Donald Feinberg launched Vanberg & DeWulf in 1982 after living in Belgium for a few years, when he faced the dire prospect of returning to America without a reliable source of the Belgian beer he had come to love.
Saison Dupont: $9/750 ml
Hop Ruiter: $11/750 ml
Lambickx de troch: $23/750 ml
Today, he and his wife, Wendy Littlefield, are premier experts on the topic, running the import business in addition to brewing their own Belgian-style beer with brewers in Belgium. Their products have developed a cult-like following among beer lovers in search of quality and distinction.
Vanberg & DeWulf’s Saison Dupont, a farmhouse-style ale that pairs exceedingly well with spicy food, was named best beer in the world by Men’s Journal, and The New York Times chimed in, calling it a great beer for summer. The couple’s Hop Ruiter — a strong golden ale described as a stellar combination of bitterness and sweet malt flavor — won a gold medal at the 2011 Modeste Bierfestival.
Belgian brews have more in common with wine than most commercially produced beer. “These are the most gastronomic beers in the world,” says Littlefield. “Everything from salads and steak frites to mussels and charcuterie sausages marry well with Belgian beer.” In fact, many of Littlefield’s offerings can be cellared. In particular, the Lambickx de Troch benefits from aging, as a few years can bring out additional nuances and notes, akin to fine wine.