Belgian North Sea Beer PoppoLou officially launched
Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2014-11-24 09:54:10 +0100 / Last Updated: over 1 year ago
OSTEND/OOSTENDE - We witnessed it with our own eyes. There was more than just one solitary message in a bottle washed up on Ostend beach. Far more than that... an entire armada of bottles came ashore, all bearing the mysterious name, ‘PoppoLou’, in elegant handwriting that had been only slightly faded by the sea.
After we had rinsed and uncorked one of these bottles, we could smell the aroma of the North Sea. But then, to our surprise we discovered that this bottle did not in fact contain North Sea water.
Rather, we were delighted to find a deliciously fresh blond beer hidden below its cork.
This is where the legend stops and reality takes over.
So, where does this scrumptious Belgian coast beer really come from? The idea for PoppoLou sprouted from the creative brain of Glenn Rotsaert, the owner Café Manuscript in Ostend.
“I had wanted to create my own beer for quite some time”, he tells us. “To brew it myself didn't seem a viable option, so I got in touch with brewer Bart Durlet. Straight away he was keen on the idea. I explained that ‘my’ beer should be a North Sea beer with a hint of saltiness. Initially we wanted to use dried, pale seaweed from the Irish Sea.
Unfortunately, that quickly proved to be a far too expensive procedure.
After many tastings of this new beer, Bart was finally convinced that he had found the right taste using a combination of brewing salts. I agreed with him on the spot.”
This is an unpasteurised, unfiltered and top-fermented beer with an alcohol volume of 6% (and re-fermentation in the bottle) hit the mark almost straight away. “If you taste a PoppoLou for the first time, first of all you will find it a very refreshing speciality beer. It’s a thirst-quencher with plenty of taste,” Glenn explains.
Ready for Distribution
Glenn initially wanted to limit PoppoLou’s distribution to just his own Café Manuscript in Ostend. However, word about this new, delicious North Sea beer spread like wildfire, even on this permanently damp coast.
“People often asked us where they could buy PoppoLou in bottles”, Glen says. “So, not long afterwards it was launched in large 75cl bottles at a local off-licence and, what’s more, Horeca Totaal now also sells it. And we have a growing demand from restaurants and cafés, not only on the seaside but also further away in the region.”
This beer’s success is due, first of all, to its quality ingredients, including Cascade and Magnum hops.
“They congratulated me on the PoppoLou. They found it hard to slot this beer into an existing beer style but they all agreed that they liked it.”
In the meantime, the customers of Café Manuscript are used to ‘their’ PoppoLou. When one batch is gone, the next delivery is eagerly awaited. “The Manuscript would not be the same without the PoppoLou. It has become part of the furniture,” according to Glenn.
The beer is now available on tap and in large (75cl) and small (33cl) bottles. The market is growing organically: not too fast, to allow the brewer to expand gradually and supply all his customers on time.
In the Kitchen?"
“The PoppoLou now has a life of its own,” smiles Vanessa, Glenn’s business as well as life partner. “I’ll have you know that you can now find a ‘sabayon with PoppoLou’ on the menu in an Ostend restaurant as well as a ‘cod steak with PoppoLou’. Who would have thought?”
Yes, this beer, thanks to its salty touch, makes a great pairing with fish and crustaceans. It’s everything you could hope for from a genuine North Sea beer.
Try mussels with PoppoLou – two local delicacies that are just made for each other.
Regulars at Café Manuscript don’t want to be without their new, established favourite. “What would you like?” Glenn asks. “Well, of course, a PoppoLou, what else?” comes the reply.
And how does the next generation feel about it? Well Glenn’s children, Poppo and Lou, are both happy and proud to see their names so prominently displayed on the label.
“They can’t wait to taste the beer when they are old enough, but that is still some years in the future,” Glenn laughs while pouring me a glass. “The sea air makes you thirsty,” as they say around here.
More Information on PoppoLou
Ostend Blog Posts
OSTEND - For the last weekend of August, Ostend moves its location to the shores of the ‘beer sea’ as Belgian breweries, local restaurants and food trucks pull out all the stops for the annual North S ... [ read more ]
OSTEND - A cosy, relaxed atmosphere and happy expressions on the faces of beer lovers from all around the world greet me. This is, above all else, what strikes me when I visit the first ever North Sea ... [ read more ]
OSTEND – The queen of Belgian seaside resorts does not have an immediate association with beer as far as your average beer lover and tourist are concerned. Nevertheless, it was in this city that ‘De ... [ read more ]
OSTEND - Ostend is one of those places that keeps having to reinvent itself. Blame those tides. Not those plying the beach, though – those of history. © CATS ... [ read more ]
OSTEND - As a washed-up, drug-haunted American soul-legend, where would you go to clean up, get fit and reconnect with your musical soul? Possibly not (for all its charms) Ostend in the grip of winter ... [ read more ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
ANTWERP - Brewers from 59 different countries flocked to attend the Brewers of Europe Forum 2019 in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth Hall, right next to the renowned Antwerp Central Station building. ... [ more ]
ERTVELDE - To track down a brewer within his own domain is a high-ranking form of sports, or that’s the impression I get. After a bit of practice I spot Jef Versele, CEO of the Van Steenberge brewery, well hidden amongst... [ more ]
MECHELEN - The historic city of Mechelen, halfway between Brussels and Antwerp, is truly a hidden gem. The presence of the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled here in the late middle ages, still permeates the ancient city centr... [ more ]
BRUSSELS/ZAVENTEM - This year Brussels Airport is 60 years young! The airport is planning to mark this milestone by showcasing the very best of Belgian produce, which would not be complete without ... [ more ]
At the BeerLovers’ Café just behind Liège’s City Hall we get together to taste the limited edition Chimay Grande Réserve Fermentée en Barriques 2018, a Trappist beer aged in whisky barrels. T... [ more ]
Café Manuscript has been a landmark in Ostend, and far beyond, for over 20 years. This brown café with its fantastic atmosphere – known for its live performances, music and superb... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.