Klein Duimpje Huisbrouwerij translates to the Tom Thumb Homebrewery. Tom Thumb, for those unfamiliar with the story, was a character said to have been born to a couple in the times of King Arthur. The pair longed for a son, even one no larger than the size of a thumb. Being a sort of genie-in-the-bottle-style trickster, Merlin granted them their wish, casting a spell that would give them their tiny son, Tom.
Clearly, the brewer is making a statement that this is one tiny brewing outfit. That brewer is Erik Bouman, who started his fermentation foray as an amateur winemaker around 1990. Not too long into his amateur winemaking career, he traded grapes for grains, becoming a beer homebrewer in 1994. In early 1997, with just a few years of homebrewing under his belt, he entered a beer to be judged in the “winter beer” style of the 1st Dutch Championship for Amateur Beer Brewers, and won with an early rendition of his homebrewed barleywine, “Erik De Noorman” (the current version of which we’re featuring this month). Shortly after that, he submitted his Porter to be judged at the General Dutch Championship, where beers of all styles compete for best in show. His porter beat out more than 400 other beers to be selected as the Best Beer of the competition. ’97 was a good year for Erik, and no doubt played a big part in his drive to make beer brewing his living.
These days, Erik is selling his homebrewed beer on a larger scale, but that ‘larger scale’ is relative to brewing five gallons at a time in his kitchen. He still brews a lower volume of beer than what probably goes down your drain in a couple months of washing up for work. His beers are truly a handcrafted product—the way all beers used to be made. We’re looking forward to trying more of his beers one of these days—there just wasn’t enough to go around for us to get most of his offerings to our beer panel for review. We did, however, appreciate the samples of Barleywine that we received. We found it a flavorful and individualistic beer, selecting it as our first featured Collector’s Beer Club brew this month.
Check out www.kleinduimpje.nl for more information (at the time we visited, it was in Dutch only, and was pretty light on info… Apparently, when you’re the only person brewing your beer and you’re trying to keep up with demand, there’s not much time for website maintenance. Hey, we’ll take beer over bandwidth any day).