Grégoire Rifaut at Dynamo – Bar de Soif in Brussels and the Beer Idiots tasted six barleywines in an online live session on 1 April. These are collaborations put together by Jef Pirens of D’Oude Maalderij with Brasserie Minne, Brouwerij ‘t Verzet, ‘t Hofbrouwerijke, Brouwerij Alvinne, Totem and Atrium under a project he calls ‘Mash of the Titans’.
We are going to be April Fools after trying out this six pack, which were released on April 1. The idea for the collaboration with the six other craft brewers came to him as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. He said he was feeling depressed and felt he lacked some creativity. Then an idea came to him.
“I though, as a brewer I am often too busy to do collaborations as I don’t have time on my hands,” he said. “Now I have time, why don’t I do more collaborations?”
With the borders closed he turned to his brewing friends in Belgium with the idea for doing a unique six pack each with a different brewer. They convinced him that they wanted to do barley wines, since that had previously commended him for his expertise in producing this style of beer.
Each brewer produced a different recipe for their collab barleywine and after Pirens collected all the ingredients, each visited him between December and January to brew 10h each. The release on 1 April represents half of the output with the other half going into barrels at each of the brewers, which they will release in 6 to 18 months.
The recipes produced by each of the brewers described:
- Brasserie Minne: brownish barleywine at 20.5° Plato.
- Brouwerij ‘t Verzet: rye barleywine with 4 kg Sorachi Ace hops in the whirlpool.
- ‘t Hofbrouwerijke: barleywine with spelt, peated malt and double yeast fermented down to 0°Plato
- Brouwerij Alvinne: barleywine at 22.8°Plato with fig leaves and Palo Santo wood.
- Totem: barleywine at 21°Plato with golden naked oats and Kveik yeast.
- Atrium: brewed at 22.7°Plato with Tonka beans
Pirens lists three important goals of the collabs: “The first was to have fun and learn from each other. The second was to gain some money. We are all small brewers. And the most important was showing the world that we are still and around and doing something.”
He adds: “I am inspired by the American craft spirit of collaborations. We are not competing as small brewers. We are all colleagues. The main thing is to help each other out and learn from each other. No commercial brewer is doing this. That is no problem. Let us do this and promote ourselves. I also hope to bring a small amount of joy to a lot of enthusiasts and make them not forget us.”
The barleywine style is known as a high percentage alcohol beer tempered by complexity. Check out the articles and video interviews the Beer Idiots have done in the past with the featured brewers.
Beer Idiots’ interviews with the brewers
- D’Oude Maalderij: Keeping it small and personal
- Brasserie Minne: Wild in Baillonville
- Brouwerij ‘t Verzet: The resistance brews at t’Verzet
- Brouwerij Alvinne: in sour we trust
- Totem: craft spirit
- Atrium: The Brazilian factor