Hobbybrouwerij Het Nest has a fun story and some great beers to go with it. What started out as a beer tasting club amongst friends eventually grew into taking brewing courses in 2007. That’s when Hobbybrouwerij, which translates to “home brewery,” Het Nest (the cradle) was founded. Since then, they’ve been brewing more volume and variety, while winning medals for their products. Their growth has been quite excellent leading them to signing papers to buy some land and put up their own brewery and tasting room which should be going online in 2014. I’m not sure where they’re brewing currently, but I’ll reach out to them and find out.
SchuppenAas translates to “Ace of Spades.” Founded in Turnhout, Belgium, Het Nest chose to use playing cards as their theme with good reason. Turnhout is one of the world’s major production places for playing cards and other cards such as the ones in a Monopoly board game. They call SchuppenAas an “amber,” but it would be more closely considered to be what Americans would call a “Belgian Pale Ale.” The best correlation would be to think of it as being in the style of Orval. Slightly darker than Orval, both feature a nice hop character (Tomahawk & Simcoe) and a unique yeast character that comes from using Brettanomyces for secondary fermentation (click here to learn more about wild yeast like Brettanomyces).
Appearance: Cloudy Amber/Orange, beige head, great retention.
Aroma: Hop spice, citrus notes, earthy, orange zest, funky notes.
Taste: White pepper, spicy, funky, light barnyard notes, crisp hoppy finish. The finish is also quite long and very pleasant.
Overall Impression: What a beer! I’ve had one other beer from this brewery (review to come later) and have thus far been very impressed. This tiny hobby brewery which is quickly growing into a full-fledged brewery has done a great job creating really good recipes and putting them into interesting packaging that really “pops” on a shelf. I’d like to try this beer truly fresh and then try it next to an aged version to see its development. I imagine it will develop much like Orval does; I also imagine this beer will develop a similar fan base which divides itself into “new” SchuppenAas and “old” SchuppenAas. They’re still not producing much beer yet, so if you see anything from Het Nest, grab it while you can. I’ll be very excited to see their new brewery go online so that we can get more of their fine beers.
Availability: Highly small production, grab it while you can. They’re imported by Shelton Brothers, check with stores that carry beers from this importer.