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Belgium: According to comments on the Web, the Zythos Beer Festival in Sint Niklaas this weekend is a must for Belgian beer drinkers. Two hundred beers from 60 breweries will be featured at the event organized by the country’s top beer-consumer organization. After participants pay 3 euros for a glass, they can purchase 15-centiliter samples of different beers for 1 euro each, regardless of the beer’s strength. This means you can try Girardin’s Jonge lambic at 1.5-percent alcohol by volume for the same price as Malheur’s Dark Brut, at 12 percent. In addition to the beer, there are food stalls and beer merchandise stands. Admission is free. The festival Web site is www.zbf.be (in Flemish, with some information in English). The Sint Niklaas Web site is www.sint-niklaas.be; there is an English version.

Germany: In the 17th century, Munich’s Paulaner monks probably did not realize that, by making a stronger beer to sustain themselves during their Lent fasting, they would be starting an annual event. The Doppelbock beer that Paulaner’s brewers produce starts at 7.5 percent alcohol — hence the name Starkbier (strong beer) — and the tradition is known as the Strong Beer Season. Munich’s Löwenbräu Kellar (www.loewenbraeukeller.com) is the first to roll out its strong beer, tapping the first keg of its specially brewed Triumphator beer on Thursday and continuing to serve through March 29. The Paulaner Wirtshaus on the Nockherberg in Munich (www.nockherberg.com) officially joins the party with its Salvator stout on March 12, and continues its celebration until March 27. If you can’t get into one of these venues, other breweries have joined in the tradition with their own strong beers. Details in English at www.muenchen.de/Rathaus/tourist_office/veranst/148471/Starkbierzeit.html.

In spite of the harsh weather, spring must be around the corner if Germany’s Easter egg market season is opening up. This weekend, the first of these colorful gatherings takes place in the Landschaftsmuseum in the Seligenstadt monastery between Frankfurt and Hanau. According to the organizers, 56 exhibitors will be showing collectors’ eggs, small eggs, large ostrich eggs, egg-shaped precious stones, glass-beaded eggs and more. The market opens at noon Saturday and at 10 a.m. Sunday, with last admissions at 5:30 p.m. Admission is 3 euros for adults, free for children 14 and younger. If you miss this round, another market is scheduled for March 7 and 8, and it will add 55 more egg artists to the program.


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