As I reported in these virtual pages last month, a great disaster hit the Drie Fonteinen lambic brewery, costing owner Armand Debelder, a fine man and an excellent brewer, an estimated one third of his production. Initial reports, since confirmed, were that Debelder hopes to recoup some losses by distilling the salvaged beer. This will, however, only somewhat mitigate the financial impact.
Enter here Sam Calagione of Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewing and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo, an Italian craft brewery located near Rome. By coincidence, news of Drie Fonteinen’s plight arrived while the latter was visiting the former in the States, and so a decision was quickly made to craft a charity beer of sorts, with a part of the proceeds going to Debelder to help him weather the immediate storm.
The beer, called Namaste, is a Belgian-style wheat beer flavoured with dried organic orange slices, lemongrass and coriander, and should appear on tap at Dogfish’s Rehoboth Beach brewpub in Delaware in about three weeks. An identical beer will be crafted solo by Di Vincenzo when he returns to his brewery and sold at Bir & Fud in Rome as early as July.
This is not only a generous gesture on the part of both breweries, but also a fabulous example of the camaraderie that exists between craft brewers the world over. It is, to a great degree, why I’m both happy and proud to be a beer writer rather than, say, a reviewer of plumbing parts.