Young female entrepreneurs don’t have it easy and starting a new brewery in Belgium at the age of 25 would be a daunting task for most young persons.
Not so for Anne-Catherine Dilewyns, founder of Dilewyns Brewery, but then again she probably had it in her genes; her great grandmother, Anna-Coletta Wauman, turned a former benzine oil factory in Dendermonde into a brewery in 1875. She was the ‘Brew Master’, given as occupation in her passport and the brewery stayed in operation until WWII, when, as with so many other small Belgian breweries the brew kettles were confiscated by the occupying Germans.
A bigger influence, however, was her father, Vincent Dilewyns. He took up home brewing in 1999 and his beers were so good that a few years later Anne-Catherine persuaded him to take the next step, commercial production.
The beers were brewed by the Proef brewery, a small brewery created in 1996 and dedicated to the production of small batches for third partys. The success continued and the circle closed; the new Dilewyns brewery in Dendermonde started in 2011 and produces five unique beers. Vincent, Anne-Catherine and her sister, Claire are all involved in the daily running of, what can only be called, a real family brewery.
I’ve chosen Vicaris tripel , the first beer to be produced commercially and a class where I’m not easily pleased. Quirky and garish labels from recent small breweries could lead one to believe that there is an inverse relationship to the quality of the beer. The subdued Vicaris label with a modest rearing horse ought to bode well if this theory has any foundation!
It poured a cloudy golden orange with a medium head which left a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is of fruit (mostly apple and pear) together with slight malt and peppery spice. The fruit develops in taste to incorporate peach, apricot and ripe melon but doesn’t push the sweetness too far. The spice remains peppery with some phenolic clove and a hint of coriander and the malt is present but well in the background.
Hops bring in a nice flowery herbal element and the alcohol at 8.5 % vol. is perfectly balanced as is the follow through which doesn’t allow anything to unduly dominate. All in all, a well balanced, complex and very enjoyable tripel. Not up to a Westmalle but not far short of Karmeliet. Buy it if you can.