Organisation - August 2, 2018

Hoppy 100 Years beer: not as hoppy as one would expect

Luuk Zegers

Hoppy 100 Years: a beer brewed to celebrate the university’s centennial. It is brewed by WUR employee Tom van Balen and available during the grand festival on 15 September. What will it taste like?

Tom van Balen brewing. © Tom van Balen

‘It is a fresh, amber beer’, says Tom van Balen, who works at the IT department of WUR’s Facilities and Services. ‘A true rural beer made with barley malt, but also with other grains such as oat and spelt. I think that goes really well with WUR’s long agricultural history.’ The beer is only brewed once and can only be ordered during the WUR100FEST on 15 September.

Not extremely hoppy
Despite its name, the Hoppy 100 Years beer is not very hoppy. ‘The name originated from a contest’, Van Balen explains. ‘You might taste more hops than in lager, but real hoppy beer is not approachable enough. On a side note: I am using Centennial hop – rather appropriate for the occasion. It gives the beer a somewhat floral character, with some light citrusy tones. There is also a small amount of Styrian Golding hop, which provides it a slightly spicy taste.’ The anniversary beer will contain about 6% alcohol.

Van Balen has been brewing beer for years besides his work at WUR. ‘I started in the mid-80s. I originally trained to be a microbiologist. That is close to the process technology of brewing.’ Van Balen started brewing professionally in a brewing café in Den Bosch. ‘Before that, it was still just a hobby. I am currently working on the development of recipes for my own microbrewery, het Aambeeld (‘the Anvil’). I will simply keep brewing here besides my daily work.’

Brewing the anniversary beer was Van Balen’s own initiative. ‘There was a news post on the intranet some time ago about the anniversary and how special items and gadgets were created for the event. That’s when I approached the 100 years WUR committee with my proposal. There were several brewers with a similar idea, but I eventually had the best story.’