Size: 330 ml
ABV: 7.5 %
This is an important beer for the town of Verviers as it purveys the rich history of the flourishing wool industry here. Although the beer is now brewed at the nearby Val Dieu, it was actually once brewed just outside Verviers at the Brasserie Ruwet, which now just concentrates on cider.
The strange bowler-hatted characters depicted on the label of this rare little beer are actually wool merchants; typical in the Vervietoise region of East of Belgium. The characters are based on a 3 metre high bronze statue by Louis-Pierre Wagelmans (Marchand de Ploquettes, 1999) which stands in the town of Verviers in the Place des Martyrs. These typically jolly merchants in bygone days would earn their living wandering the towns and countryside with the finest local and international wools for sale. These wool samples were cylindrically packaged in blue crepe paper ploquettes which can also be seen in the hands of the merchants on the label.
The beer represents a golden age for Verviers; an age when the town was once considered to be the Wool Capital of the World – something that perhaps only Bradford in the UK, Monchengladbach in Germany, and Roubaix in France could have equally lain claim to. In fact even now these places are twinned! The wool, or “soft gold” as it was once known locally was said to be of such a high quality due to the quality of the water from the Vesdres river which flowed through the town. Although the wool industry may have waned somewhat over the years, the town of Verviers is now more recently famous for its water. It is regarded as a Ville d’eau (water town), with the showcase being the Parcours des Fontaines (Route of the Fountains).
The beer itself was surprisingly good. I had picked it up quite some time ago in a great ramshackle beer store in Annevoie, and have never ever come across it since. It poured a hazy blonde with some floating yeast, although it soon settled nicely. It hit the palate with an impressive fruitiness with just enough spice to keep it interesting. I would say if you see this beer sitting on a dusty shelf somewhere – give it a home.