Beer expert slates health gurus

One of Belgium's premier beer and brewing experts, Jef Van den Steen, has slated the latest advice from Belgium's High Council for Health.  Mr Van den Steen believes that in a country with a long-standing and elaborate beer culture the council's recommendations are “excessive”.

What did the council say?  The council seized the start of the FIFA World Cup in Russia to promote its message.  It is advising people to drink no more than ten glasses of pilsner a week and no more than 5 or 6 glasses of stronger beers.

Jef Van den Steen, who lectures in beer sciences, told VRT Radio: "I believe the High Council is attempting to shock people into changing their behaviour.  The first thing I thought was 'Here we go again'" said the 69-year-old who has devoted his life to Belgian beer and brewing technology. "When people like this end up in the news, it's because they want to ban everything!"

Jef Van den Steen accuses the council of setting very stringent norms that mean you can't even drink a full 33cl glass of strong beer a day.  He acknowledges that some will drink to excess as Belgium progresses at the World Cup, but insists that real beer lowers are more sensible. He - apparently they are all hes in Jef Van den Steen's world - doesn't drink large volumes, but goes in search of taste, aroma and new experiences.  “Fewer and fewer are the people who think drinking to excess shows you're a man!”

The Belgian beer drinker is on the right path!  The Belgian beer lover is opting in favour of quality not in favour of quantity.  Jef Van den Steen has little time for the council's recommendations that in his view go too far for the vast majority of Belgians who know how to deal with a glass of good beer.