Video: Stéphane Renard, owner/brewer of Nectar Bohème, left Pottes, Belgium to work at a variety of jobs far from his family’s farm. Now he has returned and has found his calling by brewing beer.
Stéphane Renard, owner/brewer of microbrewery Nectar Bohème, left the family farm in Pottes, Belgium to travel the world for almost six years.
Along the way he spent two years in Australia, where he worked eight months at a vineyard and then went on to make didgeridoos. He was also in India helping to fix water pumps and in Canada as a cameraman filming whales.
Arriving back at home in Pottes he decided he needed another challenge, so he took courses that included cheesemaking, ceramics and whisky. It was when he took courses in brewing that he found his ‘Aha!’ moment – his calling.
“With beer you can explain many different things with the colour acid, bitterness, sweetness,” Renard said.
With his father retired, Renard opened his brewery in a 600 sq metre shed on the farm, about 85 km west of Brussels, at the end of summer in 2015 with production starting in the spring of 2018. That have an annual production of 320 hl or about 8 hl weekly. He buys local, from within a 50 km radius of the brewery.
Beer as an “expression”
Beer making became his expression through Nectar Bohème’s two ranges of beer. The first is his interpretation of Belgium’s seasons. For example, through à la Belle Saison he seeks to express the flavours of spring, floral and green. The Douceur Paysanne expresses the summer time with the harvest, fruit, honey and cereals.
Through the second range of beers he tries to express the various countries he has wandered to during his time away. The Mémoire des Clans tells the story of Scotland, he said. The amber colour and the whisky malt provides two versions – over-peated and a more balanced version.
Meanwhile, the Rose des Vents marks the beginnings of his travels and he calls this a classic Belgium beer with not much bitterness.
“It is an authentic beer from Belgium,” he said.