In Spring 2020, I – Liselot Caura, founder & guide – organise(d) FREE virtual tastings (Because of Corona). Together with my fans, we taste different beers while I share my knowledge about traditional and craft Belgian beers. An opportunity for you to even discover your new favourite beer!
Watch our 2 min long intro video for more details to hear why we started these virtual tastings…
Watch the tasting replay on our Facebook page here.
In this last episode, we featured another historical beer: Ename, named after an abbey now in ruins. There are no contemporary stories to tell about the abbey. But luckily, Adriaen Brouwer, another beer from the same Roman’s brewery, is still highly valued after 500 years of life and therefore has interesting stories to tell.
I just announced again the change of my brand name. Our name Belgiumbeerdays has changed to Beersecret on the 18th May 2020. Yes, we are making history, just like this brewery Roman. 😉 If you pay attention to the background wall of the tasting room, you may see some decoration changing.
For this last episode, I was joined by some of my regular followers: a beer geek from Hasselt, a Ghent-based beer guide of Ghent, clients in Brussels… all eagerly waiting for this last free live abbey tasting. Adriaen Brouwer beer seemed to be the easiest to purchase as some supermarkets sell it. Ename Pater however was harder to find.
Ename Pater contains 5% alcohol and Adriaen Brouwer 10%. If you have followed my tastings before, you will know which beer we started with. Ename Pater, of course, the beer with the lowest alcohol percentage.
Beer tasting 1: Ename Pater
A superb refreshing beer
When we pour the beer, it is obviously a blond. A significant amount of hops make this beer quite cloudy.
The smell has overall herby and malty notes, followed by a hop aroma. It is dry hopping that gives the beer these hop scents. Have you heard of dry hopping before? It’s the process where the brewer adds extra hop only after fermentation to create hop aromas. This is different from hopping, which consists in adding hop while boiling the beer to create bitterness.
We determine flavours like citrus, malt and hops. I’m a big fan of the citrus taste. It always makes beer tasting a good refreshing experience. One of my viewers was tasting Ename Blond, a beer that is more fruity than Ename Pater.
To surprise my clients for this last episode, I provided a unique food pairing with this delicious beer. A light, refreshing beer matches very well with light food like fish or asparagus. I provided maatjes (soused herring), known as a specialty of Amsterdam.The fish softens the beer. This pairing is absolutely delicious! Funnily enough, one of my followers told me he would buy maatjes the next day 🙂
This beer reminds me of another beer I once tried during a blind tasting at the Just Beer festival in Expo Kortrijk in 2018, organised by the well-known biersommelier Sofie Vanrafelghem. The blind tasting was on the programme and organised in collaboration with Beerwulf, de befaamde webshop from the Netherlands.
Beerwulf poured three beers in advance, so the customer would not know which beer was in which glass: the non-alcoholic beer Sportzot, the low-alcohol beer Vedett 2.7% and Valeir Extra 6.5%. I luckily managed to recognize each beer I tasted. My favourite was Valeir Extra, a fantastic refreshing beer where herbs and hops dominate just like in Ename Pater.
Sportzot is also highly appreciated as it tastes as good as beers that do contain alcohol.
A family brewery with more than 500 years history
As mentioned before, ruins are the only thing left of the Ename abbey. Unfortunately that explains also why we don’t have much information about the abbey’s history.
The abbey was built in 1063 in Oudenaarde, a city about 25K south from Ghent. The abbey chose to follow the Benedictus order. Nothing much really happened in that area, until brewery Roman established their business in 1545. Roman was known as a maltery, a hostel, a dairy business and only later as a brewery. Hospitality was the most important thing at that time. Their beers were limited to sour tastes. If you are not familiar with sour beers, have a look at our previous tasting where we explain why sour tastes cannot be avoided. Again, not much happened until the French revolution broke out. The abbey got completely destroyed. Unfortunately, the survivors of the Benedictus society didn’t find any way to re-establish it.
Brewery Roman kept running their business and beer became more and more important. People could only enjoy sour beers before the 19th century. After the invention of lagers in the mid-19th century in Czech Republic, Belgium also started to experiment with the production of lagers and the first Belgian lagers were launched after World War I. Roman jumped on the cart: they launched Roman Pils, their first non-sour beer, in the late 40’s.
Not much later after lagers found their way into the beer business, ales sprang up like mushrooms. Surfing the ale wave, the brewery launched Sloeber in 1983. In 1990, they started with the portfolio of Ename: Ename Dubbel & Ename Triple were the firstborn, followed by the Blond and the Pater version. Adriaen Brouwer started to achieve success too, but more about that later.
Roman brewery introduced Ename Pater as a beer “suitdrinkable for monks”, in reference to beers that were created specifically for them such as Orval Green. . It would not make sense for monks to drink high alcoholic beer on a daily basis. They rather enjoy a low-alcoholic beer of 5 to 6%.
Let me remind you that brewery Roman is the oldest Belgian family brewer! Can you guess for how many generations until now? It’s crazy to say so, but I counted 14 generations already with Lode and Carlo running the business today.
Beer tasting 2: Adriaen Brouwer Oaked Aged
A brown beer completed with sherry and whiskey
Time for a strong beer. Adriaen Brouwer’s colour reminded me of Keizer Karel: another reddish-brown with a nice beige foam. Clearly the beer did not receive any colour additives. The beer obtained the EU-bio label as it is produced only with organic ingredients. Adriaen Brouwer Triple is also a a dedicated organic beer.
Even for the aromas, there are similarities with Keizer Karel as we smell caramel and wooden notes. But here, the beer is matured with sherry and whisky wood, giving some distinct wooden flavours.
The wooden character can be found when tasting as well. Caramel and dried fruit complete this Adriaen Brouwer Oaked Age. We can call this a full-bodied high-alcoholic sweet dark beer.
A dark beer named after a rebellious painter
Adriaen Brouwer is named after the 17th century artist. Born in Oudenaarde in 1603, hHis father worked as a tapestry designer, in the decade when tapestry was the most important industry in Flanders. Adriaen clearly inherited the talent of his father as he also started to paint from a young age. When his father died, he left his son in poverty. Adriaen escaped to Antwerp. The city gave the artist more opportunities to boost his art career. Over the years, he moved from Antwerp to Amsterdam, and then back to Antwerp. Some of his paintings became famous, even though they represent low-life subjects. People smoking, fighting and drinking in a bar were typical scenes of his paintings.
Famous painters Rembrandt & Rubens collected paintings of him, testifying of the quality of Adriaen’s work.
When they launched the beer, Roman used the portrait of a brave and noble man. Because he built up a rebellious and not so well-behaved image, brewery Roman later decided to change the picture to better fit Adriaen Brouwer’s character.
Did you know that brewery Roman also launched a non-alcoholic beer in the summer of 2019? As all Belgian breweries have been launching a beer without alcohol and, Roman also followed the trend. Ramon, only 0.3% alcohol, has a good distribution in Belgium. You can find it easily in every Belgian supermarket. I was sad to hear no watchers were able to get that beer ahead of the tasting.Unless I announced this tasting too on my social media. One client mentioned Kwaremont 0.3% which I have not tasted yet. I always discover new things thanks to my followers.
I like to highlight the big value of the Adriaen Brouwer in the region of Oudenaarde. The two bio beers were only launched in 2018. But the traditional Adriaen Brouwer, also called AB’tje, has roots since the late Middle Ages.
AB was brewed in the open air as contact with bacteria results in a sour beer. If you read my previous blog posts, you know that back in the days people could only drink sour beers. Despite the rise of ale and lager since the 50’s, this beer always maintained its popularity. Until today, the locals order this traditional, brown-acid ab’tje on a daily basis.
To end this blog post, I would like to share a beer secret with you. Did you know that the river Schelde had a huge importance in the history of Belgium and Belgian beer? It has something to do with Liefmans, only a few kilometers away from Roman, which is located just a few meters east from the Schelde river.
In the late Middle ages, the Schelde river divided the French controlling and the German controlling. On the west sour beers were created with no extra flavours. The east side brewed sweeter beers by adding much more hops and malts than the west side.The Schelde passed (and still) right in the middle of the city of Liefmans. Back then, Liefmans had its brewery on the West side of the Schelde which makes sense since they are known for their sour beers. But today, the brewery is located on the East side. Yet, the brewery did not move. Crazy, isn’t it? It is actually the Schelde that moved: it was cut off from its eastern branch by a dyke in the 19th century.
As this was my last free online tasting, I thanked all my regular viewers for their participation to my abbey beer tastings. It’s amazing how many compliments I received before everyone left the tasting room.
No more free tastings as we all hope this Covid-19 crisis will be soon over so I can offer my beer tours again.
Want to hear more of these beer secrets? Then do not hesitate to book one of our beer tours. Sharing our beer knowledge is what we are passionate about.
Read another episode about our online beer tastings
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