Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Van Twee: the De Proefbrouwerij/Bell's collaboration beer

Photo: Dirk Naudts of De Proefbrouwerij, with a glass of Van Twee

On the 27th of April, I visited De Proefbrouwerij in Lochristi, East Flanders. I interviewed Brewmaster/Owner Dirk Naudts for several hours, as we toured his state of the art brewery.

Photo: the main brewhouse at De Proefbrouwerij

While there, Dirk suggested that we taste his latest collaboration beer, called Van Twee (meaning “From Two” in Flemish.)

“John Mallet of Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan and we here at De Proefbrouwerij brewed this beer when he visited in early March, 2009” Dirk told me as we sipped the dark, rich brew. “It’s kind a Porter, but also sort of a Belgian Dubbel as well” Dirk explained. “We added fresh cherry juice pressed from sour Michigan cherries. This gives a dark, fruity character to the beer. Also, the bottling conditioning sugar comes from Michigan sugar beets” Dirk remarked.

“We added Brettanomyces yeasts in the primary fermentation” he mentioned. “The end result: I think Van Twee is a very interesting beer, and it was a very interesting collaboration with Bell’s.”

As we savored the Van Twee, which, at 7.5% abv, is remarkably easy to drink, my friend Carl Kins of Kortrijk said: “It’s like Irish coffee. There are three layers!”

I found the beer very much like a Dubbel/Porter combination, with a relatively medium bodied Dubbel-like mouthfeel, and pleasing funky character. I look forward to getting a bottle and seeing how it has developed over the six months since I tasted it at the brewery.

Photo: Dirk Naudts of De Proefbrouwerij pouring a glass of Van Twee

Van Twee is the third beer in the SBS Imports “Brewmaster’s Collaboration” series, following Signature Ale and Les Deux Brasseurs.

"Each year it is my pleasure to invite a noted American brewer to participate in the Collaboration Series,” noted SBS Founder Alan Shapiro. "I am thrilled with the beer that John & Dirk have designed and believe specialty beer enthusiasts will find it a unique and rewarding experience."

90 hectoliters (about 77 U.S. barrels) of Van Twee were produced, with 80 hl being filled into 75 cl corked bottles, and 10 hl being filled into kegs.

Get it while you can!

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