Matt Dick of Belfast's Boundary Brewing visited Belgium last year to take part in a collaboration brew with Brouwerij Alvinne, a small brewery in West Flanders that focuses on sour ales and barrel aging.
Boundary and Alvinne made a high-gravity sour ale called Phi³ during which they mashed in three times and used the leaves and branches of spruce trees as a natural filter. The beer was fermented at 40°C with Alvinne's house strain, a mixed culture of yeast and bacteria which the Belgian brewery has named Morpheus.
Before heading back home to Belfast, Dick stopped by Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, where Armand De Belder showed him the recently opened lambik-O-droom, a new barrel-aging, blending, and bottling facility that includes a cafe and shop for curious visitors. De Belder guided Dick to a seemingly unremarkable field, shielded from view behind the main building, a plot of land from which 3 Fonteinen hope to harvest fruit for their Oude Kriek in years to come.
Here, De Belder and Dick walk the dividing line between the newly planted schaarbeekse cherry trees and the edge of the orchard, which extends all the way back to a smattering of homes in the tiny village—population: 4,300—of Lot. They talk beer and travel, De Belder mentioning that he'd always wanted to visit Ireland, Dick replying that he loved hosting new friends. Mighty cherry trees from small seedlings grow.