Tag Archives: artisanal

#183 – ‘T Smisje Tripel

#183 - 'T Smisje Tripel

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 9 %

The brewery Smisje has been around since 1995, but began life as the Brouwerij De Regenboog. In fact it was known under this name right up until 2008 when the owner Johan Brandt moved his premises to Oudenaarde.

Brandt was born in 1963, and had trained in the graphics world for most of his tender years. He married Christine de Schepper in 1998 and soon had two sons called Stijn and Joris. The couple set up their own printing business which was fairly successful, and everything in the Brandt garden was rosy – yet the call of beer would eventually become too much. Johan was already brewing beer as a hobby, and thus the kit that was beginning to take over his home was the start of something special. Eventually, the beer did take over his life and he gradually reduced his work in printing, although continuing to use the name of his existing business, De Regenboog, which translates as ‘The Rainbow’.

The first beer produced at De Regenboog was simply known as ‘T Smisje, and was largely experimental in its nature. Brandt was also a bee-keeper and thus plenty of honey was used in this brew. The name ’T Smisje means ‘little blacksmith’, the connotation coming from a local blacksmith’s forge which was adjacent to the location of the Brandt house in Assebroek, a suburb of Bruges. This name was apt in that it in many ways sums up the hand-crafted artisanal nature of this first beer – although to be honest little has changed since. The range of beers from De Regenboog over the years have used a myriad of natural fruits, herbs and spices.

I had heard a fair bit about the beers from De Regenboog, and so when I saw a couple of bottles from the range in The Rake pub in Borough Market, there was never going to be any other choice. I started with the ‘T Smisje Tripel which was absolutely delicious, and bombarded me with the heady sweetness of vanilla and banana, coupled with the seriousness of a Westmalle Tripel (#149). The company was excellent also, bumping into inadvertently another beer blogger by the name of Impy Malting who is considerably further ahead in her writing than my good self. Anybody who travels half way across London to seek out beers of fancy is worth a read in my book.

 

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Filed under 8, Abbey Tripel, Dog, Smisje

#32 – Boerinneken

#32 - Boerinneken

Size: 330 ml

ABV: 9.5 %

Boerinneken is brewed by de Proef brewery for the Den Ouden Advocaat cooperative, who own the actual recipe for this and its brother beer, Boerken. Danny Pieters, the director at Den Ouden Advocaat since its inception in 1995, explained that the ethos behind the company is the link to the past. Their range of artisanal products such as advocaat (egg-nog type liquer), pralines and honey bring to the customer tastes of vintage Belgium. The beers are produced in a swing-top bottle, again to echo the sentiments that this is how it would have been done in the good old days.

The concept of ‘in the past’ sits very much in the titling and labelling of the beer. Boerinneken in Flemish, means ‘the farmers wife’, and the print on the label-less bottle clearly shows an old lady at work on the farm. Similarly the brother beer, Boerken, shows a ‘farmer’ on the label. Pieters was keen to stress that the tradition of farmers in Belgium is a distant one these days, and the co-operative is proud to continue to produce beers and produce that truly reflect the past. The beers also reflect well the relationship between Danny and his wife Marianne who both run the project together.

The Boerinneken is a hoppy blonde with plenty of punch although much less than the Bon Secours Brune (#28) from the swing-top. The head was an immense froth, with a fine smelling cloudy amber nectar underneath. The flavour had real bite which stayed until the final swig. It’s hard to put your finger on the exact flavour but certainly some citrus there somewhere. I’d have the farmers wife round for dinner again.

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Filed under 8, Abbey Tripel, de Proef