We made a trip last weekend to De Dolle Brouwers brewery in West Flanders. It was one of those delightful "only in Belgium" kind of experiences that lingers in the mind. It's almost two hours west of Brussels near Diksmuide, and not any place you'd just stumble upon. You really need a reason to be out there. Fortunately, this wonderful family-owned brewery gives you plenty of reasons to visit.
The brewery (also a distillery back in the day) originally dates back to the 1830s. It ran for three generations until it died before being revived in 1980 by two brothers who continue to run it to this day, still very much as a family enterprise. The brewery is only open on the weekends and they offer tours Sunday afternoon, which we were lucky enough to time perfectly.
The brothers' 93-year old mother led our tour in English, crediting her health, longevity and excellent humor to her strict regimen of a daily beer. One brother is the brewmaster and the other an artist who creates the charmingly colorful logos for the company's beers. Their flagship brew, Oerbier, is a strong dark beer at 9.5% but eminently drinkable with a fruity taste that doesn't overdo it on the sweetness. Their blonde, Arabier, is most memorable for its large foamy head. It's just as tasty as the dark and lower in alcohol at 8%.Next time you're out in West Flanders, pay a visit to this place. You won't regret it. Support your local brewer!
Nat en straf (West Flemish for wet and strong)