Dienstag, 6. Juni 2017

Leuven Innovation Beer Festival 2017 (Part 1)

Leuven Innovation Beer Festival 2017 (Part 1)

Before I continue with KBW and its beer I need to give you an introduction to the event I have visited just 2 days ago.
Leuven Innovation Festival 2017.
Just another beer festival you could say. But two things are unusual there – the place and the invited breweries.
The place is very special – it is De Hoorn. Traditional Belgian brewery that in the early XVIII century was bought by a brewer called Sebastien Artois (does it ring a bell?). The brewery has issued its special Christmas beer in 1726 and named it after the Christmas star.
Yep, we are in the place of birth of Stella Artois. Even I nowadays Stella is manufactured in the humongous factory just 500 meter down the street. It is worth to remember that its origins were based on a small company and closer to craft.

And the view is breathtaking. I have seen a few breweries in my life, but De Horn leaves them all in the dust. Humongous brewing tanks placed over 2 levels of the building are not something that you see every day. If you add the post-industrial climate of the whole thing that I simply love – it is clearly a view that I will never forget.

This is what you see when you enter.

Close caption.

Prisma really allows to squeeze the max out of the location. 

The building allows you to go almost whenever you want, therefore I could see how the tanks look from the bottom. With the use of lights, it is an amazing view.

They even have a bar in the basement, selling Stella. For the time of the festival it looked closed…
On top, of the location – there is one thing that got my attention. For the first time since I am visiting Belgian beer festivals – there is a Polish brewery invited. I am not trying to say it has never happened before, but I have been on 10+ festivals in the last 1.5 years and have never seen one.
For me, this is a clear sign, that, finally, even Belgians start to recognize the power of the Polish craft scene. This is very important, because Belgium is still seen in the world as the land of the beer innovation and getting attention here may be a good start for the rest of the world. Even if attention of on-line community (based on the RateBeer awards) is already there, it is good to change it to the real-life presence.

Polish Brewery invited to Leuven is Pracownia Piwa (pracowniapiwa.pl), relatively small brewery from Modlniczka close to Krakow. Considering the fact that Pracownia Piwa have brought a variety of beer styles starting with sour and fruit ales, through IPA and finishing with specialties like gratzer and imperial stout, I strongly believe that they have made an impression in Leuven. Also, the feedback from the brewers was positive (even if they had to accept that locals have some serious problems with proper writing polish names – see the photo below).

Here, I screwed the photo. Luckily Pracownia Piwa allowed me to use their own.

 I have decided to go for the imperial stout with the appealing name “Sweet Dreams”. And they are rather sweet – chocolate, coffee liquor and some fruity notes (orange? plum?). Taste is very similar, bitter coco, some coffee, slight roast and clear praline. Good thing is that the alcohol does not come out at all. In connection with a very low carbonation, this is a perfect beer to enjoy not just drink. Good job and great representation of Polish craft.


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