20CENT STYLE Hof ten Dormaal is a warm, human brewery
Every so often, in just a few lines, I like to introduce you to a concept that's out of the ordinary. In my opinion, it is these types of products that give the retail shelves a real boost. That's why in this article I've come to tell you about Hof ten Dormaal. It's a local brewery located in the heart of the fields of Tildonk that I had the opportunity to visit recently. At first glance, you might say that local breweries are a dime a dozen. However, this concept stands out because of its truly unique approach.
Brewed on the farm and 100% Belgian
Hof ten Dormaal is first and foremost a family business that started in 2009. The Janssens took over a farm and started brewing beer there. But the approach was to return to the old concept of brewing on the farm, with ingredients from the surrounding fields.
In order to increase volumes, breweries often use ingredients from abroad, or at least some of them. This is not at all the approach of the Janssens family. Jef, Dries and their father grow, malt and brew their own products. This means that the ingredients are 100% local, and the cereals and hops come from the farm. In short, this is a concept that is 100% Belgian, not just made in Belgium.
A trully complete and interesting range
Brewer Jef introduced me to the range, which includes all the classics you'd expect from a range of beers (lager, triple, IPA, etc.), as well as a few unexpected nuggets (limited edition, chicory beer, etc.). I could tell you all about them, but let's concentrate instead on the ones I think are (will be) the most popular on your shelves and in your glasses.
First, there's Saison. This is a 5.8% blond made from barley malt, wheat, spelt, rye, hops, water, yeast and sugar. Very refreshing and drinkable as a lager.
Another interesting beer is the WhiteGold Tripel. Made with barley malt, wheat, hops, water, yeast, sugar and chicory root, this triple is a must. What makes it unique is the fact that chicory root is roasted and used to complement the hops. The result is a mild bitterness, and for an 8% triple beer, the flavours are very well balanced.
Throughout the range, you can sense the vision of creating beers with a farmhouse angle: you feel that they work with raw grains, work with what they have and aim to share the flavours of the land.
My 20/CENT: authenticity combined with a human approach
First, note the 100% Belgian character. So far, to my knowledge, no local or international brewery shares this authenticity and approach of using only local ingredients. Many are busy promoting locality or short distribution channels. In the case of Hof ten Dormaal, however, the approach is truly local. This is undoubtedly also what attracted Delhaize, which has been stocking the products on its shelves for some time now.
I was delighted to discover the farm and its approach. Despite the wintry temperatures when I visited, the welcome I received was more than warm and human. And it allowed me to feel the authenticity of the approach. The family doesn't want to grow too fast and conquer every café, restaurant and distributor in the country and around the world. That's not possible with the vision of this farmhouse brewery. As the brewer told me, the aim is to work with people, not with mass production to achieve volume.
In conclusion, let's raise our glasses to this type of business. Because if they multiply, they will be stories that will make our shelves and tables more unique, authentic and human.