When I visited Brouwerij de Schuur, a small brewery housed in a garage in Linden, Flemish Brabant, on Halloween day, I knew it would be a special visit, as owner Jan Symons doesn’t grant many tours.
It was, as expected. The small brewery brews less than 100 hl of beer every year, but Symons crafts some well-made, interesting brews, such as Meneer, a fine hoppy blond with 7.5% abv and 30 ibu. The Nikolaas Tripel was easily as interesting. It’s a deep amber tripel with about 9% abv. These beers are brewed with flair, in my opinion, so seek them out if in Belgium. Incidentally, “De Schuur” means “The Barn” which was where the brewery first started, years ago.
I didn’t know that I’d meet a future Belgian brewer that day, but I did. Bert Symons, Jan’s son, joined us during the tasting, which included a couple of my Belgian friends, Marie Vanhellemont and Ludo Donny. When Jan mentioned his son helped out in the brewery and planned a career in brewing, we were intrigued. When Bert, all of 17 years old, produced a 60+ page paper about brewing, written for a high school class, we were more than impressed.
The booklet, er, paper, Bert is holding in the photo at the top of the page reads: “The Beer Brewing Process: Hop Efficiency.” Yes, you read that correctly.
This kid is going places.
As far as the De Schuur beers, there is one store in the town of Linden that carries them, and Symons has a lot of loyal customers that purchase beers directly from him. Yep, these beers are tough to find.
More photos from De Schuur: