Thursday, September 11, 2008

De Struise Brouwers

Urbain Cotteau, pouring a Tsjeeses at the bar at "The Noordhoek" resort

With all the attention De Struise Brouwers-The Sturdy Brewers-have been getting lately, I thought I'd share my photos as well as an article I wrote last year.
I visited the "resort" where Urbain et al raise Ostriches, and also brainstorm their next great brews, on Feb. 27, 2007. My friends Danny Van Tricht, Jan and I had paid a visit to Brouwerij St-Bernardus in Watou in the late afternoon and early evening, and it was 8 pm/20.00 before we got started. It was a very dark night, and the back roads in West Flanders are not very well lit. Actually, that's a vast understatement on my part!

Danny, acting as "Bob", aka the driver, told me that we would have never found the place without his trusty GPS. Find it we did, though, and we were in for a fine evening of Belgian hospitality.

With Urbain as our host, we tasted all the De Struise beers that were on hand, inside the cozy main room.
"The resort" as the Sturdy Brewers refer to the "Noordhoek" guesthouse, is actually a place that can be rented to groups of up to 25 people. The "Noordhoek" is very popular in summer and on weekends, as a place where groups can have a place to have a reunion, post-wedding celebration, or other celebrations.

As we visited in the middle of winter, there was a roaring fire to ward off the cold, as we talked about all the Struise beers and also the Ostrich farm. Fresh-baked bread and delectible pates made with beers like St-Bernardus and Duvel were spread around and savored. We sampled and compared Pannepot and Pannepeut. The Aardmonnik/Earthmonk was incredibly good. There were other beers too.....a great evening. The next day was a fine one as well, as Danny and I visited Brouwerij Westvleteren in the morning, and then visited with Carlo, Peter and Urbain at Deca, where we sampled more of the De Struise beers, right at the source.

Fast forward to Sept. 2008: I have not even sampled the Black Albert as yet, however I know it must be a good one. Maybe next trip to Belgium I might find some....

Here's my Celebrator article on De Struise and St. Bernardus:

St. Bernardus and De Struise

photos: De Struise Brouwers

(Photo: Urbain Cotteau, enjoying the good life.)

Carlo, with a sample of Struiselensis, right from the open copper fermenter.