview with Beer Idiot Dieter Proost.