If you haven’t been following along, Nate Hadley and myself have been traveling through Belgium tasting beer, sight seeing and learning all about the culture! This is day four and five of our journey.
We spent day four with the Van Ecke brewery, makers of Poperings Hommel, among others. Our first stop was a hop farm in the town of Poperinge. This was by far my favorite stop of the trip to this point. It was a small, family farm called ‘t Hoppecruyt. We toured the fields, which were just past the initial sprouting phase and the vines were starting to climb.
This farm grows Kent Goldings, Challenger, Magnum, and Saphir which are all supplied to local breweries and even a local distiller who makes a Challenger fresh hop gin that is just fantastic. Our tour guide even entertained us with Flemish drinking songs at the end of the tour while we enjoyed a fresh Hommel bier. Hommel is one of my favorite Belgian ales, but can be misleading in the states. While very hoppy for a Belgian, it is fairly mild by our standards here, but is incredibly well balanced and complex. Van Ecke finally switched this beer out of a green bottle and into a brown bottle which we should see rolling into the stores shortly.
We spent day five at the Silly brewery near the town of Ath. This was the most rural and removed brewery we visited and once again another family that has been making beer for generations and is currently run by the 5th and 6th generations.
The site of the brewery was once a farm that made saisons for the workers during the winter and still makes beer in some of those same buildings. Silly Saison and Scotch Silly are fantastic beers, but what really got us excited was the new Silly Sour. This is a blend of 70% old, soured Saison and 30% fresh Saison. The beer was darker than i expected, and didnt have much of a nose, but holy sour! this beer rocks. These bottles should ship to the US within a couple of weeks, so look for these at your local Binny’s soon.