What started out as an idea, I guess all projects start out that way, took it's first concrete step on Monday March, 30th in Lo, Belgium where we brewed our collaboration brew with De Struise Brouwers. What will be a dark strong Belgian beer with aggressive hopping found it's beginnings on a chilly spring afternoon at the De Struise farmhouse brewery. Sean Paxton, the Home Brew Chef, was the match maker between the two breweries and was the third axle in designing this extraordinary brew.
Belgium has been the hot bed of inspiration and activity for the American Craft Beer movement where ideas and beer have moved back and forth over the Atlantic. Many American craft breweries have had great success with brewing Belgian-style beers and the American craft beer drinker has benefited from this synergy between the two countries. De Struise Brouwer has seen a lot of attention in the US with their brand of strong Belgian beers with aggressive American hops. At the helm of De Struise is Urbain Cotteau a modern day renaissance man having held title to various occupations as photographer, civil transportation engineer, ostrich wrangler and now brewmaster to one of the most unique Belgian breweries. Not shy about anything including, the idea of collaborating on brewing projects, he dove feet first into this brew with the 21A.
The trip was extraordinary where Nico and I were able to visit some of our favorite Belgian breweries and allowed us an opportunity to get in touch with what inspired us open the 21st Amendment nine years ago. We visited Cantilion, the famed gueuze brewery, De Dolle in West Flanders where we had a private tasting of rare beers with Chis the owner and brewer. We also drank Rodenbach in the town where it is brewed in, Roselare. Tasted many extraordniary beers at 't Brugs Beertje, the "Little Bear" in Bruges and the Hop Duvyl in Gent. An amazing trip. Here are some photos of the infamous brew day at De Struise. Stay tuned.