From Vat. 13 to De Prael

Vat 13’s ends but De Prael gains.

It has been more than three years since I first started posting articles here on the Dutch Beer Pages. The reactions so far have been great, both from the makers of the beer and those who then drink it. Looking at the stats I see that the readers are from all over the world. I have learned a lot about the Dutch brewing world and in the short three years that I have been working on this blog have seen Dutch beer grow in popularity.

This is helped significantly by the enthusiasm of the brewers (and awesome beer of course). Almost every time when I send them my questions I get answers back that show the passion for their craft. I revisited some of the earliest articles to see what has changed in the lives of two of the breweries since the first posts on this blog. Next week you can read how Wispe is doing. But now we turn our attention to one of those people whose passion for brewing made me believe I was on the right track in writing about Dutch beer (In English). Carl Stapelbroek started his own brewery called Vat 13. Spoiler Alert! Vat 13 itself is no longer in existence, but he has found himself a new position at de Prael so he is not lost to the wonderful world of barley and hops.

A Collecter's Item

A Collecter’s Item

The end of Vat 13

The first article came about after I had tasted his wonderful Schwarz called Moriaentje. Th release of this beer and the Dolle Tinus led to some attention. Carl could be spotted on festivals around the country and his face even ended up on the cover of Pint’s magazine. But in March of 2012 Carl ended Vat 13. His normal job working at De Leckere and a difficult year privately were too much of a strain and he felt he could not give it the attention that it needed.

Looking back

Looking back at the Vat 13 period Carl notices that there never were big financial difficulties. As so often said good beer sells itself and with clear goals it is your own hands how it will go. When I asked him if there was one thing he might have done differently it was letting the selling and distribution to someone else. What Carl misses the most is the actual design of new beers itself, and that includes everything: the recipe, the name, the label. What he misses least is all the red tape; all the paperwork that also goes into having your own beers for sale.

A new start at De Prael

Once in a while I see a picture on Facebook that Carl made standing on the front steps of his new surroundings. He now works at De Prael, right on an Amsterdam canal in the middle of the city. Certainly one of the better places to work if you are a brewer.

Carl about his new job:

“So far working here is going very well. It is a great installation and there is room for experiments. Apart from that De Prael is a very warm and friendly place to work that has no equal I think in the Netherlands. And it also never boring since there is always something happening here.”

Brewing at De Prael also means being closer to the actual work, closer at least then being a contract brewer when there is less time to brew.

A restart of Vat 13.

The Moriaentje has made a comeback of sorts in the form of the ‘Afschot’ from the Epe Bier Collectief. Henk Wesselink of EBC asked Carl if he could develop and brew a beer for them and he did, using as his basis the Moriaentje. I haven’t tried it so far but will be on the  lookout for one.

In the current Dutch craft beer boom that we are in it is inevitable that breweries will come and go. Let us first of all be happy that there are still a lot more starting that folding! Vat 13 may be no more but we still have De Prael.

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One response to this post.

  1. Nice article! Like it says our “Afschot” is based on Moriaentje, but it is not a copy of course, in all respect to Carl and his Vatno13 time. We thank Carl for cooperating with us and we are looking forward to brew the next batch with him! Henk Wesselink, Epe Bier Collectief

    Reply

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