the Voyage of Flavor
Yarrrrrr! Shivver me Timber!
Sit down lassis & lads, welcome on board
the Cap has a story to tell.
‘Twas a long time ago, way back in history, I believe it was early 2020.
The door of the shop blew open. Lightning across the sky, thunder rolling by, rain poured from heavens and in that door, stood a man. A man I have never seen before, and still couldn’t see… for he was rather small… and my counter blocked the view. All I could see was that he was a grey haired man. *FLASH* *RUMBLE*
“Hello.” Said the man. “Hello, me and my friends have a brewery and we would like to know if you want to sell our beer.” He sounded a bit shy, but we are always open for new beer and happy to taste to see if we can work with it, so I asked him for a taster.
“I didnt bring you any…” the man responded. I laughed a little and asked him to bring me a taster later.
And so he did. Being of excellent quality, I happily agreed and soon we sold the bottles in our little shop and on Cask, traditional style, in our bar.
Weeks later, the man came back with a new taster. “Hafgufa” it was called. This triggered me since that is a reference to a Icelandic Saga. In the Saga of Örvar-oddr, first mentioned in the 13th century, Hafgufa is mistaken for 2 rocks rising from the sea. Apparently, Hafgufa is the MVP of all seamonsters, feeding on whales, ships and their crews and his nose looks like… 2 rocks…
Well, carrying such a name, that must be something! “It’s a Russian Imperial Stout, containing 11% of alcohol” he said so my eyes started to twinkle a little. My favorite brewing style! (I really enjoy the intensity of those big, booming flavors and the silky smooth structure of the liquid.) We quickly filled a couple of tasters and I was happily surprised, which doesnt happen often with Dutch breweries making their first stout. THIS one however, did exactly what it should do: moccha in the nose and when the first drips touch your lips, they spread over your tongue like a silk blanket, covering all of your tongue you’ll start noticing chocolate and coffee are very much present as well. WOW! Ofcourse I want to sell this! Might be the biggest surprise I had in 2021!
Later that week he delivered my order and after my shift I found him at the bar, waiting for the moment that his beer appears on the Uiltje Bar menu. A little restless, filled with joy, happy. So I told him I organized a beer-tasting for that evening, serving some extra specials from the personal stock of the founder of Uiltje Brewing Co. Officially the tasting was fully booked but of because his passion sparkled mine and I loved his enthusiasm so much, I decided to invite him anyway. Big eyes appeared and he looked at his lady that started laughing and told him to go.
He showed up way early, sat down quietly throughout the event and just smiled all the way, big grin from ear to ear. Mid tasting (after a Jopen – Koyt 1999 and a Uiltje – Commissaris Rex first batch) I pulled out a beer to introduce to the people attending, a new brewery from the Netherlands and this is their very first take on a Russian Imperial Stout: Gulden Triomfator – Hafgufa. He went silent. But only him, the other people bursted out in enthousiasm. “I just had that in the bar and its amazing, bought a bottle for home straight away” and “It’s gorgeous, bring it!”. Remember those big eyes I told you about? Those eyes filled up with tears of joy, yes Frank, we saw them!
Bringing so much joy to a man simply sharing his passion is one of my personal favorite moments of the Journey of Flavor that started in late 2019 and only found a name in early 2022.