On this episode of the Brewer to Brewer podcast Marika Josephson of Scratch Brewing interviews Yvan De Baets of Brasserie de la Senne.

De Baets is not only a talented and passionate brewer, but he is a student of history. On the show the two talks about the history of saison and farmhouse ale and the difficulty in pinning down just how those early beers were made in Belgium.

Given the printed materials available today it is difficult to determine how the beers were made in farmer’s breweries and and professional breweries says De Baets.

“When you think of a beer made at a farm it’s not the main job of the guy to make beer, his main job is to be a farmer, and make beer during a few months in the winter. And of course, some of them were most probably excellent brewers. Maybe not all of them. I don’t know. It’s also extremely, extremely poorly documented what happened in farms. Because, and especially what happened in the breweries in in the farms, because small farmers were, most of them,most of them poor people. They couldn’t afford to have like a copper kettle or things like that.”

He says there are some written accounts about production, ingredients, and other aspects of brewing, but these are scattered and there are few records, even from big breweries at the time, available.

“We don’t exactly know what was happening there. But we know that the we had plenty of breweries after the French Revolution. The vast majority of the breweries were attached to a farm. And then step by step, the illusion devolution made so that the they stopped the farming activities and kept the brewing activities or reverse. So most of what’s happening for beer making in the countryside was first made in the farm. I found lots of records showing that even until the 1930s, in Belgium, we still had many farms having a brewery also. So in the countryside, it was something extremely common.”

Listen to the whole conversation where you download podcasts including Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon, and Overcast.

About Yvan De Baets

Yvan De Baets is Head-brewer, co-owner and founder of Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels, Belgium.

He took a formal brewing education at the Meurice Institute for Brewing and Malting Science in Brussels. He is now guest-speaker of the seminar “History of Beer and Brewing” there, as well as in the Postgraduate Programme of Malting and Brewing Sciences of the KU-Leuven university.He is also a beer writer, specialized in ancient Belgian brewing techniques, and a lecturer in various brewing conferences and forums. 

Yvan judges in different international beer contests, like -among others- the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, European Beer Star, Birra dell’Anno, Dutch Beer Challenge and France Bière Challenge.

This episode is sponsored by:

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