It’s been a while since I posted a review from my friends at Hof ten Dormaal. This January they suffered a major brewery fire. Instead of bringing down the family-owned brewery, the fire seemed to inspire the Janssens to new heights of creativity. 2015 started hard but saw a flurry of collaborations, an amazing new festival, and a slew of fantastically creative new beers. That’s not to say the Janssens family wasn’t creative prior to their brewery disaster, they certainly were. Their Zure van Tildonk is a prime example of their pre-fire innovation.
Zure van Tildonk, Tildonk Sour in translation, is the breweries first widely available sour ale. When I met with Andre Janssens in November of 2014, he told me how they developed this great beer. They brewed a batch of wort then filled 20 buckets and spread them around their family farm. After they were spontaneously inoculated with the ambient yeast, they fermented out the various buckets. Then they put them to an exhaustive process to decide which one to use. They decided simply figuring out which one was the best tasting to them. They then cultured the yeast from their favorite bucket and that became the wild yeast mix for the Zure van Tildonk.
In essence, it’s an odd mixed-fermentation that started out as a spontaneous fermentation and was then cultured out to a house pitched sour culture. Each year, they release a new vintage. This is their 2013 vintage.
Appearance: Gold with a light haze, off white head, great retention.
Aroma: Light earthiness, herbal, floral, light mushroom notes, spicy esters and phenols, citric, blood orange.
Taste: Citrus, blood orange, meyer lemon, funk, and earthiness.
Overall Impression: Zure van Tildonk is soft and tart with a long finish. For a brewery with no history of sour beers, this is an excellent entry into the category. Hof ten Dormaal’s innovation and experimentation more often than not pays off with a delicious beer. This beer is no exception. If you’re looking for nice sours to add to your collection, you wouldn’t go wrong buying a bottle of this to drink.
Availability: Nationally where 12% Imports beers are sold.
You can read more about Hof ten Dormaal, including my beer reviews, on my page dedicated to them.