28 May 2011 - 1:08:46 PM
Brouwerij De Keyzer
I have to say that Brouwerij De Keyser is hands down the winner of the strangest brewery tour I've ever taken. At first I was all excited when I found out there was an old brewery (established in 1758) right in the town of Maastricht, and they gave a tour every Saturday. So I signed up, even though it's only given in Dutch, figuring the international language of beer would be easy to understand, especially with all the brewing equipment around. As you can probably guess, that didn't quite turn out to be the case.
The tour started at the tourist information center building and had three or four stops along the walk to the brewery, during which the guide gave long explanatory speeches about local landmarks or history or what he had for lunch. I don't know because I don't speak Dutch. But we finally made it into the De Keyzer building, and we stood in its courtyard as he gave yet another long speech. But there were a few things to distract me: an old beer barrel transportation device, some hop vines on a wall, an old dog lying in the sun. Then we went back outside and entered the adjoining building. The ground floor was empty except for a few benches and some brewing-related photographs on the walls. The guide then stood in front of us and gave another long speech. To his credit, as he talked, the Dutch folk taking the tour would periodically laugh, so he wasn't just droning on and on.
After the long explanation of the brewing process, or perhaps an amusing re-telling of how his cat had stolen the family car, we headed upstairs to the top floor. The second floor was empty except for a couple old boring artifacts, like shovels. The third floor had an old device in the middle, but otherwise it was empty. The top two floors were pretty much empty. The guide gave long speeches on each floor. It was, in a word, baffling. Where was the brewery? I thought I had signed up for a brewery tour. You'd think someone would have mentioned that there's no actual brewery in this brewery tour. A few nice folks on the tour tried to translate bits and pieces for me, but there wasn't much point, as far as I was concerned. It had become something else, something bizarre. I would just have to go along for the ride and hope it would end soon.
The tour did actually pick up a little at the end when the guide took us into a room off the inner courtyard and switched on the old pulley-driven mash tun, and when we were in the room with all the various old bottling machines that look like torture devices, and finally the beer tasting. They have two beers (who brews it and where is still a mystery to me), and I was able to get a full bottle of the one that I liked. So that was something.
- Double Saison - 6.5% - Not much of an aroma. Flavor pretty subtle. Dark in color but light in taste. Subtle maltiness, subtle alcohol, quite enjoyable.
- Troublette - 5.5% - wit bier - Kind of sweet, light, with a bit of coriander flavor. Sweetness builds up, need to drink this with food/snacks. Lots of spices in the recipe. Seems to be brewed for Brasserie Caracole.
De Keyzer's Double Saison, with snacks -- Maastricht, Netherlands
There were a bunch of Germans in the brewery, too, getting their own tour in German. If an English-speaking tour had come through, I would have been pretty annoyed.