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|Belgian Babble - New Gueuze Blendery in Wallonia|
|Written by Chuck Cook|
|Saturday, 21 August 2010 17:00|
I visited Belgium for the 21st time in late May and early June. While there I went to Gueuzerie Tilquin, a brand new lambic blendery located in Wallonia, in Rebecq-Bierghes. Pierre Tilquin, who worked at both Cantillon and 3 Fonteinen for six months each, is the blender.
“We have 222 oak barrels from French wineries, all in the 400 liter size,” Pierre told during my visit.
“We won’t sell our first bottles of Oude Gueuze, which will be in 37.5 cl and 75 cl size, until May or June 2011,” he added. Pierre has backing from several individuals, including Gregory Verhelst of La Rulles. While the blendery is in Wallonia, Flanders is just a couple of hundred yards away. It is only 15 minutes away from Lembeek, where Brouwerij Boon is located.
Brasserie de la Senne is under construction in Brussels, just a mile and half or so from Cantillon. “We hope to be brewing here by September,” Yvan de Baets, one of the two brewing partners, told me on my June 6 visit.
De La Senne has been brewing at De Ranke in Dottignies, Hainaut province, for several years. “My partner, Bernard Leboucq, and I have been looking for a suitable spot in Brussels for a long time, and finally found this space last year. Our copper kettles come from a French brewery that needed to increase capacity. We plan to have a barrel-aging room for special beers, a tasting room, and lots of capacity for fermenting beers.”
Oak-aged beers? Yep, you heard right. The duo that have brought us Zinnebir, Taras Boulba, Stouterik, Crianza and others will be offering more and more interesting beers over time. See: brasseriedelasenne.be.
Global Beer Imports, which was founded in 1994 by Belgian ex-pats Johnny and Claudine Fincioen, has a couple of new partners. Steve Villani and Cliff Lusso joined the team in the last couple of years, and have an office and warehouse in Massachusetts. “Johnny is still actively involved with our operations on a weekly basis, and we still have an office and warehouse in California,” Villani told me in mid-July.
“Our best selling beer is Wittekerke Witbier from Bavik,” he continued. “Though our biggest selling brewery is Van Steenberge, with beers like Piraat and Gulden Draak,” he added.
Have I ever mentioned that I like sour beers? Bavik’s Petrus Aged Pale ale is a fine one. “We sold three containers of draft aged pale in a month this spring. It’s doing very well,” Villani remarked. “Our newest import is Troubador Magma, a Belgian Triple IPA from Three Musketeers. It’s 9.3%, and well-balanced,” Villani told me.
I tasted this brew recently at Max’s Taphouse, and was very impressed. No surprise, as it’s brewed at De Proefbrouwerij! See globalbeer.com for more info.
Brasserie Dupont has a new stainless steel brewhouse, extra capacity, and new beers. “We installed the Italian-built brewhouse in 2008,” director and brewmaster Olivier Dedeycker told me during my visit on June 2. “However, we still boil in the old copper kettles, which are direct-fired,” he added.
“We had to change, as the old mash tun, which was constructed before 1844, was giving some problems, and becoming more difficult to use. However, we are going to keep it as a museum piece, as it’s an important part of the history of this brewery,” Olivier remarked. Dupont produced 13,000 hl in 2009, up from 10,000 in 2004.
Other good news is that Dupont also has added extra fermentation capacity, which has allowed for some beery experimentation. “We brewed a limited, dry-hopped version of Saison Dupont this year, which was released for sale this spring,” Oliver told me, smiling. “It was draft only, and very well received.” I can safely say that is an understatement, as I tasted the beer at both the brewery and at Nuetnigenough (meaning “never ever enough”), a great bar/restaurant in Brussels. Yum! Nuetnigenough has fine, tasty meals at reasonable prices, and also has Dupont’s excellent Redor Pils and Blanche du Hainaut Biologique, the brewery’s refreshing witbier, on tap. See: nuetnigenough.be.
Look for more experimental beers from Dupont in the future. See brasserie-dupont.com.