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This Friday in Brussels, at an enthronement ceremony that will kick off a weekend-long celebration of Belgian beer, two of our local heroes will have the honor of being knighted by the Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs, or Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mashstaff. Thor Cheston, formerly at Birreria Paradiso and now general manager at Brasserie Beck, and Bart Vandaele, owner and executive chef at Belga Cafe are the third and fourth DC-area beer visionaries to be recognized for their efforts to promote Belgian beer.
This weekend’s festivities will double the number of Beer Knights in DC, bestowing on our fair city bragging rights for having more “Sir Beer Guys” than any other city in America. In 2003, DC beer legend Dave Alexander, co-owner of The Brickskeller, was the fifth American and first American bar owner to be knighted by the Belgian Brewers’ Guild. You may recall all the hubbub just two years ago, when Belgian beer aficionado Bill Catron, the former beer sommelier at Brasserie Beck who is now with DeVinos/D’Vines, was the 13th American to be knighted.
Those of us in DC who love Belgian beer owe a lot to these four men. Their work has helped make Washington the great beer town it is today. How did they each become worthy of the title “Sir”? What is the knighting ceremony like? The Lagerheads have been meeting with our local knights and knights-to-be over the past few weeks and will be sharing all the thirst-quenching details on the subject soon, so stay tuned.