Beer Town: Bold Monk hosting Belgians in the Garden Beer Festival this month

Since the early days of the American craft beer movement, brewers have been fascinated by Belgian beer.

Some notable examples include Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine; Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York; Monkless Belgian Ales in Bend, Oregon; Infinite Ale Works in Ocala, Florida; and The Lost Abbey in San Marcos, California.

In Atlanta, Bold Monk Brewing Co. is an ambitious example of a brewery that embraces the production of Trappist and abbey styles, including a core of award-winning Belgian Dubbel, Tripel, and Quadrupel beers, along with a Belgian Witbier.

After hosting a string of beer festivals over the years, including the annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting, brewmaster and managing partner John “JR” Roberts decided it was high time to feature more Belgian beers.

With that in mind, the first Belgians in the Garden Beer Festival will take place on June 17, with a strong selection of Belgian and Belgian-inspired beers on offer in the multilevel Bold Monk Beer Garden.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“We have some Belgian breweries coming, including Brewery Huyghe with Delirium Tremens, and some family and monastery beers distributed by Merchant du Vin,” Roberts said. “We’ll also have farmhouse breweries like Birds Fly South and Wooden Robot from North Carolina.”

Of course, there will be a number of local breweries pouring beer at the festival, too.

“We’ve got a lot of breweries here in Atlanta that make Belgian-style beers, they just don’t feature them very often,” Roberts noted. “And then we wanted to get some other brewers, like Nick Nock at SweetWater, making them.”

As it turned out, Roberts and Nock collaborated on what they dubbed a black tripel.

“The yeast is what makes Belgian beer,” Roberts said. “That’s the real key. You’re letting the yeast sing, and not overcomplicating it. We started with a tripel base, and then we added dark candi sugar and some dark malt. It’s kind of a cool concept with a lot of caramel notes.”

Among Georgia breweries, look for beers from Contrast Artisan Ales, Creature Comforts Brewing Co., Good Word Brewing, Hopstix Brewery, Monday Night Brewing, Piedmont Brewery, and Southern Brewing Company. And in many cases, the beers were made specially for the festival.

“Belgian beer has always been very special to me, and I’ve always viewed Belgian brewers to be the original craft brewers,” Roberts said. “They work without ropes or nets. They don’t have any real rules about their beer, other than it’s made very well. What I wanted to do with this festival was to try and get more brewers making Belgian-style beers, and celebrate the brewers that are already making them.”


Belgians in the Garden Beer Festival. 5-9 p.m. June 17. Bold Monk Brewing Co., 1737 Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard NW, Atlanta. 404-390-3288; $60 presale. $75 at the door.

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