By Matthew DiTullo
It’s hard to imagine that American beer drinkers have been enjoying artisanal, craft brew for just the last three to four decades. During the second half of the 20th Century, the adventurous palates of homebrewers carved a market for rarer imports. In 2011 we’re now celebrating 30 years of business for Vanberg & DeWulf, a Cooperstown, NY based importer that was founded at the start of the ongoing beer renaissance.
Over the past three decades Vanberg & DeWulf has been bringing beers across the pond from breweries with centuries of brewing tradition. And along with Portland Beer & Music contributor, Jim Bonomo, and Kyle Krause of the soon to launch Twisted Snifter, we tasted some exciting bottles offered in the V & B portfolio.
Foret Blanche Brasserie Dupont was founded in 1844 and still operates as a working farm producing fine cheeses and beer. Foret Blanche is a 5.5% Belgian Wheat that takes the cake for the style. Poured into a chalice-like glass, Foret Blanche appeared hazy with a pale golden hue. A thick, pillowy white head floated on the surface of the liquid with solid retention. Extremely dry, this Belgian Wheat is perfect for hot weather, but we were still enjoying it going into these cooler months. Strong vanilla and wheat characters embraced a nice sweetness that’s balanced by citrus and fruity esters. The finish dried out even more with an added complexity as the yeast generated a refreshing tartness.
Biere De Miel Another from Brasserie Dupont. With “miel” being the French word for honey, there was certainly no compromise in honey sweetness in this beer. The nose of this burnt orange pour contained a pleasant floral hop tone that meshed with honey characters. Noticeable fermented honey and grains were dominant as a mild hop bitterness did it’s best to balance. Overall quite dry which managed the high amount of sweetness.
Posca Rustica Our third beer from Dupont was this exotic gruit which has just been released in the US. Bottled under the name “Cervaesia” in Belgian, Posca Rustica is spiced with woodruff and bog myrtle. Unfortunately the yeast character and highly carbonated body stole the show. The herbal tones were distant on the palate.
Hop Ruiter (Hop Rider) This immensely hopped and generously dry hopped Belgian Tripel brewed by Scheldebrouwerij contains three hop varieties (none from America). Instead of the resinous and pine-like hops we’re used to, here we were treated with hints of “honey drenched biscuits” that were balanced by copious amounts of oak and a strong citrus hop bitterness. With a full body and a decent carbonation, noticeable alcohol burn crept in offering a satisfyingly complex beer.
Scaldis Peche Mel Brasserie Dubuisson, A brewery that’s approaching 250 years of continues brewing, offers this unique fruit beer that was inspired by students as they were blending peach Lambic with Scaldis. Rather than the 12% beast that is usually created under the Scaldis brand, Brasserie Dubuisson brews a lighter version with the addition of peach juice. Surprisingly this isn’t cloyingly sweet as might be expected. Instead the sugary peach flavors harmoniously work with the pronounced yeast tones. It was completely refreshing and thirst quenching.
On November 15 (King’s Day in Belgium) we invite you to join others across the nation as we celebrate Vanberg & DeWulf’s 30th birthday. On Tuesday, November 15th The BeerMongers are throwing their own version of the Vanberg & DeWulf Coast to Coast Toast™ where they will be tapping beers from Dupont and Dubuisson (Scaldis), as well as sampling bottles not usually available in Portland such as Lambickx and Witkap Stimulo. We hope you will stop in to raise a chalice to Vanberg & DeWulf with any of the select beers from their portfolio that will be available. In addition to The BeerMongers, other iconic Belgian-tinged bars, restaurants and stores from New York to Little Rock, Chicago to San Francisco, and Miami to Anchorage will be celebrating along with us.
For further information contact The BeerMongers at (503) 234-6012 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Beers start pouring at 5pm.