André Janssens, owner of Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal, has certainly forged his own way in developing the brewery and farm in Haacht, Belgium. With his children Jef, Dries and Lisa, Janssens is attempting to make the brewery as self-sufficient as possible.
The farm cultivates most of the brewery’s own grains and about eight types of hops. At the end of 2019, the brewery plans to have completed its own malthouse.
Not bad for a former accountant, who 13 years ago had a stroke and lost his “joy of life” and had to quit that profession. Sent by his wife on a trip to the US to recuperate, he had a sudden inspiration to go into the brewing business, even though he was not a beer drinker at the time.
He saw a brewery for sale in Montana, in the mountains. He was convinced the life of a brewer was a stress-less life, “like a monk”, he says.
Farming and brewing
Fast forward to today, where he enthusiastically runs the nearly 400-year-old farm with his family and develops innovative beers.
“Our goal is to brew the best beer in the world,” Janssens says. “We also want to be the most ecological brewer in the world.”
As part of this evolution, Janssens is also known in the Belgian craft brew world for fostering talent and sharing his experience with up-and-coming brewers. Leuven Innovation Festival, founded by Hoff ten Dormaal, is an expression of his drive to boost beer making and beer appreciation.
See the other fantastic Beer Idiots interviews at Leuven Innovation Beer Festival 2019