Rather than wait for the possible arrival of the stragglers, Kevin gives us a quick rundown of the brewing kit. It's nice and shiny. And quite a decent size, with a 35 hl brew house and fermenters between 50 and 160 hl. But that's just the start. De Molen has recently taken up the other half of the building and plans a big expansion.
Tom Kehoe, owner of Yards brewery in Philadelphia and his wife Linda turns up after not too long.
"We've met before, haven't we?" I say to Tom.
"You're the guy with the book, aren't you?"
"Yep, that's me."
I had a book event at Yards in 2014. The thing I most remember about it is one of the audience trying to take over my talk. Very odd. Only time I've had that happen. Usually I talk so much no-one has chance to jump in. He had to be discretely led away and strangled in a back room.
Kevin is keen to give Tom a hands-on experience of brewing De Molen Style. Or just wants to dodge some work. It's fun to watch Tom play with the hoses. Mostly because it isn't me doing it. It looks like quite heavy work. Past experience (stirring the mash with a paddle) has taught me to be wary of volunteering in a brewery. Unless it's pouring the hops into the kettle. I'm cool with that. Quick, not too strenuous, lovely smell.
"Would you like a coffee or a beer?" Menno asks the new arrivals.
"I'll have a beer, please, Menno." I reply, without really having been asked. He doesn't look surprised. We've known each other for a while. He brings me a bottle of Licht & Lustig.
"Mmmm . . nice hop aroma."
"You've changed your tune. You didn't use to like American hops."
"I've been spending too much time on the other side of the Atlantic."
A little texting reveals that the remainder of the party is still in Amsterdam. So those of us that could be arsed to turn up set off on a tour with Menno.
It's amazing how much the brewery has grown since my first visit. Back when Menno only had the windmill and it was home to brewery, restaurant and shop. The current premises have more than ten times the floor area of the original brewery. Though much hasn't been filled yet. Sure, there is an impressive rack of wooden barrels along one wall. But there remains a lot of empty space. Not for too long. Twelve 150 hl conicals are due to be installed. Along with new bottling equipment and a bar. I'm sure it will be dead impressive, when finished.
Will the remainder of the party make lunch?
No laughing matter - This bottle of Naparbier's *Mad Clown* pale ale followed me home from the Alltech festival last month where it won Best Pale Ale in the competition there....
1 hour ago