Founded in March of 2001 De Struise Brouwers (roughly translated “the sturdy brewers”) has become a world renowned brewing operation. What started out as a means to provide visitors of an ostrich farm with good beer, Urbain Coutteau and Philippe Driessens, along with Carlos Grootaert, is now a business in its own right. Located in the Flanders region of Belgium in Oostvletern (right down the road from Westvleteren) a beer is produced in honor of the nearby fishermen.
From what I can tell there are three variations of Pannepot that build on the former brew.
- Pannepot – a dark strong ale (10%)
- Pannepot Reserva – oak aged version bottled yearly (10%)
- Pannepot Grand Reserva – portion moved to Calvados barrels for further aging (10%)
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle of the Reserva from the 2008 vintage. After a nice two years of being cellared I figured it was time to open this up.
What I found was a glorious brew that behaved like a combination of a Flanders Oud Bruin and Quad. The pour was deep brown with burnt red and orange colors making it a fitting brew for the Fall. After a little swirl, I noticed that it had legs and produced a creamy beige one finger head.
The aromas were of deep fruits such as figs and dates supported by a strong grape/raisin notes. Sweet, candied, and caramel malts added a rich dimension. There was a minor hint if sourness and wood tannins that I likened to Petrus’ Oud Bruin.
Wow…despite the abv this beer is truly easy sipping at its finest. Packed with residual sugars, a moderate sweetness is left on the palate shortly after a dry finish where the oak is more noticeable. The aromas mentioned above are all found in the taste with the addition of a toasty bread aspect. Jammy, chewy, and syrupy define the mouthfeel.
I would land this beer right in between my Rochefort 10 and Petrus Oud Bruin grades.