One of the most influential Belgian beer importers of recent years, whose founders live in Chicago, will throw the company a 30th birthday party next week stretching from coast to coast.
Vanberg & DeWulf, responsible for bringing Duvel to our shores among other brands, will host the "Coast to Coast Toast" Tuesday night. More than 350 bars and restaurants are participating nationwide. At 10 p.m. Central, all will raise a glass of beer (Belgian, presumably) to salute the importer as well as Belgian beer and general beer culture.
"It will be the single biggest one-day national celebration of Belgian beer in this country during this millennium," said Wendy Littlefield, who co-founded Vanberg & DeWulf with her husband, Don Feinberg, in 1982. "Good thing the millennium isn't very old."
About 40 locations in Chicago are taking part, most notably The Publican, which is offering a six-course prix fixemenu ($65) that "represents the best of Publican's beer-friendly fare." Also available will be pairings with Vanberg & DeWulf beers ($20) that cross a broad spectrum of Belgium's best. Seatings will be every half an hour from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m., and reservations can be made through Publican. The menu isn't on the Publican web site, but we have it below.
Littlefield and Feinberg launched Vanberg & DeWulf after becoming smitten with Belgium and its beer while traveling after college (it's not hard to imagine; remember how bad American beer was not so long ago?).
The couple formed its import company in Cooperstown, N.Y., where it also later founded Ommegang Brewery, well know for brewing Belgian style beers. They sold Ommegang in 2003 and moved to Chicago three years ago. They live in Lake View and continue to run their import business.
On Tuesday, they'll be celebrating at Publican. What will Littlefield toast with?
"You don't put me on that spot," she said. "Everyone will toast with something different. We want to show the love to all of our beer."
For more information on the Coast to Coast Toast, click here.
Coast to Coast dinner and beer pairing menu at Publican
Squash salad withpomegranate and goat cheese; paired with Posca Rustica
Smoked mussel crostini; paired with Witkap
Dungeness crab withalmond pesto; paired with Hop Ruiter
Potee with wild rice, pork tenderloin, cotechino and pork confit; paired with Peche Mel
Warm Raclette withtraditional garnishment; paired with Lambickx