Doug Checknita is remembered in Brussels as having worked at Cantillon in Brussels and consulted at Brasserie de la Senne. But this does not explain the wild signing and waving of signs at the stand of Blind Enthusiasm during the BXL BeerFest.
Those fellas are the Union Bhoys, fan club for the fabled Brussels-based football team Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, singing their hearts out and drinking Blind Enthusiasm’s Union Bhoys Lager.
Checknita became a fan, as I am, of this second division team famed for holding the Belgian record for most wins in a row, recorded in the 1932-33 season when it was in the first division.
It has now come up from the third division and looks poised to make a comeback to first, hence the chants and the beer, and the association with Cantillon, and now Blind Enthusiasm out of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Checknita is head brewer at Blind Enthusiasm. He trained in brewing at Olds College, worked at La Trou du Diable in Quebec, before linking up with Cantillon and Brasserie de la Senne, before joining Blind Enthusiasm, which he launched the brewery’s spontaneous brewing and barrel-aging lines.
Union Bhoys Lager was launched when Blind Enthusiasm came over to help inaugurate Royale Union Saint-Gilloise’s refurbished stadium in July 2018 during a mini beerfest.
What other football club could bring over an Edmonton brewer and have Cantillon’s fabled Jean Van Roy pouring their lambics and gueuzes next to their stand outside the stadium?
Blind Enthusiasm was founded by Greg Zeschuk, a former physician, founder of BioWare, a videogame developer, and who now calls himself a trainee brewer.
Zeschuk had come into brewing though The Beer Diaries, a YouTube channel where he interviewed professional brewers at their breweries and as a beer writer at AskMen.Com. He also ended up as the executive director of the Alberta Small Brewers Association.
He built a showpiece brewery at the Ritchie Market in Edmonton, and shortly afterward started the construction of a brewery dedicated to spontaneous, mixed and natural fermentation in wood.
BXL BeerFest 2019 images