I first met Breandán Kearney in 2013 at a Dublin beer blogging conference. Neither of us were working professionally in the beer industry at the time, and I’m not sure either of us even had aspirations to at that point.
And now, here we both are, inside the cozy Siphon (pronounced “see-fon”) restaurant, in the Belgian village of Damme, near Bruges. It’s here that Breandán has started a modest 5-hectoliter brewery that shares the same name as the restaurant. I’ve always admired and been somewhat envious of the great writing and photography on his blog, Belgian Smaak, not to mention his growing collection of Good Beer Hunting stories. One sip of his Blinker Saison was enough to make me envious of his third talent. Some guys truly have it all.
I’m not the only impressed one, either—200 people pack out Siphon and join in the revelry at SmaakDown, the annual beer and chocolate festival run by Kearney and his fiancée Elisa. After a few more beers, my envy turns to admiration, and I happily join the throng of folks waiting to tell him just how great his beer is.