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Darolus, the taste of a successful collaboration within the VUB community

A tasteful part of the recent academic opening was without a doubt the presentation of Darolus by professor Luc De Vuyst. Darolus is the long-awaited VUB beer and comes in two varieties: a soft triple ale, and a blend of that same triple ale with lambic of one year old. Remarkable is that the beer is, as it were, the result of a blend itself, namely that of the talents, the academic expertise and the passion of three members of the VUB community: Rob Vandereycken, Dario Van de Voorde and Luc De Vuyst. Typically the kind of collaboration that makes the VUB so special. 

Photo © VUB / Thierry Geenen

Credit where credit is due: The whole project begins with Rob Vandereycken, who became a hobby brewer about six years ago. During a tasting session of one of his beers, a colleague of the Marketing and Communication department suggested to make a beer for the VUB community. But how to realise this? The answer: by cooperating with the research group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), one of the research focal points of the VUB. 

From classic triple to speciality beer

Rob initially had an classic triple in mind. Head of IMDO, professor Luc De Vuyst, enthusiastically greeted the idea, but saw more future in a speciality beer. In a later phase, the project also attracted the attention of Dario Van de Voorde. As a doctoral student at IMDO, Dario primarily conducts research on the fermentation process of cocoa, but some of the micro-organisms that play a crucial role in this process do so also in the production of beer. It prompted him to start brewing beer at home, just like Rob. When he heard that a VUB beer was being developed, he spontaneously offered his cooperation.

The presentation of the new VUB beer 

In the meantime, IMDO had already made considerable progress towards a triple ale. It was also established that there should be a sour blend by adding a year-old lambic too. Not surprising, that last idea: the VUB has been working with lambic and Geuze for quite some time. Also, lambic beer is a typical beer of Brussels and the Pajottenland that derives its taste by spontaneous, wild fermentation and maturation in oak barrels.

To cut a long story short: after tasting a few batches brewed by Rob Vandereycken and IMDO adjusting the formula after feedback each time, there is now a first authentic, 'heavily enlightened' VUB beer: Darolus and Darolus Sour. The result of the cooperation, as Luc De Vuyst put it during the academic opening, of VUB-staff members and the academic insights of the research group Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology in beer production. 



Luc De Vuyst, Rob Vandereycken en Dario Van de Voorde: good bartenders as well !

IEveryone present at the academic opening has meanwhile been able to taste the two variants. The writer of this article prefers the triple ale, a high-fermentation beer that, for a change, does not taste as bitter as usual is the case with triple ale. But in conversations during the reception many other VUB members said to be more of a fan of the sour variety. So indeed, as Luc De Vuyst said during the presentation of Darolus: every beer has its own taste and for everyone's taste there is a suitable beer.

Soon to be brewed at VUB itself?

Both variants of Darolus - a contraction of the names Dario, Rob and Luc, with an s as good sounding addition - are for the time being being brewed by brewery 't Kroontje from Denderbelle, which Dario brought in. The year-old lambic is supplied by the Oud-Beersel brewery, with which VUB has teamed up for research purposes. But the intention is to be able to brew Darolus as early as next year at the VUB campus in Etterbeek. A pilot brewery and a pilot bakery are currently being set up there, with the intention to produce beer and bread under the umbrella brand Saint V, of which Darolus is the first sub-brand - but that is for another article. Cheers!