This summer, I discovered a Belgian beer that I hadn’t tried before and really enjoyed- and I wasn’t even in Belgium at the time! I was in NY and the beer that tickled my tastebuds is not even available commercially yet in the US. I was at an event at the Flanders Investment and Trade Office in New York City. The trade event was held during the 2nd Annual North American Belgian Beer Week and was designed to introduce Belgian breweries that have an interest in bringing their beers to the US market to potential importers as well as shops, media and catering outlets.
The beer was Dame Jeanne’s Brut D’Anvers, a Belgian Brut Beer.
Brewers Patrick Theunissen, from Dame Jeanne and Mark Struyf, from Brewery Den Triest designed the recipe for this award-winning beer which Brewery Den Triest brews and then sends to be finished (fermentation on champagne yeast, riddling, freezing, de-yeasting from the bottles, corking, labeling and packing the bottles) in their production site: Dame Jeanne.
Dame Jeanne is unique in that while there have been other “champagne- style” brut beers brewed in Belgium, these beers have traditionally been sent to France to be completed via méthode champenoise. Jeanne Damme’s line of beers are entirely produced in Belgium, from start to finish.
I asked Patrick a few questions about his beer and his thoughts on bringing it to the US Market. Here is what he had to say:
Name: Patrick Theunissen
Position at Company: Owner
Where are your beers now? i.e. what countries?
We are a very small local company. We are going to expand our production in a new warehouse by the end of this year so we just started to look into possibilities from other countries. This summer we started to export to France, Spain and Norway. In October we will send our first shipment to Australia and expand our distribution network into the Netherlands. We are also testing the beer at this moment to start export to Japan.
Why do you want to come into the American market?
There are so many Beers in the American market, and also many good national beers, but Brut beers “methode traditional” is not known by brewers in the states.
When do you think we will be seeing your beers here?
On the Belgian Beer week in New York we had positive reactions from the catering industry who wanted to work with our products but we didn’t find an importer yet… so no idea when it will be available in the US, but always welcome to come and drink our beers in Belgium.
There are so many Belgian beers, What is special about your beer that makes it something worth seeking out in Belgium as well as bringing to the USA?
At Dame Jeanne we transform basic tasty Belgian beers into pearly bubbly brut beers, which charm both beer and wine lovers alike. We do this by “champagning” the basic beers completely in keeping with the “méthode traditionnelle”. Thanks to a controlled refermentation with champagne yeast in the bottle by way of manual riddling and traditional de-yeasting.
We are the only production who is doing riddling and freezing from bottled beer in Belgium.
What is your next favorite beer? brewery? (Aside from your own, that is.)
Gouden Carolus Whisky infused, brewery Het Anker and of course Triest IPA from brewery Den Triest….but this beer you will not find in the states.
How long have you been in the beer industry and what attracted you to beer/brewing in the first place?
We where originally making sparkling wine. In 2013 we started the beer project in cooperation with Marc Struyf from microbrewery Den Triest one of the best brewers in Belgium with a tremendous knowledge of the all hops you can find on this world.
Marc knew how to make great beer, we had the knowledge to make good sparkling wine. So why not combine the best of 2 worlds into 1 special drink? This resulted in our first beer Dame Jeanne “Brut d’Anvers”, the most champagne-like beer on the market.
In 2016 I completed the brewers school in Brussels so I can create my own beer and fully understand the whole process…but also today Marc is still sharing his knowledge so we can transform the exceptional basic beer into a tasty and pearly brut beer with a firm head.
Anything else really cool that you want to share with our readers?
Beer connoisseur and author of various international beer guides, Derek Walsh, called the Brut d’Anvers the most champagne-like and best brut beer that he had ever tasted. In our first year this brut beer won first prize at the Modeste beer festival in Antwerp, and was also pronounced to be the best brut beer at the Brussels Beer Challenge international beer competition.