One of Belgium’s youngest breweries, Brouwerij Troch is also run by one of her youngest professional brewers. Jurgen Troch is a chemist by trade, and brewer by hobby. But his fascination with beer goes beyond the obvious, i.e. the aromas, flavors and satisfaction of drinking, not to mention making, a delicious brew. He describes his fascination and affinity with beer in somewhat philosophical terms, alluding to the great mystery that still exists in what remains, despite modern analytical science, little understood chemical reactions. How can a beer made with the same ingredients, according to the same recipe on the same equipment be considerably different when brewed on different occasions? There’s a fickleness to the whole process, combated by the brewer’s skill, but only tamed by the most talented. In this way, while there’s value in the science of understanding brewing, just as much value lies in appreciating the mystery of what remains unknown, and the power of human art and skill. One can study and know everything they think there is to know, and not be stunted by reaching the limits of that knowledge. The possibilities in this magical fermented beverage are essentially limitless, and this concept has been very appealing to Jurgen, so much so that he works both his day job for a company that specializes in analytical chemistry, and explores his philosophical craft in his new brewing operation. Thus, getting into the business of beer affords him an ideal marriage of art and science.
The DraeckeniersIt was roughly a year and a half ago that Jurgen’s first beer, Draeckenier, was born in his cellar. The name comes from the brotherhood of Draeckeniers, a local group founded in Aalst, Belgium in the 1950s to celebrate life, to laugh, and to drink with friends. At the time, Belgian law mandated that everyone on the street must have money in their pockets, apparently some sort of measure against beggars and vagabonds. The Draeckeniers, who enjoyed their beer, often had empty pockets, but their distinctive uniforms included a two cent coin, pinned to the lapel so they'd never be arrested. It is this spirit of creativity that the beer celebrates. Recently, Jurgen invited members of the still active brotherhood to attend the commercial debut of his beer (see picture below.) Draeck is an old Flemish word for Dragon, hence the lengthy tongue and other dragon emblems seen in their outfits, which includes a smart-looking hat, and a velvety scarf draped over the right shoulder, bearing the name of their society—all of which have been faithfully represented in a painting by a local artist, which now graces the label of every bottle of Draeckenier beer. A wonderful reminder to share with friends, revel in life’s experiences, and above all, enjoy the moment!