Brouwerij Maenhout - Ferre (RBC Exclusive)
Serving Temperature:42–50° F
Suggested Glassware:Goblet, Chalice, or Tulip Glass
Brouwerij Maenhout’s Ferre quadrupel is an exceptionally delicious take on the Belgian style, packed with rich core complexity from the specialty malt additions, and fermented to perfect condition. A very easy beer to dig into, super generous flavors and aromatics from first pour, and just so well handled throughout. We were blown away by this one. This has never before appeared in bottles stateside, with previous distribution limited to kegs sent to select Florida markets. We’re getting this quad imported exclusively for our Rare Beer Club members.
Ferre pours a dark, orange-amber color, though on the lighter side compared to a lot of the quads we’ve sampled recently, and capped by a finely bubbled foam that leaves solid lacing around the perimeter. Generous aromatics provide a clear sense of where this beer’s headed overall: deep, potent maltiness with a ton of accompanying red fruits, subtle vinous warmth, and touches of caramelization thoughout. Aroma continues to build as this warms. A subtle clove-like spiciness from the Belgian yeast provides a complementary bittering element.
That first sip pulled us in immediately: pitch-perfect carbonation keeps this feeling light on the palate, and that focused impact of sweet, caramelized malts and red fruits is immediate. For being 10% ABV, this quad is super nimble and an absolute pleasure to drink. Alcohol stays tucked away throughout, contributing fruity, wine-like elements but showing restraint even after this has warmed up fully. Layers upon layers of toffee, caramels, and ripe fruits, while the Belgian yeast keeps sweetness in check, provides a hint of clove-like bitterness, and just makes this massive beer so easy to dig into. A truly delicious take on the quadrupel style.
Ferre’s label indicates a best-by date of approximately a year or two out, though we could see pushing it a bit beyond that. That said, this is drinking phenomenally young. The core notes of plush red fruits and caramelized malts point to roasted duck or spicy pork pairings, or to serving this alongside vanilla- or caramel-driven desserts.
Brouwerij Maenhout is an artisanal brewery located in the municipality of Pittem in the West Flanders province of Belgium. The brewery got its start towards the end of 2009, founded by Thijs Maenhout and Birgit De Rammelaere, who took over the former company buildings of the Gerdox bouillon factory. Brouwerij Maenhout began with a 5-hectoliter brewery (which equates to around eight full kegs per batch), and initially all of their bottling and labeling was done by hand. They’d spend the next five years developing recipes and building an audience.
As demand outpaced their ability to produce beers on the small system in Meulebeke, they decided to relocate to a larger building in Pittem located along the Brugsesteenweg, the main road connecting the port city of Ghent and West Flanders’ capital city of Bruges. The effort to expand the brewery’s operations began in 2014, and the new system at their new location started production in early 2015. Unlike their earlier facility, Brouwerij Maenhout’s new digs have a capacity of 1,200 hectoliters per year and include a counter-pressure bottling line that both automates and improves the bottling process. The current facility also accommodates a 60-liter test brewery where they’re able to develop new recipes, including one-off seasonals.
Brouwerii Maenhout’s core releases are generally focused on Belgian style staples, including a 6.5%-ABV blonde ale called Blinde Mol (originally created for the Graszoden David Lannoo company in Pittem, and named after the subterranean mammal common in the area) as well as an 8.5% tripel called Koeketiene. The brewery’s one-off releases have included renditions of traditional Belgian styles like saisons, witbiers, dubbels, and Belgian pale ales.
This month we’re excited to be able to offer our favorite of the brewery’s core releases: their Ferre quadrupel. This strong Belgian ale has thus far only appeared in very limited quantities stateside, seeing minimal draft-only distribution to select markets in Florida. The bottled version has never before been sold in the U.S., and we’re having this imported exclusively for our Rare Beer Club members. Ferre quadrupel was created in tribute to one of Pittem’s most famous historic residents: Father Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish Jesuit missionary who was known around the world in the 17th century for his kean knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. He traveled as a missionary to the Chinese province of Shanxi, and eventually became personal tutor and counselor to Emperor Kangxi, who would become the longest-reigning ruler of China (61 years!). Jesuit influence during this period was particularly strong (they ran the imperial observatory and were close with the Chinese elite), and would result in Emperor Kangxi’s Edict of Toleration, which recognized Catholicism and legalized practice of Christianity throughout the country. For anyone traveling out to West Flanders, there’s a visitor center dedicated to Father Ferdinand Verbiest’s influence in Pittem’s town hall.
Brouwerij Maenhout’s brewing facility includes a tasting room that’s currently open on most weekends (check their website or Facebook page for the latest hours of operation). Brewery tours need to be scheduled in advance, and consist of an approximately one-hour tour of the facility followed by sampling the Maenhout beers in their tasting room. Brewery tours can be booked just about any day of the week, by appointment only, and you can find the latest info over on their website at www.brouwerijmaenhout.be (we found Google Translate helpful).
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