Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vapeur Brewery experience in Pipaix, Belgium (Nov 29)

La Brasserie a Vapeur is one of the oldest steam-powered Breweries in Belgium. It's located in the tiny town of Pipaix where we almost couldn't find it because it wasn't as flashy of a building as we were expecting. Two other couples also came, Rick and Stephanie along with Nathan and Leah, who are coworkers of Shannon's and their wives. We all appreciate good beers and had heard a lot about this brewery, so we thought it would be worth checking out.

For a set price on the last Saturday of every month, the brewery has a public brewing along with the opportunity to eat a wonderful meal prepared by the brewery and partake in the beers they brew - an unlimited amount of beer, might I add! Also the meal is made with most of the brewery's beers. Since this sounded right up our alley, we decided to opt for both and we arrived at the brewery around 9:30 AM to watch the mixing of the wort in the mash tub. It was quite interesting to hear about the stages of making beer and actually see it in its earlier form. Some of the guys even tried the 'mash mixture' which I heard wasn't too bad; I wasn't brave enough to taste it! Here is their website for further details:

We all really liked their beers, especially the 'Folie' and the special 'Halloween Brew'. The food was fantastic as well, which included items like smoked salmon, pork, vegetable soup, bread, numerous cheeses, and a brown sugar tarte-like dessert...all made with beer, whether marinated or cooked in to it. We definitely recommend this outing to others who enjoy visiting breweries and sampling great food and beer!

Mixing of the wort in the mash tub (steam-powered)

Shannon and I in front of the mixture (it got really hot in there after 10 min or so)

Another shot of the 'malt mixture' (basically germinated barley grains)
When we first arrived
Adding different temperatures of hot water to make more of a malt/paste mixture. The goal of these stages of temperature is to break down the starch to make a simple sugar which can be assimilated by yeasts.
Shannon trying out one of the 1st stages of beer, the malt mixture! He said it wasn't too bad, kind of like oatmeal!
Up-close malt/paste mixture

Here is our feast after we witnessed the steam-powered mash tank. The gentleman in the picture, Jean-Louis, is the brewer and also helped make the meal. Some of the items included, smoked salmon, pork, vegetable soup, bread and numerous cheeses (most the food was made with their beers, whether marinated or cooked in to it...everything was delicious!)

Rick, Shannon and Nathan enjoying their beers (notice the Vapeur's symbol behind Shannon's have to love their funny pig emblem!)

Leah, me and Stephanie stuffed after our fantastic meal (Leah is holding the Halloween brew, which was awesome!) I was the DD, so I only sampled a few beers here and there.

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