Are you curious how I ended up working with Dany of brewery Slaapmutske? Well, that’s easy to explain: in October 2020, I launched our online brewery tour in a box. And I knew that Dany has a great – gluten-free! – Christmas beer. So, I was easily convinced that he was the right pick for our beer box.
Beer tours amidst Corona
The idea was to visit the brewery and to record the guided tour to put his kettle in the video. But then, Corona had other plans. The government put up a handful of restrictions and I had to postpone my visit. You see, Slaapmutske beers are brewed in De Proefbrouwerij, which is a pretty big company that did not allow visitors during Covid-times for safety. So, I needed to look for another brewery to show around in my online tour.
But I knew I had to collaborate with Slaapmutske – since they are friendly and passionate brewers. And that is why I included them among my six tasters. Dany’s Tripel is another well-balanced beer that is the perfect addition to the other beers of our new box.
Slaapmutske: passion project turned into beer
Beers taste better whenever there’s a good story attached to it. So grab your beer, relax and listen.
Dany started brewing as a teenager in his parents’ kitchen. Later onwards, he studied as a brewing engineer in Ghent. In the early 90s, Dany worked at Brewery Huyghe as a nutrition inspector – where he worked for 4 years.
He always dreamt of launching his beer – and luckily for him, he always had the support of his wife. In 1999, his dream came true. And that happened when in 1999, Dany’s wife gave birth to their son Jonas. Not the cliché of baptismal sugars, but a heavy brown beer of 9% was their baby gift. Friends and family were asking if he could brew some more. Their desire for more beer convinced Dany to finally start his very-own brewery.
But where does the name come from?
He brewed his first – brown – beer during the winter, so to give his beer baby a name, he simply called it “winter beer”.
But a beer needs a name.
One day, he was brainstorming names with his wife in a car, while his son Jonas fell asleep. You should know that in order to give the boy a goodnight’s sleep, he dips his pacifier in his beer. (Don’t worry, not every brewer does that :p). And since his beer gave his boy a goodnight’s sleep, Dany came up with the name “sleepyhead” – Slaapmutske in Dutch.
Mixing secret ingredients
You can’t start to commercialize a beer without having your brewery – or external brewery. So, Dany shared his recipe with an external partner – Proefbrouwerij – in Melle. A short drive from his place.
A few months after the release of “Slaapmutske Winterbier”, he created his summer beer; But limiting the beer names to the season didn’t seem to be the best plan, so this summer edition became his first Blond. The big secret of this beer? Cascade hops.
Together with Orval beer, they were pioneering breweries using dry-hopping. Dany at Slaapmutske, together with Proefbrouwerij, was the very first experimenting with American Cascade hops for this process.
Dry-hopping is a process where hops are added during the last step of the brewing process to create a hoppy aroma. Most American hops give the beer a fruity flavor. Seems that Proefbrouwerij was also one of the first breweries doing dry hopping.
A little word about the proefbrouwerij
The Proefbrouwerij was founded in 1996, initially to brew Reinaert beers. But very soon, they focused on co-creating beers with third parties to create new and unique beers. Now, they solely co-create beers – and they discontinued their own brands.
Today, they have a brewery of + 10,000 m2 with 100+ fermentation tanks – to create all kinds of beer. Thanks to the Proefbrouwerij, Dany can create all kinds of beer: classic blonde, brown, tripels, and even gluten-free beers.
Part of Belgian heritage
Before I go, I need to discuss the creation of their tripel in 2002. Being a Belgian brewer it is – almost – obligatory to create a Tripel (even though some breweries in Brussels might argue the opposite – looking at you Brussels Beer Project), as it’s one of the three beer styles that Belgium is famous for.
Do you like this Tripel beer? Then, try a St Feuillien Tripel, it provides a similar tasting experience.
If you’re not familiar yet with the three different Belgian beer styles, we would be more than happy to host you during one of our beer tours en brewery tours. Or what about a more challenging afternoon where you can join a beer quiz on a boat in the middle of Ghent’s historical canal? Liselot is eager to share with you the beauty of our fascinating beer world.
Depending on when you read this blog post, the bars may still be closed due to Covid-19.
Or do you want to enjoy this nice Tripel during our online brewery tours (enjoying this Tripel might be one of the courses!). See you soon.
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Founder & Guide BeerSecret