Brouwerij De Plukker was one of my more enjoyable finds on my 2014 fall trip. I’d heard good things about the family hop farm turned tiny brewery. Joris Cambie, Belgium’s only organic hop farmer, decided he wanted to be able to drink beers made from his hops so decided to brew his own. When I visited, his operation was still very small. He’d just bought a new labeling machine much to joy of his kids, the former labeling machines. He’s since added more capacity.
It’ll probably be a long time before Joris can send beer to the US. He sells his beer in Belgium as fast as he can make it. Since then, I’ve run into Joris and his brewery Kris here in Oregon when they came to visit the hop farms and Oregon State University’s hop program and got to show him around town a bit. I was pleased to meet his daughter last spring at the Leuven Innovation Festival. I learned she’d be studying brewing at University to eventually head the brewing operations at De Plukker.
Keikoppen is De Plukker’s original beer and my first experience with the brewery. I had the chance to try it for the first time with Joris at his brewery and small tasting room.
Appearance: Hazy gold, white head, great retention.
Aroma: Earthy, spicy, floral, mossy, notes of grain, bubblegum.
Taste: Earthy, caramel touches, grainy cracker notes.
Overall Impression: If you talk to Joris for any amount of time, he’ll talk about bottle conditioning and carbonation. Like me, he believes that intense carbonation created through bottle conditioning is one of the true marks of a well executed Belgian beer and Belgian-style beer. His beers posses this trait with style. De Plukker beers feature beautiful carbonation and Keikoppen is no exception. Dry and balanced, the CO2 creates a lovely mouthfeel and carries the estate grown hops right to your nose! De Plukker Keikoppen is elegant, balanced, flavorful and an ideal showcase for Joris’s organic, estate-grown hops. If you’re traveling around West Flanders and see one of De Plukker’s beers, don’t hesitate to buy one or two or more! You’ll be very happy you did.
Availability: Not currently available in the US. In small quantities in Belgium.
Notes: Best by July 2016, tasted on November 30, 2015.