Belgians celebrate King’s Day with beer
In celebration of Belgium’s King’s Day on Nov. 15, Dirk Wouters, the ambassador of Belgium to the United States his wife, Katrin Wouters, held a reception at their Washington residence featuring a wide variety of Belgian beers.
At the top of the beer list was “Delirium Tremens,” a beer launched in 1989 that uses three different kinds of yeast and has won a gold medal at the world beer championship in Chicago.
Other beers offered included:
» Delirium Noel, a chestnut amber
» Delirium Red, which has a fruity aroma
» Straffe Hendrik Triple, a traditional beer from Bruges that ferments in the bottle
» Goulden Carolus Van de Kaizer Blouw, which is released in a limited quantity each Feb. 24, the birthday of Charles V
» Oud Beersel Sour Blend, a blonde ale with the aromas of Lambic
» DeTroch Peche, an infused beer with aromas of peach, pear and apple.
According to the website Office Holidays, Belgium’s King Day is known in the country as the King’s Feast, and was first celebrated in honor of King Leopold I (1790-1865), the first monarch of Belgium following its independence from the Netherlands in 1831.
King Leopold I was named after St. Leopold and the King’s Feast has been celebrated in Belgium on November 15 since 1866, when Leopold II decreed it.
In Belgium the king and the queen do not actually attend the King’s Feast, as the custom is that they should not be seen to celebrate themselves. Other members of the royal family attend instead.
The Belgian ambassador’s residence in Washington is one of the grandest on Foxhall Road, and has an interesting history.
According to the website Cultural Tourism DC, the house, called Marly, was commissioned by Anna Thomson Dodge, the heiress of the Dodge Brothers Motor Company fortune, as a wedding gift to her daughter Delphine and son-in-law Raymond Baker.
It was designed by Julian Abele (1881-1950), the first African-American graduate of the architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania and the chief designer for architect Horace Trumbauer of Philadelphia.
The house was completed in 1931, and purchased by the Belgian government in 1945.