Beer Project Brussels, DELTA
For years Belgium is where you had to head for the really good stuff. Dubbels, Tripels, Saisons, Lambics and Flemish reds are just some of the unique beer styles that Belgian brewers have been mastering for hundreds of years whilst the rest of the world admires from afar. But many would argue that US and UK brewers haven’t just caught up in recent years. They’re now starting to overtake their Belgian counterparts, putting their own, arguably more innovative and modern stamp on sours and blondes in a way that makes the trip from St Pancras to Brussels almost pointless. Almost.
Enter Beer Project Brussels. “The strength of Belgium has always been it's wanderlust for flavours and taste and it would be a pity to rest on our laurels now. Over the last few years a new wave of Belgian drinkers has appeared. They want beers that are bold, creative, collaborative and that challenge the idea of flavours and taste. Forget about the copy-pasting of the past. We're proud to be born in 2013 and not in 1492. We breathe the contemporary Brussels, a cosmopolitan town that lives and evolves.”
They are the rather bullish words of Olivier de Brauwere (above left), a Brusselaar born and bred who founded Belgium’s very own Brewdog with his old mucker Sébastien Morvan (above right) in 2013.
The pair chose the historic beer quarters of Belgium’s capital to home its new microbrewery and bar which was partly funded by 369 people who paid a minimum of 140 euros each to get 12 beers every year for the rest of their life. Yep, this is a truly democratic outfit, which extends to the creation of their beers. Each year they brew four prototypes and then ask their fans to pick a favourite. At their first tasting 850 people turned up to sample and vote. Two thirds of the crowd chose this week’s beer, Delta as their favourite. Now it’s a core beer it’s brewed by their partners at Brouwerij Anders to keep up with demand.
Delta is a stunning Belgian IPA. Saison yeast gives it some funky, earthy aromas whilst the taste is all juicy exotic fruit with a big kick of citrus bitterness provided by the Challenger, Smaragd and Citra hops and a dry peppery finish. At 6.5% ABV it has just the right amount of kick. It is Belgian after all.
The funny thing is, Beer Project Brussels are only the third brewery to be brave enough to set up in this famous beer city. They are ripping up the rule book and whilst the purists have their reservations, a whole new generation of Belgian drinkers are not just lapping it up, but playing an active role in Beer Project Brussels success. One to not just watch, but get on the Eurostar and try.