Brouwerij RODENBACH of Belgium, arguably the most awarded brewery globally, the leading brewer of oak-aged mixed-fermentation ale dating back to 1821 and an inspirational source for sour beer producers around the world, today announced an intent to brew a collaboration beer with Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, the iconic US craft brewery and producer of the fastest growing beer in the fastest growing craft beer style in America, SeaQuench Ale a session sour.*
Today’s news marks the first time RODENBACH has agreed to a collaboration brew in its nearly 200-year history, and a monumental step forward in bringing a unique sour beer to consumers who are seeking a refreshing alternative to what’s currently available on the market today. Known and loved throughout Belgium for its deliciously refreshing qualities and an exceptional choice for pairing with a variety of foods, sour beer has become one of the fastest-growing segments in beer and is responsible for introducing new generations of consumers into the beer industry.
“This is an historic moment for our brewery,” said Rudi Ghequire, Master Brewer of RODENBACH Brewery. “Not only is the time right for this partnership as sour beer has become more popular than ever before (thanks in large part to Dogfish Head’s SeaQuench Ale), but we found an incredible partner and kindred spirit in Sam Calagione and the Dogfish Head brewing team. Though centuries and an ocean apart, our breweries share many similar values and principles. From our independent and family-owned brewery to the spirit of collaboration among the people at our respective organizations, our shared appreciation and respect for quality ingredients, and how the coast influences both of our beers. We couldn’t have found a more perfect partner in our first collaboration voyage, and we’re excited for the journey ahead.”
“I have been a huge fan of Rodenbach beers since the early 2000’s when legendary beer writer, Michael Jackson, turned me on to them at the Brickskeller in DC. RODENBACH are the global pioneers in sour and wild beers production. Dogfish Head is proud to have the number one selling sour beer in America. So we have a lot to learn and explore together — and getting to know Rudi, David and the Rodenbach team has been rewarding and fun. I am confident we are going to make a beautiful, unique beer together,” said Sam Calagione.
Traditional Meets Modern
The idea of a partnership first came about following a panel discussion of leading sour beer experts at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in March, 2018. Rudi Ghequire was joined by several sour beer brewmasters including Bill Marchi, head of Wooden…It Be Nice!, Dogfish Head’s wild beer and barrel aged program, to discuss the nuances of traditional sour beers and the modern expressions showcased by Dogfish Head and others.
“We’ve always had a deep appreciation for Dogfish Head and the beers they craft, and what they’ve been able to do with SeaQuench Ale is nothing short of spectacular,” said David van Wees, President of Swinkels Family Brewers Imports, the North American importer for RODENBACH. “The conversations continued from there, and as we got to know one another we realized how similar our passions were about sour beer and its potential in the marketplace. We noticed striking similarities between our breweries – family-owned, independent and a deep expertise in brewing which got us talking and thinking that now is the right time for RODENBACH to take this step, and Dogfish Head was the perfect partner for us.”
Before the end of 2018, Rudi Ghequire and Kristof Ampe, Chief Marketing Officer of RODENBACH, visited the Dogfish Head facilities in Milton, DE to explore further and solidify plans. Impressed by Dogfish Head’s expertise, commitment to quality, abundant creativity and an infectious passion for beer that exudes throughout their entire organization, it didn’t take long to finalize a plan for bringing a new beer to market.
“We spoke a lot about how RODENBACH’s traditional methods of brewing and blending, dating back centuries would heavily influence the direction of the beer, and that began the foundation for our collaborative brainstorming,” added Van Wees. “It was amazing to watch these two icons work so closely together and see the magic happen as wheels started spinning about what a final product could look like.”
“We intend to take our time and get it right for a beer of this magnitude, and in order do that we have to go to where it all began — to Roeselare, Belgium,” added Calagione. “The brainstorming will continue overseas, as Rudi and I explore the region together, explore the area’s culinary influence and experience the legendary brewery and cooperage which undoubtedly will serve as a huge inspiration behind the beer we create.”
While still in its early stages, the beer is planned to be brewed and blended in the United States in 2019 and available for an early 2020 launch for American consumers to enjoy. Following this, the duo will explore a release of the beer in Belgium, where RODENBACH is widely sold.
“We see great opportunity for the years ahead,” added both Ghequire and Calagione. “While we’re taking things one step at a time, we have great hope and expectations that this will be the beginning of a long-term relationship between our breweries for several years to come.