How did you get into the beer industry? Why does beer matter to you?
My interest in beer started at an early age. In Belgium you are allowed to drink beer at 16, and I did so, visiting my first brewery at age 17. I always had an interest in all aspects of beer—the history, ingredients, production, styles, etc. My knowledge is built on reading a lot about beer and on visiting hundreds of breweries around the world. I started writing about all this a few decades ago for various international magazines. Next to that, the demise/takeover of a lot of small breweries in the 1970s and 1980s incited me to get involved in consumer action groups in order to fight for diversity, fair taxation, etc., both on national and European level. Beer matters because it is the best social lubricant there is. It is affordable and has the largest taste universe of any alcoholic beverage.
Why do you judge at the World Beer Cup? What does judging at the World Beer Cup mean to you?
The World Beer Cup can be considered the Olympic Beer Games. Not only the participants but also the judges have international backgrounds, and this helps and continues to improve my knowledge of the beer world greatly, through tasting, talking and discussing.