Brouwerij De Molen - Pek & Veren

Brouwerij De Molen - Pek & Veren

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Smoked Export Stout

Country:

Netherlands

Alcohol by Volume:

8.00%

Brouwerij De Molen - Pek & Veren

  • Alcohol by Volume: 8.00%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 50-55° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Snifter
Pek & Veren means “tar and feathers.” A brutal form of torture, or romanticized vigilante justice? These are the types of things you can debate with your mates after a few glasses of this deep, dark, smoky, tar-colored brew. Like all De Molen beers, this one is brewed and bottled by hand with zero automation. You can view the process for yourself by checking out the video at their website. Expect a nearly black pour with garnet highlights when held to light. On the nose, look for sweet and bold roasted malts. There’s a mild smoky character, almost like saltwater driftwood set ablaze. More like chocolate pudding than the typical espresso notes you expect in a big stout, this beer’s bouquet implies that it will be sweet-centered rather than bitter and coffee-ish. In the flavor profile, look for notes of alcohol and plum. While the beer does begin quite sweet on the palate, just wait. There’s an exceptionally protracted delay before the sweet maltiness is replaced by an almost tingling bitterness and subdued smokiness, with notes of scalded caramel. Peaty notes (from the peat-smoked malt) come through but are in the background. Deceptive in its complexity, there’s a lot going on in this beer, but all of it is astutely understated, just sort of seething beneath the surface. At full warmth, prunes and roasted black licorice emerge, along with figs, but never does the chalky, astringent bitter character change; that finish holds up throughout. It might sound like overkill, but this beer pairs wonderfully with deep, dark chocolate, such as 60%+ cacao. The bittersweetness from the chocolate lets the sweetness of the beer pop, tempering the bitter, dry finish. Cheese pairing is interesting as well; smoked sharp cheddar brings out the alcohol in the beer as it cancels the smoky peaty malt notes of the beer, while a rich, sharp cheddar complements it remarkably well.
Brouwerij De Molen (The Mill Brewery) is appropriately named: it’s actually inside a 300-year-old windmill that once served as a grist mill. Now, how Dutch is that! Like all windmills in the region, it has become a symbol not only of strength and ingenuity, but also peace and happiness. In fact, that’s what earned the mill its name, the Arkduif, meaning the “Ark’s Dove,” a parallel between the dove’s symbolism as harbinger of peace and joy. And despite the small quantity of beer produced there by brewer Menno Olivier, he creates plenty of peace and joy from his mill brewery. Like so many great brewers of the world, he began brewing in his kitchen as a hobby. Bitten by the bug, he went on to work professionally as a brewer, crafting beer in Westmaas and Amsterdam, and then served as master brewer of De Pelgrim, a Rotterdam city brewery. It was during his time there that he decided to open a brewery of his own, which led him to give the garage next to his home a makeover, converting it to a microbrewery (Microbrewery de Salamander) and tasting room. As his popularity grew, relocation was necessary, so he finally set up De Molen, and the Arkduif, in the small town of Bodegraven, Netherlands. Even though he’s stepped up his scale, his output is still extraordinarily small. His stainless steel plant has a capacity of about 130 gallons—that’s only about 8 kegs worth of beer per batch, which also means very limited quantities per year. De Molen's boilers are borrowed from the Dutch dairy industry. Olivier came up with the clever idea of recycling and adapting this machinery for his brewery after realizing that dairy processors require a sterilizing boil to kill off harmful bacteria much like the boil brewers perform to kill off infection-causing bacteria in their beer. Olivier's innovative dairy boilers keep De Molen's beer fresh, and their limited capacity means smaller batches (not to mention their secondhand use meant a less than prohibitive start up cost for Olivier—and we certainly are thankful for that). Olivier’s focus is on preserving beer culture and promoting a return to local traditions and products. His beers reflect this commitment in their classic, historic styles and carefully chosen ingredients, all of which appear to be paying off. Ratebeer.com, a popular beer reviewing website, has a list of voters’ top 10 beers by country. Eight of ten of the “Dutch Top 10” are from Brouwerij De Molen. Quite impressive. For more information about the brewery, check out their website at www.brouwerijdemolen.nl.
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