Brasserie de Jandrain-Jandrenouille - V Cense
Serving Temperature:45-50° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip or Oversized Wine Glass
Belgium’s beer scene is steeped in tradition, and part of that tradition is brewing to the brewers’ preferences. Less a matter of stylistic adherence—which is the doctrine of the British and the Germans—the Belgians brew what they like (and happen to have excellent taste, in our humble opinions). Still, there is a general “Belgian-ness” that many traditional brewers feel ought to be adhered to among their nation’s beers. It seems that adding “too many” hops is something that is a bit disruptive to that stamp. But there has been a modern emergence of Belgian brewers who wish to take things further into the unknown, branching out into hoppy experimentation, much to the delight of beer geeks who follow such brewers in cult-like fashion. Or to those like-minded folks who start breweries themselves, like Alexandre Dumont de Chassart and Stéphane Meulemans did when they opened Brasserie de Jandrain-Jandrenouille. Only open since 2008, this young farmhouse brewery is creating quite a buzz (literally and figuratively) among the beer cognoscenti, and that’s just with their first two beers, IV Saison and V Cense. Unusual in their brewing process is the fact that they do not use Belgian Candi sugars to derive their beers’ vast complexity. In their first beer, only four ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast were used, which makes them relative outliers in the Belgian beer landscape (and they almost covertly highlight this in the name ‘IV’ Saison). Only four ingredients? How positively German!
But not really German at all… their 2nd beer, V Cense, has five ingredients (they’ve added a “proprietary spice”). Another unusual move is their use of imported American hops for dry hopping the beer, providing one of the freshest, most vibrant hop aromas in any farmhouse ale brewed in Belgium. Not surprising given the brewers’ history with Yakima Chief, Inc., the well-known producer/distributor of Pacific Northwest hops and hop products. This unusual cross-pollination of American and Belgian influences takes place in their small (10hl) brewery, built inside an old rustic 18th-century farmhouse. If you ask them, they’d say that by going heavy on the hops, they’re actually brewing even more traditional saisons than other Belgian brewers; saisons, per the brewers’ research, were historically quite bitterly hopped—and they’re returning to that tradition, albeit with some overseas hops in the mix.
We’ve featured their IV Saison in the past, and are pleased to be featuring their follow up beer, V Cense. If you still have the IV Saison, consider a side-by-side tasting. You can definitely pick up on the brewery’s distinctive stamp, though these are very different beers.
If you’d like more information about the brewery, a visit to their website may, one of these days, prove fruitful (at time of print, the site was limited to the picture of the IV Saison label). They’re busy. We get it, and we don’t mind; we’d rather they invest their time in making the beer and distributing hops than with web-design: brasseriedejandrainjandrenouille.be.
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