SAISON D’ERPE-MERE is the first of two beers we are BrewViewing from BROUWERIJ DE GLAZEN TOREN for the month of June 2016.
ABOUT brouwerij de glazen toren
Browerij De Glazen Toren is a three – person company with Jef Van Den Steen as its business manager. Jef ranks as an absolute authority in the brewing world. He regularly publishes in a number of beer magazines and is the author of the bestselling books: LES TRAPPISTES – BIÈRES DE TRADITION, THE BEER AND THE MONKS, BELGIAN ABBEY BEERS, GUEUZE & KRIEK, and SPIRITED INHERITANCE. The two other business partners are true-born inhabitants of the city of Aalst, halfway between Brussels and Gent.
The brewery officially opened on November 11, 2004, but there had been a long previous history. In 1988, Jef Van den Steen from Erpe-Mere and Dirk De Pauw from Aalst discovered they had a common passion : BEER.
The two met at the town hall of Erpe-Mere. Jef, a master in mathematics was an alderman there, and Dirk, master in law, was the newly appointed town clerk.
Together, they started experimenting as homebrewers in a kettle of 50 litres, but they soon realized that more know-how was needed in order to brew good beer. A sound theoretical knowledge was a necessity. The two enrolled for a three-year training course (1991-1994) for the brewing, malting and fermentation industry‚ at the CTL Institute in Gent.
Now being qualified brewmasters – (both had graduated summa cum laude), the quality of their experimental brews improved in a spectacular way. They started dreaming aloud of a brewery of their own. But between dreams and deeds there were practical objections: the necessary equipment and a suitable location.
After a long search the basis of the installation was found and bought in Galmaarden where brewery Meesters had closed its doors. Then they started to look for an industrial building in Aalst, but eventually the installation was set up in a newly built property at the Glazentorenweg in Erpe-Mere (hence the name of the brewery)
In the fall of 2002, Dirk and Jef were joined by Mark De Neef, head librarian in Aalst and master in Dutch and English languages.
The installation was completed and with the necessary excise duty licenses in the pocket, the first beer flowed from the 5hl installation in August 2004. Brewery DE GLAZEN TOREN was born.
The first beer of the brewery, Saison d’Erpe-Mere was soon followed by the Tripel, Ondineke. As the success of the beers was growing, increasing the productivity became a must, especially when exports to the USA started, later followed by orders from Japan.
If the growing brewery wanted to keep pace with demand and sales the brewing equipment of 5hl was totally insufficient. In the meantime a Winterscotch Ale (Canaster) and a 4-grain double white beer (Jan de Lichte) had been added to the assortment.
In the course of 2006, the complete infrastructure of the brewery was renewed. New cylindroconical fermenter yeast tanks of 22 hl and a new warm room were installed. A brand new German brewhouse with a capacity of 25hl per brew which became operational on 15th January 2007 completed the brewing expansion. Now filling kegs of 20 litres is being considered and worked on. (Source: B. United International)
The recipe of the steady growth should no doubt be sought in the mission of the brewery. De Glazen Toren stands for brewing unfiltered quality beers in a time-honoured, traditional manner in a very modern brewery, with the use of only the best ingredients, and without any additions or artificial means.
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Saison
Saison d’Erpe-Mere is brewed exclusively with natural ingredients: artesian water, barley and wheat malts, liquid sugar, hops and yeast. The result is a dry, hoppy, fruity and slightly veiled beer with 7.5 % alc. vol.
It is a beer of high fermentation brewed according to the old Saison tradition of Hainaut. It is not filtered, but slowly lagers in the cylindro-conical fermentation tanks. Unusual for this style, Brouwerij De Glazen Toren doesn’t use any herbs or spices to create its fruity and spicy profile. The combination of spicy Hallertau hops and a complex Saison yeast is enough to create deep flavors in this refreshing and effervescent beer. The wheat used enriches the head and improves the drinkability. Saison d’Erpe-Mere is a real natural beer!
OUR BREWVIEW ON saison d’erpe-mere
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
Our bottle label stated it is at 6.9% ABV, even though their website says it is at 6.5%. We served at 50° F in a straight-sided pilsner glass. (We could not obtain the official De Glazen Toren branded glass in time for this BrewView, so we opted to use a glass that has a similar shape to their official glass.)
It pours with an easy 4-finger white colored head that is dense, rocky, with large and small bubbles. The beer color is a pale gold- SRM value of a 4 (the brewery calls it “pale yellow”). The meniscus is medium rising, rim variation color is pale straw (SRM value of 2).
The head retention in this beer is incredible- for the first 5-6 minutes after pouring, the head hardly collapsed at all. It took around 10 minutes until it finally collapsed to a 1/4″ height, which stays throughout your consumption time, after each successive refill or your glass… truly amazing. The Brussels lacework it leaves behind is thick and clumpy, resembling thick spider webs like you see in old attics. We took great measures (as we always do) to ensure that our glass was “beer clean.” Even so, you will notice gentle champagne-like bubble streams coming from the bottom of the glass.
NOTE: All BrewView notes here are with the yeast gently roused up in the bottle before decanting. As you know, we prefer the “yeast dump” while drinking Belgian ales. It’s just what we prefer…
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Grassy, hoppy, very gentle aromas of cooking herbs (even though the brewery does not use any herbs in the brewing process). Notes of Meyer lemon pith are also forefront, with malt aromas in the background.
The spicy yeast phenols are off the chart with this one! Nice hop bitterness, you can taste the wheat in the background. MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium bodied, the effervescence level is medium, bordering on high. Because of the wheat content in the beer, you also get that creaminess that provides a fuller feeling in the mouth. The finish is dry, hoppy, with Meyer lemon pith bitterness. There is a very faint hint of breadiness from the wheat as well.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
This is truly a beer that could be paired with a wide variety of cuisines and their dishes due to it’s strength, its spicy and spritzy flavor profile and finish.
APPETIZERS: (Cheeses) We would suggest Abondance, Beaufort, Brillat-Savarin, Comté, Morbier, Saint Agur. Fresh salads with herbs and chicken, Boterhammen / tartines, Tomate-crevette.
ENTRÈES: Wide open. But of course, Moule-Frites! Other foods that come to mind: roasted chicken, hearty sausages, Gegratineerde witloof / Chicons au gratin, Chilean Sea bass, with twice baked potatoes, Tortellini in a rich white sauce with pesto. Barbeque (yes, barbeque!) The spicy phenols and effervescence in this beer will help cut through any rich sauces.
DESSERTS: Not really a dessert, but Lemon sour candies from Napoleon would be outrageous! Poached pears, apple & rosemary mini pies, Spring citrus thyme tart.
We have to admit, after several years of reading about the De Glazen Toren beers, to say we were excited to finally BrewView Saison d’Erpe-Mere is a gross understatement!
It did not disappoint! This beer is an example of great brewing art. We foresee a great future for this brewery; it will continue to be a ‘brewery to watch’. Inspired by the classic Saisons from Wallonia, the brewery puts their own creative spin on the style, yet keeping the foundational traditions in the flavor profile.
World class without a doubt, it will certainly please the most finicky of Saison drinkers out there. Great for the summertime, or any time of the year. Because of the beautiful way it is packaged with its decorative wrapping, it could be presented at the most formal of family occasions. Seek this one out for sure… Saison d’Erpe-Mere is one of class and distinction. Goed gedaan, Brouwerij De Glazen Toren!
BROUWERIJ DE GLAZEN TOREN
Glazentorenweg 11, 9420
Beerphone: +32 53 83 03 80
Fax: +32 53 83 68 17
Jef Van den Steen: firstname.lastname@example.org
VAT: 478 337 286
Fri: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Sat: 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15