As a fan of all things artisanal, nothing excites me more than stepping into a place that looks the same as it did 100 years ago. When my eyes adjusted to the dim light, inside the Brasserie Caracole, I could see this Belgian brewery was just such a place.
Dinant’s Brasserie Caracole brews artisanal and organic Belgian beer over an open fire, just as they have since the 18th century.
In the centre of the front room stands one large vat for mixing the 850kg of malt with hot water. (Caracole is apparently the last beer to be brewed over an open fire in all of Europe.) Hops and spices are added to the mix as the beer gradually ferments. From there, the beer is piped into a holding tank, for 15 days, where it will become clearer as it cools.
My favourite part of the Brasserie Caracole was tucked behind the brewing room. Here, the building opened into a large hall, filled with tables, and the prominent bar displaying Caracole’s Belgian beer varieties. The walls were decorated with posters of the colourful and quirky beer labels, each one sporting a ‘caracole’ or snail-shell.
The Brasserie Caracole is well worth a visit. It’s open every day during July and August and Sunday afternoons the rest of the year. To organize a tour, be sure to contact them in advance.
More Information: http://cheeseweb.eu/2013/10/artisanal-organic-belgian-beer-caracole-brewery-dinant/
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The Beer Brewer
We sat in the rustic brewery which smelled of hops and grain and enjoyed tasting each artisanal brew with the various meats, cheeses, flamiche, and bread. The Beer Brewer showed up after our lunch as he was finishing up yet another batch of snail beer. The Brasserie La Caracole is located in a small village in Falmignoul – and it was a small, local operation.
Their portfolio consists of four unfiltered and unpasteurized stock ales: Caracole, Nostradamus, Saxo , and Troublette – all with the signature snail image on them. The snail is the emblem of Namur and the word for a snail in local Namurois dialect is “Caracole”.
More Information: http://www.ottsworld.com/blogs/belgium-food-travel/