Podcast Episode 232: Raf Souvereyns of Bokke Is Blending Lambic with Fruit and New Perspective

Last year, Raf Souvereyns produced virtually no beer. A debilitating and still-mysterious illness kept him largely out of his Bokke blendery and often in the hospital. Now he must live with the condition, without knowing if or when it will strike again. Yet he is back in his blendery, working, upbeat, with a refreshed outlook and plenty of ideas for what he wants to do with his life and his beer.

In this episode of the podcast, he discusses:

  • The challenge of running a small-scale, palate-dependent blendery when also facing difficult personal health issues
  • Rethinking the blendery’s production processes by investing in equipment to reduce manual labor wherever that labor doesn’t improve the beer
  • Working less, but at higher quality
  • Searching and developing local sources for heirloom fruit varieties that create better flavor in fruit beers
  • Timing fruit picking to maximize ripeness, at the expense of timing and flexibility
  • Utilizing underappreciated elements of fruit, like skin, pits, and leaves, that make valuable flavor contributions
  • Refermentation strategies for limiting oxidation and maximizing flavor in fruit beers
  • Thinking about lambic and gueuze as “low-intervention” more than “natural” beers
  • Aging and blending strategies to improve texture and mouthfeel

And more.

“Making a product that’s different—everyone can do that,” says Souvereyns. “Everyone can piss in a bottle. But making a product that’s different and also very tasty, not just unique but also something new and refreshing—that’s something different. That’s what I’m aiming for, of course.”

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