Brouwerij Slaapmutske - Kerstmutske Christmas Nightcap
- ABV: 7.4%
- Serving Temperature: 48-53° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip, Chalice
Slaapmutske’s Christmas beer pours a deep burgundy-brown, capped by a robust head of tan foam that clings to the glass and drops plenty of lace as it recedes. Caramel notes are apparent in the aroma, along with hints of mild chocolate or cocoa powder and touches of spice reminiscent of gingerbread. These spices come through on the palate, as well, presenting hints of ginger, nutmeg, clove and pepper – but they are all phenols given off by the very active Belgian yeast – the beer is actually unspiced. Additionally, that yeast rewards us with fruity esters as well, including fig, plum, and apple. The toasty malt core offers notes of rich caramel and brown sugar, and while there is some sweetness here, it’s not cloying; in fact, the beer is balanced well by the spicy phenols and alcohol, and it all dries nicely in the finish as the 28 IBUs of hop bitterness clears the palate. This is a beer we’d prefer on its own as, well, a nightcap, but, cocoa- and caramel-infused dessert pairings are a natural, if you’re so inclined. Cheers!
The story behind the Slaapmutske Brewery is, at its heart, a story about family, and the ways that family can nurture, support, and inspire success. Dany De Smet was born and raised in Melle, Belgium, a small town near Ghent (in the Belgian brewing capital of East Flanders). In 1992, during the same year that he graduated from brewing school as a brewing engineer, he achieved an impressive milestone by becoming brewmaster at the renowned Huyghe Brewery (known primarily for their Delirium Tremens & Delirium Nocturnum beers with their labels featuring pink elephants). While working for this respected family brewery, he also developed his homebrewing skills when out of “the office”. He has also worked in various other industry positions as a brewing hygiene specialist and served as an educator in Brewing Technology and Quality Control at the Ghent Brewing High School (yes, high school).
During the time spent honing his craft, he met and fell in love with Marleen Vercaigne, a fellow beer-lover from the neighboring town of Ronse. The couple spent a considerable amount of time crafting homebrews in their kitchen along with one of Dany's former Huyghe Brewery colleagues, Patrick Scheirlinck. After creating many batches of homebrew together, Dany and Marleen married, and in 1999, brought another bundle of joy into the world—their son Jonas. To celebrate, Dany brewed a spicy-hopped, brownish-red beer of 9% alcohol by volume. The beer was dubbed "Jonasbier", and soon people were keen on buying it, which got the proud new parents thinking about getting their homebrews on the market. After another "pregnancy", the couple birthed a new beer, inspired by the original Jonasbier formula.
The beer was proudly released on the local Belgian market in 2000 under the name Slaapmutske (which literally means “sleeping cap”, and has a figurative meaning akin to “nightcap” in English), and quickly became a local success, so much so that demand warranted brewing facilities larger than their kitchen. They promptly partnered with one of Belgium's most prolific brewmasters, Dirk Naudts from De Proefbrouwerij, who lent his ultra-high-tech brewery in nearby Lochristi to the cause. Over the succeeding years, they have introduced several new Slaapmutske beers, including this month’s featured Christmas beer, Kerstmutske Christmas Nightcap, which we are very excited to bring to you!
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