BRUSSELS (Reuters) - In a country where some 200 breweries produce well over 1,000 different beers, surely no one is considering brewing their own?
The Belgian Home-brewers Association, set up in June, already has 60 members and more are signing up each week, keen to exchange tips and get cheaper ingredients such as malt and hops by getting together to buy in bulk.
“It’s the taste of discovery, the taste of a well made product, brewing is my passion,” said Axel Henrard, the club’s head, standing next to an intricate set-up of pots, heaters and hoses at his amateur brewery in a barn in southern Belgium.
Arnaud Laloy, 29, who started a tiny brewery in his garage, said: “I saw all the small breweries and thought, well, if they can do it as well as the big brewers I‘m quite interested in trying it myself.”
Members of the group gather online to discuss fermenting temperatures, brewing equipment and recipes, though Henrard, a psychologist by day, insists a recipe is no use without knowing how to brew.
“It’s not the recipe which makes the beer,” he said. “It is the way in which the brewer interacts with his equipment.”
Reporting by Francois Lenoir; Writing by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Robin Pomeroy