This morning certainly came early. We had dinner last night (sweetbreads, Iberian ham, and of course mussels) then a little nightcap of Rochefort 6 (thought that was prudent) before coming home to get my London blog post up. That left me with less than three hours of sleep before getting on the bus for DuPont. Today was the day we brewed the official Philly Beer Week collaboration beer.
We arrived in Tourpes and were greeted by Olivier from DuPont and Don and Wendy from Vanberg and DeWulf (the folks who made a big chunk of this trip possible). Not long after that we headed into the grain room to taste some malts. I had originally been concerned with the amount of peated malt Tom told me was to go into this beer. It was way way more than we put into our Wee Heavy or Smokin’ Blonde Ale here at Iron Hill, and for a much lighter bodied beer at that. After tasting the peated malt though, my mind was put at ease. This malt had a much more delicate character and way less phenols than the stuff we had used. It was actually malted at a small maltings just a few miles down the road from the brewery. That done, Vince and I got milled and mashed in.
I was pretty surprised with how small and hands-on DuPont was. Given the popularity of their beers in Philadelphia I just assumed they were an automated behemoth churning out barrel after barrel. As a matter of fact when they set a time for the brew to start I wondered how they could even schedule something. “Aren’t these guys brewing 24/7?” It turns out DuPont only makes about 16,000 Barrels a year, less than Yards or Flying Fish.
The brewery was pretty old world as well. Most of the brewhouse is stainless but they stuck with copper brew kettles and a direct flame boil.
The stacks lead up to an attic and are actually vented inside the building. I also quickly learned there’s probably no such thing as OSHA in Belgium. Brewers have to keep on their toes!
I’m excited to taste this beer when it finally makes it to the US. I think we’re going to have a little Farmhouse Ale themed release party in June with a couple DuPont products, a couple Iron Hill Farm House Ales, and of course the collaboration.
That’s it for now, I’m off to meet up with the crew and have a couple of well-deserved beers at the Den Duyver!