De Dolle Brouwers
The brewery dates back to 1835 when brewing was not a main profession but something that people did on the side. The village had only 2,000 inhabitants but there were six breweries and two distilleries! Doctor Louis Nevejan founded the brewery, and later the distillery.
During the war the entire area was destroyed. It took some time to rebuild and restore the brewery. In the 1980s, Kris Herteleer, his brother Jo, and a friend,
Roméo, took over the brewery and De Dolle was born. Fun fact - the name De Dolle Brouwers comes from a bicycle club 'De Dolle Dravers' (The Mad Trotters)!
The brewery retains its charm by resembling the art of making beer back in the 1800s. Main brewing equipment is made from copper and cast iron. Having this way of brewing also keeps the tradition and taste authentic and unique.
Fermenters are also in copper giving the beers a soft taste. A distinctive feature of the brewery is the Baudelot cooler. This is a French invention from 1857 and this may be one of the few breweries that has it up and running. Comparing it to modern and new breweries, they cannot use such a cooler.
The water used is gathered from wells around the brewery. The hops come locally from the region of Poperinge. Kris uses two kinds in brewing for simplicity - the Nugget Hops and the WGV (Whitbread Golding Variety). These can be found in the Arabier (the name of the beer refers on the one hand to the macaw, this is also shown on the label. On the other hand, the name of course also refers to Arabia, but where one is not allowed to drink beer.). On top of that, the brewery works with local farmers by providing the used hops for feeding the livestock.
Although the brewery is small, this gives the brewing more flexibility in terms of density. They are able to brew approximately 3,000 liters per batch. Candi or cane sugar, instead of crystal sugar, is used to achieve extra taste. Arabier and Stout, however, do not have any added sugar.
The Oerbier man is the “mascot” of the brewery, symbolizing the primitive way of brewing. He pays hommage to the traditional way of brewing that De Dolle has kept. The brewer’s fork, he holds in his right hand, emphasizes work and science while holding the glass in his left hand proudly showcasing the finished product. The name comes from the times when the beer was brewed at home in very small quantities and “primitive” conditions.