Our friends, Belgian brewer/blender Armand and his wife Lydie Debelder, recently suffered a heart wrenching production set-back at their brewery 3 Fonteinen. A brewery thermostat broke and as a result, excessive heat ruined about 100,000 bottles of lambic and gueuze in storage - representing about a third of their annual revenue. Armand hopes to distill the beer and create unique new product as a way of making the best of an unfortunate situation.
Armand has been a great friend and inspiration to creative brewers throughout the world. I got to spend some time with him alongside Vinnie (Russian River), Tomme (Port Brewing), Adam Avery Brewing), and Rob (Allagash Brewery) when we toured Belgian breweries a few years ago and again with a bunch of Italian craft brewing brethren when we all participated in Salon De Gusto in Turin last year. On that same trip I got to brew at a batch of My Antonia (a continually-hopped imperial pilsner) at Birra del Borgo, a great brewery outside of Rome with my friend the owner Leonardo DiVincenzo. Like us Leonardo is a great fan of Armand's beers and we received the news of their accident just before Leonardo was scheduled to come visit us in Delaware. We decided to brew a beer together along with our lead brewer Bryan Selders and my wife Mariah that would be a tribute to 3 Fonteinen. We will be sending a portion of the profits to 3 Fonteinen but more importantly we wanted to use this brew as a celebration of the vibrant, creative Belgian brewing culture that, in our minds, 3 Fonteinen embodies. Our ultimate goal is that news of this brew and the production set-back will inspire beer enthusiasts to seek out 3 Fonteinen beers in which ever town and country they live in.
The beer we are brewing together at our Rehoboth pub is a Belgian White made with dried organic orange slices, fresh cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander. The brew is scheduled for this Thursday, (6/11/09) and it should go on tap at our pub in about three weeks. Mariah had the idea for the lemongrass and orange slices and also the name: Namaste.
The gesture Namaste represents the belief that there is a Divine spark within each of us that is located in the heart chakra. The gesture is an acknowledgment of the soul in one by the soul in another. In other words it is a show of mutual respect and admiration - a great single word summary of the inspiration behind this brew.
Here's what Armand had to say when Leonardo, Bryan, Mariah, and I let him and Lydie know of our intentions for this brew:
" I am very impressed by the moral support of the many beer lovers in US and Italy. We got mail from all over the world, especially from beer lovers who already visited our brewery. They all give us the courage to continue with our brewing of authentic beer. The brewing of Namaste is heartwarming and shows that good beer can bring people together. A good pint knows no barriers or frontiers. I was really impressed last year by the quality of some American beers. My wife Lydie and I were invited by Daniël Shelton to the memorial of Michael Jackson and attended the Philly Beerweek. I lived a tremendous week and met some wonderful brewers such as Sam Calagione, brewing marvelous beer. In January we were at 4:20, a famous beerpub in Rome and there again we met some great Italian brewers creating very nice beers. To me, a brewer of a very ancient limbic beer, it is very encouraging to see that there are such good beers made outside of Belgium. Belgium has got a very long tradition of brewing but in a way this is keeping many brewers away from the "creating" part in brewing. The "freedom" to try out new beers in very various styles in US and Italy is bringing renewal to the beerworld. The brewing of Namaste is not only a financial help to 3 Fonteinen brewery, it is also a statement of respect and international craft beer solidarity. "
My reply... RIGHT BACK AT YA ARMAND! WE ARE STOKED TO MAKE THIS BEER - WE INVITE ALL BEER ENTHUSIASTS TO OUR REHOBOTH PUB TO TRY IT AND WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEEK OUT THE AMAZING BEERS OF 3 FONTEINEN WHEREEVER YOU MAY BE.
NAMASTE. - SAM CALAGIONE