They say…

Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
"A joy to read" - Roger Protz
"Very authoritative" - Tim Webb.
"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
"A beer guru" - Popbitch.
Des de Moor


Thiriez Vieille Brune

ABV: 5.8%
Origin: Esquelbec, Nord, France


Daniel Thiriez seems incapable of making uninteresting beer: everything I’ve tasted from his self-named brewery has had something to say for itself as well as being consistently of high quality. The brewery is in the historic beer country of French Flanders, still dotted with old-established farmhouse breweries producing the traditional bière de garde style of the region. Daniel’s work pays respect to that heritage without letting it prevent him from pushing the boundaries and innovating in the more recent tradition of the international craft brewer.

Vieille Brune is a case in point, a beer clearly inspired by the sour red ale of East Flanders, some way north on the other side of the Belgian border, but reconceived as a personal interpretation that also connects with the growing interest among specialist drinkers in wood-aged beers. Matured in French oak casks previously used for wine, it was originally conceived as an ultra-limited edition one-off, though more of the same now seems to be trickling from the brewery. I managed to persuade the effusive Simon Thillou of the Cave à Bulles beer shop in Beaubourg, Paris, to sell me a 750ml bottle from the small stock he was keeping back for regular customers, and it was bottle 60 of 250. That was back in July 2008, and I hung onto the beer for six months before tasting.

Vieille Brune pours a very dark ruby brown, with a smooth and plentiful fawn head, and a fruity, woody, balsamic aroma with hints of orange peel that immediately calls to mind the East Flanders classic, Rodenbach. A very complex and sourish malty palate has dates, brown sauce, chocolate, violets, bitter orange and minerally retronasals. The swallow is smooth and fluffy, leading to a tangy slightly citric finish with wood and dirty metal notes.

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