Hof Ten Dormaal & Oxbow Tildonk Special
Where in Town: Pizzeria Paradiso, 2003 P St. NW
Price: $8/12 oz
Farm to Farm
In beer, the moniker “farmhouse” originally denoted generations of the same family working their hereditary lands—growing crops, raising livestock, and brewing their own liquid sustenance. Today, most beers with the label merely use a European farmhouse brewery’s yeast, but Oxbow Brewing and Brouwerij Hof Ten Dormaal take the term more literally. The former has spent the last three years crafting Belgo-American style brews in the remote woods of Lincoln County, Maine, where it also raises pigs and keeps a fruit orchard. The latter is a small, 100-percent sustainable brewhouse in Flemish Belgium that has been producing beer for only five years but is on a centuries-old farm run by the Janssens family for the last three decades. Last April, Oxbow co-founder Tim Adams visited the Janssens to join brewing forces.
Tildonk Special, named for the nearby town, is patterned after Adams’ favorite of the Janssens family brews: Wit Goud (White Gold). The blonde ale with chicory, like all Hof Ten Dormaal’s beers, uses only ingredients produced on the farm. Pilsner malt and raw wheat give way to bread and subtle caramel flavors. Roasted chicory root adds a woody bitterness and suggests the flavor of endive. Hof Ten Dormaal’s house-cultivated yeast and a healthy dose of Saaz hops impart earthy, fruity aromas. The refreshing 8-percent-alcohol brew is medium dry with a warm finish. Bad news: The two kegs sent to the United States will be empty by the time you read this. But a limited number of bottles will be available at select D.C. and Maryland craft beer bars and shops soon.
Photo by Tammy Tuck