De Dolle: the art & science of brewing
27 June 2017, By Jonny Garrett
De Dolle are hands down one of our favourite breweries in the world. Found in a centuries-old farmhouse in Western Belgium, using copper equipment from the early 20th century and a mixed culture yeast over, head brewer Kris Herteleer makes some of the most exciting but simple beers in Belgium. He is proof that the old ways and means still have potency in a world dominated by labs and chrome tanks. When you ask him what strains are in his yeast he shrugs and when you ask why he uses copper he can't put his finger on it. He seems to guide his beer more than brew it – letting nature take its course like a winding river. All he has to do is ensure it reaches the sea.
It's less risky than it sounds. De Dolle beers are always delicious and remarkably consistent. Arabier, a strong blonde, is always bursting with brioche sweetness, banana fruitiness and a rasping bitter dryness that catches you off-guard every time. Oerbier is a bizarre and brilliant sour brown ale, even better after a few years in red wine barrels. Then there is a world-famous Stille Nacht, widely regarded as the best Christmas beer ever made, with its notes of spice, honey, apple and banana making for a warming beer that is far too drinkable for 12%.
For more information on the beers and a virtual tour of the fascinating brewery, check out this video from the Craft Beer Channel.