Interview with Marc Lemay of Brasserie Dubuisson, Belgium
Clarke: Does beer in Belgium play a role in meals
similar to wine?
Lemay: Absolutely Yes! The beer brings its own particularities.
With Bush beers, dishes can have a light and subtle taste, despite
the strong personality of the beers. In fact, the bittersweet
character brings out strong savory tones. With natural beers like
ours, the flavor of meats does not change, unlike what happens
with some other beers and red wine. The high alcohol content releases
aromas which add the pleasure of smell to that of taste.
JC: Do you have some food recommendations
to go with your various beers?
Beer is actually used in or with most of typically Belgian dishes
like mussels, game, and rabbit, as well as with soups and desserts.
With the help of a chef, we have even developed a few recipes
using our Bush beers. Our beers aid digestion because of their
long fermentation process, so they can be drank before, during,
or after a meal. With its bittersweet taste, Bush Amber goes very
well with chocolate desserts or sabayon. Bush Blond is wonderful
as an aperitif with cheese.
JC: Does your brewery welcome visitors?
Yes. Last May 1st, we opened our new Visitor Center and
now offer a few different tours. During the tours visitors have
the opportunity to taste a new and very special beer produced
by Dubuisson Brewery: “ Bush Prestige”. This beer
is the result of a traditional, 6 month-long maturing process
in oak barrels after the main fermentation. During that time,
the wood tannins form heady aromas in perfect harmony with the
natural beer aromas. Once the beer is bottled, it referments again
for up 3 weeks. This triple fermentation process (the main fermentation
followed by that in the barrels and then in the bottles) enables
the beer to reach a fairly high 13% alcohol content level. Brewed
in limited quantity, Bush Prestige is truly a unique hearty beer
with its rich aromas and stylish bottle.
JC: In the 90s, after years producing a single
brew, you decided to introduce three new beers; what motivated
you to expand you portfolio?
Bush Amber (Scaldis in the United States) was created in 1933
by Alfred Dubuisson, grandfather of the current brewer and manager,
Hugues Dubuisson. At that time, Brewery Dubuisson brewed different
beers as local production. Due to the success of Bush Amber the
managers decided to stop producing other beers and to dedicate
all their time to Bush Amber.
1990, a new generation, Hugues and Vincent Dubuisson, became the
new managers and thought that counting on a single product was
risky for future. They first launched the Bush de Noël (Scaldis
de Noël in US) in 1991 in response to those looking for a
hearty beer for the year-end festivities. In 1994, the Bush 7
(Clovis) was created in order to offer a less strong beer (7%
alc.vol), but it is no longer produced. Then in 1998, Bush Blond
(10.5%) was created to satisfy the golden ale lovers. In 2000
the Brewery Dubuisson opened its first brewpub in a student town
called Louvain-la-Neuve and for that occasion created the “Cuvée
des Trolls,” a blond beer with 7% alc.vol brewed exclusively
with malt, hop, natural sugar and water. The use of dried orange
rinds during the boiling process gives it a most pleasant fruity
aroma that blends nicely with a full, round yet delicate taste.
Finally, in 2003, we created the Bush Prestige for the opening
of our new Visitor centre named “Trolls & Bush.”
JC: As I saw in one of your ads, “What
is there after the blond?” -what are your future plans for
Our future is to maintain Bush Amber and Bush de Noël at
its level and export it more, to develop sales of Bush Blond and
Cuvée des Trolls, and to develop our brewpub concept named
Brasse-Temps (literally “Brew-Time”). After the first
Brasse-Temps opened in Louvain-la-Neuve in September 2000, Brewery
Dubuisson opened a second one in Mons in April 2003. These brewpubs
naturally offer our Bush beers range and Cuvée des Trolls,
and also sell some beers produced in situ, such as an amber ale
of 5.5% alc.vol, a white beer for summer, and, at end of March,
a new beer which includes a natural cherry extract. These beers
produced in situ are only available in our Brasse-Temps and are
not sold commercially in bottles. The Brasse-Temps also offer
typical Belgian dishes, most of them being prepared with –
of course - beers.
you see, Hugues and Vincent Dubuisson represent the 8th generation
as true beer lovers and makers and they continue to share their
old age family passion - brewing natural beers of character!