This weeks guests are from Brussels, Belgium. It's there that they own a very American-inspired brewery called Brussels Beer Project.
I first visited their spot a couple years ago when they'd just established themselves after contract brewing. It was a space defined by a new urban aesthetic that you find the world over, with bright colors, cafe-style furniture, and an open floor plan. Not to mention beer styles ranging from hoppy IPAs to big, sweet Stouts, Saison, and everything in between—a bit of a universal vibe that you might associate more with cities in general than Brussels specifically.
Indeed, their project is very much defined by its young community audience, folks who have helped them raise funds and decide on beer styles. That dynamic creates a very different approach and vision for what a brewery means to its fans and customers. And it's a big step away from tradition in a historical brewing county like Belgium.
As you saw with last week’s guest, there are strong opinions in Belgian beer about things such as contract brewing, techniques, and traditions. But what I find, taking a step back, aren’t oppositional forces but, rather, differing visions for what a brewery can and should be. And I think a big part of what you’ll hear in this interview is that maybe the word “should” can be left out of the conversation, as every generation defines these things for themselves. And rather, focus on “could,” that magical word that makes it possible to consider other ways of doing things, with a different purpose, but valuable and interesting all the same.
Running these interviews back-to-back is coincidental. I happened to meet the founders of Brussels Beer Project in Chicago recently at a taproom opening and invited them over to record. But I’m happy for this overlap as they are highly relevant to each other in both location and subject matter.