Winter Sale 2024! - Save up to $30

Winter Sale 2024!
Save up to $30

Verbeeck-Back-De Cock Brewery - Kerel Saison

Verbeeck-Back-De Cock Brewery - Kerel Saison

Beer Club featured in International Beer Club U.S. & International Variety Beer Club

Style:

Saison

Country:

Belgium

Bottle size:

330-ml

Alcohol by Volume:

5.5%

Verbeeck-Back-De Cock Brewery - Kerel Saison

  • ABV:

    5.5%
  • Bottle Size:

    330-ml
  • Serving Temperature:

    47-52° F
  • Suggested Glassware:

    Tulip, Flute, Goblet, Willi Becher

Saison is the quintessential Belgian farmhouse ale, typically brewed in winter and enjoyed during and after a hard day’s work in the warmer months to follow, very much like the related French style, Bière de Garde. VBDCK’s version presents a bright golden hue in the glass, topped by a sizable cap of just-off-white foam. As is typical of saisons and Belgian ales in general, the aroma is quite yeast-driven, offering up plenty of earthy and herbal character. There’s a certain lightly tart fruity impression here as well, along with some floral and lightly grassy overtones. These yeasty and hoppy elements come through nicely on the palate too, supported by a pleasant crackery malt backbone. Moderate hop bitterness combines with that earthy-herbal yeast contribution to deliver exceptional crispness and dryness, making for a super quenching and refreshing brew. For food pairings, your options are vast, as saison can be remarkably food-friendly. Some of our favorite pairings are actually well-spiced Asian dishes, particularly Thai and Vietnamese. A snack of crusty bread with earthy and bloomy rind cheeses like Camembert and Brie in the company of saison is another excellent marriage. Additionally, mussels, scallops, fresh white-fleshed fish, grilled chicken, roasted quail, and various pasta and risotto dishes all sound good to us, as well. Cheers!

The roots of the Verbeeck-Back brewery stretch back to 1867 in the town of Tielrode, Belgium. As an independent brewery, the business was always a family affair – as it remains today. The brewery was passed down through successive generations of family brewers until 1966 when that generation rebelled and decided to go in a new direction. The brewery closed, and its old brick brewhouse fell into disrepair.

Thankfully for us beer lovers, in 2015 a new generation decided it was time to return the brewery to its old glory. The brother and sister team of Jozef and Charlotte De Cock acquired the brewery and set about restoring it to working order – no small feat given the sellers considered most of it to be a tear-down-and-start-over sort of project. The duo managed to salvage and restore the brewery, and opened it for business in June of 2017 under the new name of Verbeeck-Back-De Cock, which they style simply as VBDCK. But, the building wasn’t the only thing they saved. They loved the name of the original beer brand sold by Verbeeck-Back, which was Kerel (which translates roughly as “dude” or “guy”), and so all their beers carry that name once again. Additionally, and perhaps most remarkably, an unopened bottle of the original Kerel beer was salvaged and subjected to the wonders of modern science to analyze and recapture the original yeast strain. Considering the character of Belgian ale styles is so driven by the yeast, this was an absolutely critical success in the mission to resurrect Kerel’s identity.

While VBDCK naturally embraces their nation’s extraordinarily rich brewing tradition, they refuse to be limited by it. In fact, the brewery amusingly revels in pointing out their independence from stuffy limitations as well as their independence as a family brewery by highlighting that there are “no monks or big corporations in sight”. Along with excellent takes on traditional styles like Saison, Witbier, and Bière de Garde, the brewery produces an array of modern and not traditionally Belgian styles like grapefruit IPA, dark rye ale, tropical-oriented pale ale, stout, and more, including limited-run beers like summer ale with prickly pear and yuzu. For more info, you can visit their website at vbdck.be, and for more info on the backstory, check out this excellent on-location interview with Charlotte and Jozef by Jeff Bradford on YouTube: youtu.be/xnk1B9yw1TY.

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