Vat No. 13 – Yet another Brewer from Amersfoort

Amersfoort, a town to the east of Amsterdam and to the Northeast of Utrecht and an important transportation hub because of its location in the middle of the Netherlands. It’s an old town where in the Middle Ages hundreds of breweries were based. Today it can boast four, which is a lot more than larger cities can say. Next to De Eem, Het Klaverblad and De Drie Ringen we can now find bottles from Vat No. 13 on the shelves. We thought it would be a good idea to feature this new brewer on the Dutch Beer Pages so we asked Carl Stapelbroek of Vat No. 13 some questions and he gave us interesting answers.

First as asked him about the somewhat unusual name of the brewery.

Carl: Number 13 in a way has always been my lucky number, and one evening when I was drinking some of my first brew with some friends (about 15 years ago) that name came up and has stuck ever since. 13 is slightly more than a dozen so you will be just outside the norm. That is something I like to do too, be slightly different from the rest.

As of now Vat No. 13 brews two beers: a blonde called Dolle Tinus and a remarkable Schwarzbier called Moriaentje. These beers are brewed at De Praght in Dronten. When we asked brewer Carl Stapelbroek why he chose De Praght he told us that:

“The brewing-installation de Praght has was used before at De Prael. It has a capacity of 5 hectoliter and has it’s very own, though sometimes whimsical, character. If you know how to use it however you can get some very nice beers out of it. I’m of the opinion that brewing is done with knowledge, but also with some emotion, and that is why I chose this installation”.

It was the Schwarzbier Moriaentje that caught our attention. For a new brewery this is not a style you would think it would start with, even though it’s a very elegant and good tasting style. Carl has always wondered from the moment he started brewing it why it is not made so much, because it is a style that is more accesible than you would think. Usually a dark beer conjures up images of a somewhat sweeter beer with a higher alcohol percentage. With Moriaentje he hopes to surprise people and show that this stereotype isn’t true for all beers. The recipe of the Moriantje got to him by way of his Austrian uncle and Carl has slightly changed it to what it is now: a more full-bodied beer and a slight hint of laurel from the hops.

The Dolle Tinus (Dolle is Dutch for Mad) started as a birthdaygift for a friend of specialty beer café.

Carl: We had drank a couple of beers like Duvel, La Trappe tripel, Judas and a few others and at least two of those were Strong Belgian Blondes so we took that as a starting point for our beer:

A 8,5% firm bitter beer of ca. 32 EBU’s, well carbonated but I wanted it to be maltier and not too dry to counter the high alcohol percentage. The Dolle Tinus as it is now, is the result of 3 years of tweaking. The latest significant change was the addition of Centennial hops.

Vat No. 13 hopes to brew around 40 hectoliters in 2010.

Carl is commited to becoming a brewer. Having worked before as a Claims expert at a big transportation company he is now looking for work that has to do with beer. In the future he hopes to start his own brewery and tasting room. He is also working on 3 more recipes to add to the selection. Let’s hope Carl’s passion and excellent beers will lead him to bigger things and make Amersfoort a new center of beer in the Netherlands.

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