Brouwery ‘t Hofbrouwerijke is another high level brewer trained initially by Brewery Deca in 2005 and later by Brewery De Ranke for an additional 2-3 years. Jef Goetelen, the owner at ‘t Hofbrouwerijke received brewing training from probably two of the best brewers in Belgium : Nino Bacelle and George Christiaens. Jef skills and quality of beers quickly attracted very quickly the attention of major beer importers in the USA and begun exporting a major portion of his production across the Atlantic.
But Jef, is not only a passionate brewer. His passion for the beer world goes the extra mile as he is also in charge of building and installing breweries around the world for one of Belgium’s top brewing equipment manufacturers: Brouwland.
With a bioengineering background, Jef was not also interested in the whole brewing process, but also in the biology and chemistry at a molecular level of every brewing phase.
In 2012, Jef realised his home brewing activities were too intense as he was brewing on weekends 5-6 times a month. “It was not a hobby anymore and wanted to keep it that way” he admitted during BelgiBeer’s visit.
He hence begun to redesign the brewery with heavy construction works to increase capacity to a 20HL facility with an underground refermentation room, packaging and storage room : “the bunker”. The works ended in 2017, turning his family home into a fully functional medium sized brewery with a large garden to host regular “pizza and beer” events.
Jef, also rents out his equipment to future brewers and under his supervision, helps them develop their brewing skills and recipes. “It’s really important they [aspiring brewers], make the job themselves. Otherwise it will not be done”.
The beers Jef produces are also very innovative. One of his beers the Berliner weisse contains Yogurt to provide specific taste and aroma. He likes experimenting while reassuring his customers that all his basic beer ranges are stable and do not change with time expect perhaps for his “Dungeon Series”.
Jef keeps his brewing activities to as a part time job mostly as a hobby because he loves making beers that he likes. “If you become a full time brewer, you will have to follow market trends and do what people like the most. I just want to stay true to myself and follow my own ideas. And there is a crazy trend out there in which they expect brewers to produce a new beer and new tastes from time to time!”.
“I don’t want to make every month a new beer, these are hypes that come and go”.
The aim at ‘t Hofbrouwerijke is to stay local, honest and good.
Hof Weisse Widow-Berliner Weisse
ABV : 3,5%
VOL : 33 cl
Anecdote: Produced by adding yogurt passionfruit and grapefruit.
Eye: Slightly hazy, golden yellow with a white layer.
Aroma: Peachy and citrusy hoppy.
Taste: Mildly fruity onset, restrained sweetness with crisp sourness on top, impressions of gooseberry, passion fruit, sour green apple and even a hint of lime to confirm sourness.
Food: Maatjes, Mussels, Shrimps or scampy
Hop a Billy
ABV : 6%
VOL : 33 cl
Anecdote: The brewery’s dry hopped saison.
Eye: White head with lots of CO2.
Aroma: Nice perfumed saison, where the aroma comes from Citra and Cascade dry hopping.
Taste: Very refreshing beer, with a soft dry bitter after touch.
Food: Pizza, BBQ meat, exotic salads, curry’s
ABV : 10.5%
VOL : 33 cl
Anecdote: The brewery’s imperial stout- single malt. A beer inspired by Jef’s son while he was living in Sweden. Father and son used to brew this together every time the son returned from the Scandinavian country.
Eye: Black ale with brown reflections and extraordinarily strong opacity. Creamy and stable brown foam.
Aroma: Aromas of coffee, mocha, chestnut, syrup, cooked pears.
Taste: At first Turkish coffee with a burned woody feeling. The second sip confirms the nice texture, and more harmony in flavours.
Food: Steak, pronounced cheeses, everything smoked or grilled, sabayon.
ABV : 7%
VOL : 33 cl
Anecdote: The brewery’s still type and sour ale.
Eye: No foam. Light reddish amber colour due to the 6 months’ maturation on Raspberry and Bromberry casks.
Aroma: Very sweet flowers in the nose, fruity, perfume, light funky, ripe fruits and candy.
Taste: Round sour touch, due to the process, where the 7% alcohol keeps some “sweetness”. Sweet apples, herbal, flowers, perfume, sweet soap, nicely tart flowers, candy, honey, sweet cake.
Food: Lobster, grilled chicken, döner kebap.