Certainly not brand new to the Belgian beer world (but new to us) we are BrewViewing the first beer from VLIEGENDE PAARD BROUWERS and their PRÉARIS QUADRUPEL. Former homebrewer Andy Dewilde has made a huge statement in just over 5 years in the Belgian beer scene and in the beer industry, overall.
His beers have won awards and have garnered high praise from the discerning palates of Belgian beer drinkers, and those from around the world. We’re looking forward to tasting the Quadrupel for the first time.
ABOUT VLIEGENDE PAARD BROUWERS
The story of Vliegende Paard Brouwers (Flying Horse Brewers) got started is similar to many in Belgium. You take an enthusiastic homebrewer who enters his beer in a regional competition and gains immediate recognition for his brewing skill, talent, and of course, great tasting beer. Next thing you know, he takes this enthusiasm and confidence and goes from amateur to professional in a short period of time.
This (more or less) is the story of Andy Dewilde, and how he made a big splash in the Belgian beer industry. Many aspiring homebrewers dream of achieving the recognition Andy has. In an ever-increasingly competitive market, it is difficult to brew a beer that’s not the same-ol’ same-ol’… especially to the sophisticated tastes of native Belgian beer drinkers.
To boost his good fortune even further, Belgian beer industry icon Christine Celis (daughter of famed brewer Pierre Celis of Hoegaarden and Celis Brewing fame) got word of Andy’s success, and encouraged him to export his beers to a very important market: the United States. Celis was a liaison for the brewery’s current importer, Authentic Beverage Management in Austin, Texas. Christine has her home base there working in the industry, thus the business connection made good sense.
Within a year of Andy turning pro, the Préaris beers were made available to a grateful US beer drinking public. Within 3 years of turning pro, Andy is making a fairly comfortable living doing what he loves to do. We have read that he is looking to expand his small-scaled personal brewery from 50 liters to at least 500 liters or larger.
The Préaris line of beers also include the following:
PRÉARIS BELMA – Préaris Belma is a Belgian white beer with an alcohol content of 5% and brewed with Pilsner malt, wheat malt, wheat flakes, oat flakes, coriander and orange peel. the hops they used were the new US Belma hop (for the first time in a Belgian beer).
PRÉARIS IPA – “No Hops No Glory”: This very accessible IPA is amber with an alcohol content of 6.7% and a fruity aroma of grapefruit, among others. The taste is volmoutig, hoppy and fruity with a pleasant bitter aftertaste. The IPA includes six types of hops hence the term “No Hops No glory.” A beer to enjoy on a sunny terrace!
PRÉARIS BLONDE – This refreshing 6% ABV lager brewed with American hops has a citrus aroma and a fine hoppy nose. The taste is malty and fruity with a slightly bitter dry finish.
PRÉARIS SMOKEY LI – Smokey Li is a high blonde slightly smoked beer with an alcohol content of 8% brewed Chinese tea Lapsang Souchong. Lapsang Souchong is originally from Fujian Province after oxidation, this tea dried in bamboo baskets over burning needle or cypress wood.
PRÉARIS QUADROCINNO – A multiple award winner, this dark chestnut tasting beer brewed Costa Rican coffee has an alcohol content of 10%. The aroma is coffee, nuts and dark fruit. The first taste is sweet after the coffee flavor comes up, otherwise the taste can still find caramel, vanilla and dark fruit. Aftertaste is slightly bitter by the coffee beans and hops. Originally this was a winter beer, but due to high demand Préaris Quadrocinno stuck in the range from June 2014.
PRÉARIS X-MAS – At 5% ABV, this copper-colored Christmas ale is a hoppier version than most Christmas ales from Belgium. Bready malt, soft ester notes with pears, some peppery phenols, and floral and herbal hops.
PRÉARIS MARIUS – A 10.5% ABV Russian Imperial Stout brewed with Struise Brewers, won a silver medal at the Barcelona beer festival 2016. Limited release, 960 bottles bottled in March 2016 (sold out) will only be brewed again at a time to be announced later. There will be some barrel aged versions of this as well.
PRÉARIS GRAND CRU – Enthusiasts of Belgian barrel-aged beers have certainly shown some love to the Grand Cru line of Préaris beers. Using barrels from Marker’s Mark Bourbon to Cognac to Jack Daniels, to Grand Marnier, the complex flavors have won over a dedicated following, consistently selling out. The different versions of the Grand Cru have won multiple awards.
OUR DISCUSSION WITH ANDY DEWILDE
Recently, Andy was kind enough to take time out of his busy work schedule to provide me with the brief (but appreciated!) opportunity to discuss where it all began, and where he is now with his brewery…
BBJ: Andy, thank you for taking the time to communicate with me. It’s amazing to witness the quick success you have earned. You began as a homebrewer… how long were you brewing before you entered your Quadrupel in the Brouwland competition back in 2011?
ANDY: 2 years prior, but I learned the art from guys who had been homebrewing since 2000.
BBJ: When you entered your Préaris Quadrupel in the Brouwland Biercompetitie, in 2011, was this batch brewed at your residence, or did you “gypsy brew” it at another brewery?
ANDY: I brewed it together with the guys I learned from at their brewery.
BBJ: Where are your beers currently being brewed at? I see that you have used De Proef & De Struise in the past…
ANDY: Proef, Struise, and in my home brewery. This is small but official, and every month people can come and try my newest batches.
BBJ: Who or what is “Préaris?” What is the meaning behind the name? Can you explain more in detail what the label is all about?
ANDY: Préaris is a Greek name from unknown origin but I didn’t get it from there. I found out about the Greek name after I won the homebrew competition but the Préaris name was already in my mind since March 2010, over one year before we won the homebrew competition. It’s a more fun story, but I only tell it to people visiting my tasting room every second Saturday of the month. On the label you see 2 horses drawn by a friend of mine who is sculpture artist. Above you see a barrel with wings. The place where I live and brew is called Vliegende Paard which translates to “Flying Horse.” So in a modern way, the label represents the origin of the brewery.
BBJ: What are your current batch sizes at Struise & Proef?
ANDY: Between 2000 and 10000L
BBJ: Andy, thanks again for the opportunity to talk with you.
ANDY: You’re welcome… my kindest regards.
NOTE: In regards to the logo, it is the meaning of 2 old connecting buildings that used to be pubs until the 60’s: “The Black Horse and The Flying Horse”. The coins are a Monk drawing of himself, logo of the Home Brew competition and logo of the organizers, Brouwland. (Abi Imports)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Belgian Quadrupel
The Préaris Quadrupel pours with a opaque deep burgundy rich color with a frothy, creamy off white head. It uses 7 malts with 2 of them being chocolate malt, 3 hops varieties, special blend of 4 herbs, candi sugar and special yeast.
There are aromas of roasted malt, caramel, dark fruit. The taste is malty and slightly bitter (roasted and chocolate malt), dark fruit, touch of vanilla, caramel. The finish is malty and slightly bitter.
This complex dark beer tasting was elected in April 2011 as the best hobby of beer in Belgium ‘The Brouwland Beer League. ” A jury including filmmaker and beer lover Julien Vrebos, Zythologists Anne Rijckers and Yannick De Cocteau, and professional brewers Jean-Marie De Rock of Brasserie d’ Orval and Paul Arnott (who was with Brasserie Dubuisson at the time, now is with Chimay) sampled the 7 finalists (there were about 100 entries in total). This is what Paul Arnott commented on the Préaris Quadrupel: “What a ripeness for a hobby beer: a mouth full, rich but balanced, small fruit button, very mature. A beer to taste!”
RateBeer.com voted Vliegende Paard Browuers as the ‘BEST NEW BREWER IN BELGIUM’ for the year 2013.
Préaris Quadrupel won a Gold Award at the Barcelona Beer Challenge 2016
OUR BREWVIEW ON vliegende paard brouwers prearis quadrupel
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
10% ABV, we served at 58° F (verified by a Vacu Vin snap thermometer) in an oversized wine glass. (We could not obtain the official Préaris glass in time for this BrewView, so we opted to use a glass that would lend itself well for tasting purposes.)
It poured a 2-finger height, very light tan colored head that is dense, creamy and tightly bubbled (we did ensure the glass was “beer clean.”) The beer color is in between an Amber Brown / SRM value of 18, and a Brown / SRM value of 20.
The meniscus is slow rising, rim color is Medium Amber /SRM value of 12. The Brussels lacework the head left behind once it collapsed (within 6-7 minutes) was patchy, spider-web density, but even-sheeted on the sides of the glass. After about 8-9 minutes, the head kept at a 1/8″ height during consumption, but had a center foam mound in the middle of the liquid that was at least 3/4″ high- it almost resembled an island to itself in an ocean of beer. You’ll see in the picture above that the bottle itself had “soap-like” sized bubbles in it. You don’t see that too often- and we took great care to pour this beer gently into the glass…
AROMA / BOUQUET:
We actually let the beer warm up to 60°F before we even stuck our nose into the glass. Wow! You’ll immediately get the classic, big bready Belgian yeast aromas characteristic of many Belgian Quads, along with strong aromas of milk chocolate, rich caramel, dark fruits and toffee. However the triple hop and 4 herb blend added to it gives this beer a distinct uniqueness, unlike any Quad we’ve ever experienced. As the beer warmed up (close to 65°F) the bready yeast aroma is far more evident- in line with some of the classic Belgian Trappists. The herbs and hop aroma kick up a bit more as well. The best description we could give it is like smelling a freshly baked loaf of chocolate marble rye bread, even though it is not made with rye.
Rich and sumptuous; very rich dark baker’s chocolate, deep caramel, toffee, and “creamy” breadiness from the special Belgian yeast. The roasted malts used almost give it a coffeeish-like taste to it (wondering what their Quadrocinno (their Quad brewed with Costa Rican coffee beans) must be like!) The earthiness from the hops and herbs help round it out nicely- a breakaway from most Quads! After 45 minutes into drinking it, (bottle temp close to 68° – 70°F) the beer gives a gentle vanilla / barrel aged flavor.MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Medium bodied, the effervescence level is moderate, yet there is a certain chewiness to it. You get a nice dark baker’s / bitter chocolate aftertaste- the spiciness from the hops and herbs give a very slight peppery dryness, but one that invites you to take that next sip, like eating a piece of chocolate made with herbs does.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
APPETIZERS: (Cheeses) Rich, Blue veined, or Washed Rind cheeses would go very well- many to choose from. We would suggest Trappist cheeses. Charcuterie platter with rich cuts of meats.
ENTRÈES: Beef (Carbonade flamande), Duck Confit Poutine, Pastrami-Spiced Duck Breast Reuben. Beef Mole is a no-brainer.
DESSERTS: Anything chocolate! As we mentioned in our “Mouthfeel / Palate” description above, find some high quality chocolate made with herbs – Organic, raw cacao infused with herbs and wildflower honey would be to die for! A well made crème bruleé is a match made in heaven with this beer.
After all we have read over the years about the Préaris Quadrupel, we were so grateful to FINALLY try it for the first time!
Living in an area where a wide variety of Belgian beer is not the case, normally is difficult to bear.
Uber decadent, we highly recommend this very delicious Quadrupel. It is well suited for aging for 3-5 years, and possibly more under the proper temperature, light, and shelving conditions. Seek this one out for sure!
Our sincerest thanks go out to:
Kevin Desmet of Belgian Beer Geek and Christopher Barnes of I Think About Beer for providing research material to glean from.
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