In April my wife and I planned a day in Amsterdam. We visited brouwerij De Prael in the city and went of a nice dinner for two afterwards. Dinner was great with wine, pintxos and other dishes. What I wanted to write about today was the brewery tour.
Brouwerij De Prael much like De 7 Deugden works with employability-challenged people. That ranges from people with a criminal record, a mental disability to lawyers recovering from a burn out. That makes that they employ more people than they would strictly need if they did things otherwise, but I very much applaud the way they do things now. More places should do this I think.
Anyway, they produce about 3000 liters or beer per week, since fermentation takes about a week and they have three 1000 liter tanks for that. For such a tiny place in one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam that still is rather remarkable.
They have air filtration systems since there are many people living around the place and those people don’t really like to live in the smell of a brewery. Apart from that, the setup is rather comparable to most tiny breweries.
The tour guide looked more like a biker than a brewery volunteer and IT guy, but that didn’t hamper anything. What did hamper everything was the sheer lack of fact checking that was going on.
It started with “All our malts come from a small maltster in Germany” when there were only bags lying around that had a huge “Product of Belgium” stamp on them. I find such things weird, especially when it’s not just an error, it’s plain to see for everyone. Honest mistake, no problem.
Then the story about yeast started. According to our guide, yeast is only a catalyst and does not produce alcohol by itself. The wort itself does that by fermenting the sugar. The yeast is just there to help things a bit. Also yeast is a plant product, not an organism and it doesn’t multiply. 1 kilo goes in, 1 kilo comes out.
When someone bluntly asked (not me this time) why every other brewery says differently, it was because they are wrong.
I got annoyed. My wife got annoyed. If we wouldn’t have been on the other side of the premises we would have walked off at this point, since we had seen all equipment and didn’t feel like listening to such bullcrap any longer.
Afterwards I think I should have said something but I was too baffled and polite to do so.
The beers we tasted in the tasting room were nice. We had a package deal with four tasters in it. I would have loved for them to poor some more limited editions instead of the usual suspects, but I couldn’t complain.