Brewed with friends … Borinage, a Grisette style Alvinne & Guineu collab
When I met Xavier and Xavi from Cervesa Guineu (Catalonia, Spain) at Villagio della Birra in Italy, I knew we would meet again. I heard Xavier was coming over to the Netherlands to do a collaborationbrew with Brouwerij Kees, wich was a perfect opportunity to invite him over to Alvinne as well. Guineu is the Catalan word for fox, Cervesa Guineu is located about an hour inland from Barcelona.
We decided on brewing a historic style of beer, Grisette. Grisette is a fairly clear pale beer that was refreshing to drink in summertime. The beer was generaly of lower strenght, was not designed to be aged and although most likely of mixed fermentation it wasn’t acidic due to the high hopping rates. Grisettes were brewed in Hainaut province. While Saisons are rooted in the farm, Grisettes are rooted in the industry (mining). This style of beer was brewed in the 18th and 19th century. The origin of the name is not totally clear. Many think it refers to young women who worked in factories and wore a distinctive grey frock as a uniform. These young women, grisettes, would hold trays of ale to refresh the miners. Others will link the name to the stone mined in the Northern Hainaut province.
So what about the recipe? Well, we decided to use the sources Dave Jansen is quoting in his blog “Hors Categorie Brewing”. Grisette was a wheat beer and the wheat was malted, we used up to 25-30% of both wheat and spelt, giving an OG of 10°P. Generally, Belgian hops were used. This is the only modern twist we gave to the recipe, by using Mount Hood hops (quite simular to German Hallertau and Hersbrucker), mainly for aroma. For bittering we used Hallertau Magnum, reaching a bitterness of 25 to 30 EBU. The yeast was easy, as mixed fermentation was generally used, Morpheusyeast was the one and only option.
As we didn’t want any problem with Brasserie St-Feuillin, which has been able to trademark Grisette as a brand instead of a style, we’ve decided to call the beer Borinage. It’s a refreshing tribute to the many Flemish workers that use to mine the Hainaut province.
This beer is available both in kegs as in 33 cl bottles. It will be available in The Alvinne & Friends bar at the Alvinne Craft Beer Festival, where you will be able to meet my crazy brewerfriend Xavier Serra.