Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eclectic, Eccentric, & that unforgettable smile! A memorable night...

De Dolle Brouwers
"The Mad Brewers"

              Have you ever wondered what your Harry’s beer crew does on their spare time?  Besides researching and tasting amazing beers for our own pleasure. We scour the area for local breweries that rival established overseas breweries.  That exploration ensures our shelves are jam packed with the finest and tastiest beers for your delight.   

           This past Wednesday Renzo and I drove up to OEC Brewing in Oxford Connecticut.  OEC presented an intimate evening with Kris Hertleer of De Dolle Brouwers from Esen, Belgium.  Kris Hertleer is the owner and brewer of De Dolle and a highly animated man.  As with most individuals in the beer world, you have to possess a certain level of crazy and passion.  Kris has ample amounts of said qualities, and it was a complete joy to be in his presence.  A perfect example would be his passport picture.  On numerous occasions, he is stopped at the customs counter because the agent believes his passport to be a fraud or a joke.  His photo consists of an ear-to-ear grin while wearing a red bowtie with white hearts that surpasses his smile by 4 inches on both sides.  Some would say clownish, I say, pure class with a dash of merriment, as shown by the hearts. I wish I had taken a picture of it to show my readers.  While at the counter, the agent inquires about the authenticity of the passport and Kris asks why it has been mistaken to be a fraud.  After a few minutes of deliberation, Kris reaches into his carry-on bag, retrieves the same bowtie from his picture, and commences to put it on.  His signature smile is next to be put on to await the laughter and stamp of approval from the border agent.  I could not imagine pulling off the same stunt.  As I said, brewers need a small amount of crazy. 

           Kris brought six of his beers; Arabier, Oerbier, Boskeun, Export Stout, Stille Nacht 2008, and Stille Nacht 2013.  Currently at Harry’s, we carry Arabier, Oerbier, Boskeum, and Export Stout.  We will carry the seasonal winter, Stille Nacht “Silent Night” later this year.   It was a treat to try the ’08 and ’13 Stille Nacht in one setting.  Age has done wonders for the ’08 as it had an oak and maple nose, with licorice up front that finished huge in smoked oak.  It reminded a few of us as a barley wine.  The ’13 had a berry and floral nose, and a spicy taste that lead way to medium alcohol heat.  The ’08 was the winner but it was old in a good way, not past its prime, but old.  I think the ’10 would taste best right now.  

The Oerbier has great tartness and masks the 9.0% ABV.  The Oerbier label has been something   Kris let us in on another cool fact about one of De Dolle’s icons.  You can find it on this label.  It is Kris’s vision of what his yeast cells would look like.  The yeast cell is holding a brewers fork in its right hand and beer in its left.  It symbolizes the science and hard work that comes together to produce their beer.  The 1980 on its sash marks the end of the decline of breweries and the resurgence of new breweries as well Oerbiers birth. 
I have always overlooked.

Arabier was interesting as it brought out my wine side taste buds.  It tasted like pears with the slightest hint of Riesling.  A very complex beer that has some spice and earthiness. 


The next beer is the Easter release, Boskeun.  The name means “rabbit of the wood” and the label displays a   It is complex, yet light on the mouth.  There are many contrasting flavors giving it much depth.  It starts with peanut and caramel giving way to pepper and yeast. 
rabbit relaxing in the spring with a beer.

The last beer is the Special Extra Export Stout.  The nose brings dark fruit like prunes and figs with some cocoa nibs.  The taste is fruity, dark, and tart, which I like in a beer. 

                Overall, the night was filled with great beer and people.  This was my first introduction to OEC Brewery and their beers.  I was completely blown away by their creations and was more than happy to be there.  I would say they rival many overseas breweries and we are lucky to have OEC in our backyard.  I will do a follow up on OEC’s beers another day, for today it is all about De Dolle.  

- By Billy Sanchez

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